Bellevoye Trio – Red “Grand Cru” 43%

Last from the French National Flag trio from Bellevoye was “Red” with a Grand Cru finish… We had a promising start with “Blue” and “White” so were curious to see what this would bring.

Bellevoye Red 40% (Grand Cru)

  • Nose – Quite different at first – fresh seaweed and saline – then pears, fresh grass and herbal, very “green” and vegetal…aromatic…  then shifted again into honey, fresh almonds soaked in water, fresh almond oil, a hint of cloves, churan and dry wood, mango leather, bit floral – jasmine, vanilla
  • Palate – More spice than expected, strong mouthfeel, pear, bitter almond, sweet spices like cinnamon and dates, candied ginger
  • Finish – Initially a quick prick of spice then a nice lingering echo – long and lingering with a sweet aftertaste

We found this one quite interesting on the nose – the shifting character making it intriguing… but a bit disappointing on the palate with the first sip. However the more we settled into this one, the more we enjoyed.

I’m not sure what exactly we expected from a “Grand Cru” finish, but this had deeper tones than had anticipated.

This triple malt apparently five to ten years aging in French oak casks then post blend, spent six months in Grand Cru casks.

What all have I tried from Bellevoye?

I bought the tasting set of 200 ml bottles – Red, White & Blue – for EUR 55.

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Bellevoye Trio – White “Sauternes” 40%

We continued our exploration of French Whiskies with another from Bellevoye. So where does the name Bellevoye come from? In an interview with Spirits Hunters, founder Jean Moueix shares:

The name Bellevoye is a creation that makes a lot of sense to us. With my partner Alexandre Sirech, we both changed our lives radically to take directions, paths that were not planned. Bellevoye, in Old French, means the Belle Voie, the beautiful path. Bellevoye’s philosophy is to try to make people happy by encouraging them to take beautiful new paths in life.

After a promising start with the Bellevoye Blue, we turned to White.,, what did we think?

Bellevoye White 40% (Sauternes)

  • Nose – Started out almost with a sherry like element with dried fruits like figs and dates, then shifted into cereals, honey sweet, pears and pineapple, apple sauce with cinnamon and dash of vanilla bean, buttery brioche 
  • Palate – Super smooth and silky, juicy fruits, salty toffee, buttery, fresh brioche, nice and round, apples and cinnamon
  • Finish – Hint of tobacco leaf, more toffee with a chilli chaser

This was a delight – easy sipper. One thing we found is a contrast between the aromas and the palate. In this case the silky buttery quality was endearing. 

What more do we know?

First the different single malts were aged three to eight years in French oak casks and then post blending spent an additional six months aging in Sauternes barrels from a famous Cru Classé.

What about other Bellevoye triple malts?

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Bellevoye Trio – Blue “French Oak” 40%

Living in Europe means I’ve sought out new and different European whiskies to try. However I don’t always want to commit to a full bottle! Enter this pretty trio of 200ml whiskies from Bellevoye.

What are they? Single malts? Nope! They are instead a “triple malt” – meaning a blend of single malt whiskies from three different whisky distilleries – possibly from Brittany (Distillery Clauessens de Wambrechies?), Alsace (Maison Ledai – Distillery Hepp) and Cognac (Maison Brunet – better known for Brenne).

I earlier tried their peated “Black” as part of a Whisky Advent calendar so it was a perfect chance with the Blue, White and Red trio to try the balance.

We kicked off our tour of France’s Bellevoye “Flag” trio with the Blue – “fine grain” finish in a French Oak cask.

Bellevoye Blue 40% (French Oak Grain Finish)

  • Nose – Started with a hint of prune from the fresh cork after it popped open! Then in the glass – sweet hay, faintly floral, a dash of black peppercorn, some cherry chocolate with red chilli, followed by pear and charan
  • Palate – Warming on the surface, terribly easy to drink, imagine have this to spike your pani puri!
  • Finish – Certainly lasts in the mouth

Not such a bad start…whilst it isn’t complex, it makes for a nice pre-dinner malt. Simple and pleasant.

On the revisit, the aromas added a lovely vanilla flowers and spice… really quite nice!

What more do we know? The different single malts started their life in French oak casks, maturing for three to eight years followed by nine to twelve months post-blend in French new oak fine grain casks. No peat is used.

Here is a rough translation of their tasting notes:

  • The nose reveals notes of cereals, sweet spices, honey and white flowers.
  • The mouth is round and balanced with aromas of yellow fruit, cooked apple and gingerbread.
  • The finish is long on fresh notes

So what’ll is in the Bellevoye range?

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Bellevoye Trio – Blue, White, Red

In our quest to delve deeper into European whiskies, I stumbled across this trio online in Germany. Having tasted the Bellevoye Peat (Black) in December, I was curious to explore further. This trio reflects the national flag with Blue, White, and Red.

Founded in 2013 by Alexandre Sirech (Bordeaux wine group) and Jean Moueix (spirits brands, production of Saint-Estèphe and Pomerol vintages), Les Bienheureux (“the blessed”) is a company formed for playing around with French whiskey, releasing malted blends under their brand “Bellevoye.”

Aleandra shared in an interview with “Toast” his view of French whiskies regional ‘styles’:

In Alsace, producers use Holstein stills, which produce very fruity and refined spirits. In the Nord region, the column still used there produces light, easy-drinking spirits. And in Charente, the onion-shaped pot still produces powerful, full-bodied spirits. Having three different cultures of distillation in regions so geographically close to each other is unique in the world. It’s also an excellent illustration of the cultural nuances of France.

So they set-up out craft a “triple malt”, bringing together single malts from different French distilleries already aged between 5 – 8 years, before blending together in their facilities, then finished in their casks for approximately another nine to 12 months.

Providing further insights in the same Toast interview, Alexandre explains:

We make a triple malt because we’ve noticed that, in the same way as Bordeaux wines blend different grape varieties, when the best spirits from the Nord, Alsace and Charente regions come together, the end result is significantly superior to the sum of its parts. It’s every blender’s dream! All the more so, since we always wanted to create a ‘patriotic’ whisky, like a synthesis of the three styles of French whisky I referred to earlier.

So we selected three from the thirty-five French whiskies we tasted in a blind tasting – one from each of the major whisky-producing regions – so that we could draw on the special features of each. Then, we got down to the heart of what it is we do: the blending. Then we allowed the whisky to mature.

So what did I pick up in the Bellevoye Trio?

We have three contrasting yet complementary expressions:

I bought this tasting set of 200 ml bottles online in Germany for EUR 55 with plans to share samples with tasting companions in Paris. Yes… you read that correctly… my thought was to send a French blend bought in Germany back to France.

Thankfully greater sense prevailed! As this trio happens to be readily available in Paris, my tasting companion did the logical thing and bought another set in France!

So I decided instead to loop in our London whisky afficiando handing over samples when we met up in Berlin. And with that – this trio was tasted by folks in three countries – UK, France and Germany!

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Vita Dulcis 8 – France’s Bellevoye Peat 43%

This is my first introduction to Bellevoye from France, thanks to my purchase of the Vita Dulcis 2020 International Advent Calendar.

As the label only identified this as “tourbée” (peaty), I reached out to find out more. Steven Baily Gibson from Les Bienheureux kindly helped confirm that the “tourbee” edition is “Noir”. More on that after my tasting…

France – Bellevoye Tourbee 43%

  • Colour – Golden hay
  • Nose – Sour cherries, almost liquor like, sweet spices of cloves, all spice and most of all cinnamon
  • Palate – Surprisingly smooth, a delightful and pronounced cinnamon, spiced apple crumble, fruity
  • Finish – More cinnamon spice, quite fruity

Overall this was a cinnamon candy – with peat! A promising start and after looking at their other profiles, would be interested in exploring further.

So what more do we know about Black? It is a blend of three ‘peaty’ Single Malt whiskies from Lorraine, Alsace, Nord, aged for 5-10 years in French Oak casks and then a secondary maturation – nine to 12 months post-blend – in French new oak casks particularly prepared and selected for this whisky.

The peat levels are not intense – around 45 p.p.m – and the distilleries are also not disclosed. My guess would be for Lorraine – Rozelieures – which is certainly putting out directly and indirectly some whiskies well worth exploring further.

As for Alsace? I couldn’t say for sure – so far we’ve only sampled one AWA Pinot Noir which wouldn’t be a good indicator for the profile in this Bellevoye expression. There is also Lehman’s, Meyer’s, plus an assortment of others.

And North? It all depends on whether “North” in this context also includes Bretagne with Werenghem and Glann ar Mor

Which ever the distillery, the plan seems to be to continue to work with three, crafting two batches per year, blending together with an aim to achieve a profile of:

“Complexity, fullness, balance and length.”

And what do the folks at Bellevoye share in their official tasting notes?

  • The intense nose reveals empyreumatic notes that evoke both ashes, toast and moka. Subtle touches of spices (cinnamon, nail clove) and liquorice reinforce its complexity.​
  • The mouth is thick, mellow and oily. Its salinity gives it a fresh and harmonious balance. Its structure is coated thanks to its elegant tannins.
  • The finish is long and persistent on aromas peat characteristics.​

It is available in Germany for EUR 48 – 59, depending on distributor. For my part, I was happy to have a chance to have this included in my miniatures explorations.

Curious about other encounters with French whisky?

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