If you had told me in 2015 when I first discovered a dram from this Bretagne distillery at Singapore’s Auld Alliance during a special blind world whisky flight, that a few years later I would be living in Europe and tasting an unpeated Glenn Ar Mor expression virtually with friends in Paris, I would have thought your completely crazy!
I was firmly based in Asia, more likely to move from Mumbai to Singapore than Nurnberg! However that evening was clearly responsible for a growing curiosity and appetite for European whiskies – and more specifically those from France.
Were we successful in finding a Kornog bottle? Yes! An intrepid lady managed to wrangle via the UK a different expression – the Kornog Taourac’h Trived 10 BC 46% – which certainly captured our attention!
On a roll, we plotted to acquire another. Full of high expectations, we eagerly cracked open the Kornog Taouarc’h Pempved 14 BC (2014) 46% – and were desperately disappointed.
So we were a wee bit wary about this Glann Ar Mor unpeated expression…with expectations tempered by a less than stellar last brush however remaining curious and overall optimistic. What did we think?
- Nose – To be honest, it started off a bit peculiar – greeting us with white asparagus, slightly musty with a curious elusive spice, quite vegetal we also found mushrooms and saline, some apple cider or overripe mangos. It started to shift, more caramel, some rhubarb, perhaps even some herbal hints.
- Palate – Young, wine-like, effervescent… the mushrooms we caught in the aromas were also there in the taste. There was even a kind of stone or granite flavour. Yet just like the nose, as our palates adjusted, we began to enjoy it more, discovering a tasty toffee
- Finish – More of the same qualities from the palate, slipping into pine
It started off… well… a bit strangely… However as it opened up in the glass, we warmed up to it more and more.
In short – it was distinctly different. There was no doubt this was far from Scotland, with a unique personality. And yet, if we had to make a comparison it would be to Talisker – something about the seaside quality was at least “kissing cousins” in character.
We nearly set it aside to move on to the next French whisky, but stopped for a moment to read the bottle notes. It recommended adding water… really? So we did…
The transformation started slowly… morphing more and more as the minutes ticked by:
- Nose – Sweeter, friendlier, fruitier… with the aromas becoming increasingly fragrant with a light perfume, vanilla
- Palate – Much smoother, infinitely more accessible, the fruitiness on the nose follows through on the palate, accompanied by a slightly salty element
- Finish – A nice bitter sweet almond joined the flavours with a light spice
Our conclusion? Definitely different however absolutely worth adding water! It made a huge impact… even more pronounced when we returned to compare the glass without water and the glass with water. We couldn’t help but wonder… is this really the same whisky…?
New bottling of the unpeatted single malt from GLANN AR MOR DISTILLERY matured in Bourbon cask. Nose floral and malted. Mouth : fresh, fruity with vanilla, and maritime. Finish : greedy and sophisticated.
This bottle was purchased in Paris with a sample generously sent to me in Germany by my tasting companions.
What else did we try in our French focused evening?
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