French Whisky? Michel Couvreur Special Vatting Malt Whisky 45%

Is this whisky Scottish? French? Belgian? Spanish???

Michel Couvreur is Belgium. He and his team do not make whisky. Instead they buy “clearach” (a high proof distillate) from Scottish distilleries, import it to Bouze-les-Beaune, Burgandy, France where they are matured in small sherry casks (Pedro Ximenez and Palomino) from the Andalusia region of Spain, that have been “impregnated” with 25 years aging via traditional soleras.

The result? A most peculiar dram indeed…

First off, before we get to the tasting notes, you see that red wax cover? It took us considerable effort to chip away to remove… to discover a cork that required a corkscrew to pop out… like a bottle of wine.

Michel Couvreur Special Vatting Malt Whisky 45% (Bottle No 0941)

  • Nose – It was like peat and red wine collided, the tight red berries, spicy, then the aromas practically vanished to return quite sweet almost sugary
  • Palate – Plum, very sweet, a spice hit then mellows, black cherries, luscious taking on a very sweet quality
  • Finish – Dry, bitter, spice

We gave it some time to see if the character shifted… to find it settled into a super sweet yet light on the nose and a slightly odd quality on the palate. It was frankly a confusing whisky, one to have a conversation and pause with… shifting from being like red wine to white wine. Many couldn’t make up their mind whether they actually liked it… however the general consensus was we didn’t dislike it.

Described as being made by blending 3 peaty single malts from Scotland, “raised up” with sherry oak cask and then bottled in French Burgandian caves. For us, the peat was only there at the very start and then practically disappeared.

This whisky was picked up by one of our Whisky Ladies during her many globe trotting jaunts and opened in December 2017.

What all did we sample in our Après-ski:

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Whisky Ladies Après-ski

With December, one often thinks of winter, skiing, coming in stomping off the snow, peeling off toque, scarf, mittens and many layers, settling down in front of a roaring fire to enjoy a drink, food, great company… all the while making merry.

Our Whisky Ladies decided to embrace a decidedly northern theme of “Aprèsski” with European whiskies where one can also enjoy winter sports, even though it remains a balmy 27’c in Mumbai.

We began our evening with mulled wine made by our Swedish host and lebkuchen smuggled in from a recent trip to Germany… then quickly shifted gears to a rather remarkable line-up with a few whiskies anchoring the session with full pours and a couple of small shared samples picked up by a Whisky Lady while backpacking around Austria!

Here is what we tried:

*While matured in France using European barrels, strictly speaking the new make spirit is from Scotland… with the  most annoyingly difficult wax on the cork which required a ‘proper’ corkscrew to pop open. How peculiar! As is the whisky too…

As for the others, just click on the links and read what we thought!

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