To put it simply, the responses we received after our last ‘visit to France’ with the Armorik Classic demanded we explore further this wonderful producer. So after some wrangling, we’ve finally been able to secure some more of this wonderful brand (and this time we bought extra, so feel free to order more than one bottle) – the Armorik Double Maturation.
Armorik Double Maturation – from the Warenghem distillery in Brittany, North Western France, is distilled in the Scottish single malt style, in Scottish single malt shaped stills, using locally grown barley. This expression, the double maturation, uses local oak (Breton) and is finished in Olorosso Sherry Casks.
The Warenghem Distillery has been making spirits and liqueurs since 1900, winning their first award for their ‘Elixir d’Armorique’ only a year later. The ‘Elixir’ is still produced today, 117 years later. In 1983, the Warenghem distillery team turned their hand to making whiskies. The brand they release their whiskies under is Breton Whisky. It is a boutique distillery with only 14 employees, which gives them the freedom to make whisky with passion, not because of a corporate directive.
One way this dedication to the whisky is demonstrated is by the lack of chill filtering in the Armorik. Chill filtering (filtering the whisky at extreme low temperatures prior to bottling) removes many of the fatty acids, proteins and esters responsible for the tastes and aromas in the whisky. These compounds may precipitate out of whiskies – called flocculation – when cold giving it a ‘cloudy’ appearance with visible ‘specks’ (or ‘flocculants’) in the whisky. Thus, many distilleries chill filter to prevent this phenomenon – but the down side is removing these compounds also removes some of the taste and smell of the whisky. Full credit to the Warenghem boys for choosing to forego this process thus ensuring we get to taste their whisky exactly as it comes out of the oak.
The name of this expression refers to it being aged in two differing types of cask. Initially it is aged in custom built Breton oak casks, then transferred to Olorroso Sherry casks for it’s ‘second maturation’
Oak from Breton (Britannia, or Brittany), is tight grained French oak. It is seasoned, then roasted in an oven to release complex flavours. This is in contrast to American oak, which is charred with fire. French roasted oak imparts far more flavour, broader flavours and more complex and intense flavours.
Appearance: The whisky has an unusual light bronze colour. It is an unusual hue for a single malt whisky, reflecting its unusual aging.
Nose: Rich stone fruit. Tamarind, spice. A crisp minerality also.
Palate: BOOM. Immediate, intense ripe stone fruits. Peach, Apricot, Nectarine. Barly sugar richness. Mouthfulling creaminess.
Finish: Dry and brooding, with lovely reminders of the intensity of the fore pallet.