Tag Archives: Guillon Distillery

F for French Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is F for French Whisky.

I first got a taste for French whisky back in 2015.

Who could have resisted a champagne finished single malt from the wonderful Guillon Distillery which has been actively making whisky using locally grown barley cut with locally sourced water since 1997?

DSCF3198 Lr
Champagne finished French single malt c/othewhiskeynut

A gloriously sweet floral hit of champagne mixed with more earthy malt greeted you on first nosing.

Sadly the floral notes seemed to evaporate on tasting. Whilst you were left with a perfectly agreeable soft single malt – you were still expecting more from that initial delightful nose.

Their Cuvée 46 offering was a more traditional expression and also enjoyable.

DSCF3196 LR
Guillon Cuvée 46 c/othewhiskeynut

Aged in French wine casks – the nose didn’t dominate the tasting experience and an overall more balanced & fruity single malt got the thumbs up.

I’d be very happily ‘Lost In France’ checking out their whiskies!

Now the French enjoy a whisky or two.

It’s a big market.

Quite how Brexit is going to change this situation is unclear.

But when I pop over for a holiday later in the year I’ll certainly be looking forward to exploring the output from some of the reported 40 French whisky distilleries operating or opening in the country.

Tres bon, n’ect-ce pas?

Sláinte.

Good Logo

Merci to Distillerie Guillon for the header image.

World Whisky Day 2015

Welcome to World Whisky Day 2015!

And what are you having yourself to mark this occasion? Please comment me!

I originally thought I’d have a glass of a whisky truly of the world – a glass of Old Nobility – a blended whisky made with malts from – wait now – USA, Canada, Germany, India and of course Scotland – to lend it some credibility! It was available in France on my last visit – but as I already had 2 lovely French single malts from Guillon, the Spanish blend DYC, as well as my friends whisky cabinet to sample – Old Nobility will have to wait!

Old Nobility Blended Whisky c/o shop.packdelot.fr
Old Nobility Blended Whisky c/o shop.packdelot.fr

And wait is exactly what the whisky I’m having today did – for over 100 years!

Back in 1907 an order was placed with the Glen Mhor distillery in Inverness for 46 cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt. The cases were duly delivered – loaded onto a ship – travelled from the UK to Antarctica – and left under a hut.

In 2007 the surviving cases were discovered. A bottle made it’s way back to Scotland for analysis. A recreation of the whisky came into being and it is this whisky I’m choosing to drink today – and a damn fine dram it is too!  A big A+

Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt c/o Whiskey Nut
Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt c/o Whiskey Nut

The story around this whisky was astounding – and thankfully the tasting experience is as well. I’m glad I took a punt when buying it unseen. I’d be happy to share this with any other whisky fans – as long as they bring along a bottle of their finest for me to try!

However – there is an Irish connection. Ernest Shackleton was born in County Kldare – Ireland. His parents were Irish. Like many others of their generation -and generations past and present – emigration was an economic reality so Ernest ended up in London where he joined the merchant navy – eventually joining the rush for Polar Expedition in the early 1900’s.

He led the 1907 expedition on which the whisky went – we can only hope it warmed him and his men as much as it warms me.

On another later trip to Antarctica –  Ernest was joined by a fellow Irish man – Tom Crean from County Kerry. Together they overcame great difficulties after their ship was crushed in the ice and sank. A heroic 800 mile sea voyage and march across South Georgia eventually led to the rescue of all the men after two years down under!

Tom Crean's Lager c/o Dingle Brewing Co
Tom Crean’s Lager c/o Dingle Brewing Co

Tom Crean also has a drink named in his honour – sadly only a lager – but as lagers go – not a bad one – and you can always enjoy a pint of his best in the pub he ran after his polar exploits – The South Pole Inn – well – what else would you call it? .

Now I’m not saying that drinking either of these beverages will make you as strong or heroic as the people they are associated with – but they are imbued with their spirit – and what better day to drink them than on World Whisky Day 2015!

Slainte

Whiskey Nut

Was St Patrick Welsh? This Whisky Is!

Coming on the back of St Patrick’s Day it’s often amusing to point out that the man himself wasn’t actually Irish!

St Patrick c/o irishhistorypodcast.ie
St Patrick c/o irishhistorypodcast.ie

Controversy still reigns as to his actual birthplace. Some say Scotland, some say France and some say Wales. What is clear is that he certainly visited these countries during his lifetime. What is also interesting for the sake of this blog is that all these countries are whisky producers!

Scotch Whisky is firmly Numero Uno in the whisky world. French Whisky is a relative newcomer but has many exciting brands and expressions. This humble blogger has tried a few which were grand. The Champagne finished single malt from Guillon Distillery being one of them. Welsh Whisky is also a relative newcomer to the scene – despite a rich distilling history in Wales, there is only one distillery in operation today. A fine distillery it is too!

champagne-hd

My first entry into the Welsh Whisky world came via it’s wonderfully named Red Flag expression. Now, many Irish whiskeys are named after places as in; Kilbeggan, Greenore, Slane Castle, Glendalough and Nephin for starters. In Scotland, many whiskies take the names of royalty, or at least the well heeled, to bask in the exclusivity or prestige associated as in; Imperial, Royal Lochnagar, Chivas Regal, Chequers and King Of Scots. Penderyn Distillery has bucked all that to name it’s first Icon Of Wales bottling after a workers uprising in 1831 where the red flag was raised as a symbol of protest. Very refreshing indeed!

Penderyn-Icons-of-Wales-Red-Flag-Madeira-Finish-Welsh-Single-Malt-Whisky

The whisky itself lives up to the heroic struggles of it’s namesake. A single malt finished in madeira casks bottled non chill-filtered at 41%, it gives a very rich aroma backed up by a satisfying taste a with long finish. Definitely an A class whiskey, if not A+ in my book! As this whisky is a limited expression, it may sell out, but Penderyn release a single malt madeira finish in their standard range bottled at 46% which may also be very good. I can’t wait to taste the other bottles which include sherrywood finish, peated and single cask expressions. Penderyn have already won awards since launching in 2004 so this is a distillery to watch out for.

Whiskey Nut

merthyr-rising