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KWM 2023 Whisky Calendar Blog Day 18 - Armorik Yeun Elez Breton

Posted on December 19, 2023

by Evan

Armorik Whisky is made by Warenghem Distillery of Brittany. Brittany is a region in Northwestern France. The region is a peninsula, surrounded by saltwater on three sides in the form of The Bay of Biscay, The Celtic Sea, and The English Channel.

Though it is part of France, Brittany counts itself as one of the six Celtic Nations as defined by the Celtic League. The other five nations are Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man. Culturally, Brittany has such strong Celtic ties due to the migration of many large groups of Bretons some 1500 or so years ago between 450 and 600 AD. Much of this migration was a means to escape the Anglo-Saxon invasion of England. The Breton language is still spoken by a small minority of people in the Brittany region to this day.

The Warenghem distillery was founded in 1900, but the first whisky production did not happen at the site until 1983. In the late 1960s, the distillery was moved from its original location in the centre of Lannion to the outskirts of the city. The distillery’s first whisky release was called WB - or Whisky Breton – was launched in 1987. It was the first whisky from the Brittany region, as well as from France itself. The first Whisky Breton release was a blend of 25% malt whisky and 75% Grain Whisky.

In 1993, Warenghem installed a set of copper spot stills to be used solely for whisky distillation. Single malt production emulating the Scottish style using small pot stills and double distillation was started soon thereafter and the distillery's first Single Malt Whisky release was launched in 1998. Using the Armorik name, it was the first-ever French Single Malt whisky to come to market.  

In 2015, the term Whisky Breton became an officially recognized geographical indication. The rules regarding Whisky Breton state:

“All “Breton Whisky” (or “Whisky de Bretagne”) must therefore meet demanding specifications, guaranteeing its quality and the know-how of the distiller. It must have been produced from water sourced from Breton soil and have been fermented, distilled and aged in Brittany.”

Armorik bottles multiple Single Malt Whisky releases, though not everything they produce is available in Canada.  We have had one Armorik Whisky in our KWM Whisky Calendar in the past, back in the 2019 edition to be exact. That was the Armorik Double Maturation, which is part of Warenghem/Armorik’s regular release portfolio. This lineup also includes the Armorik Classic, and Armorik Sherry Cask. The Armorik Yeun Elez Single Malt Breton Peated is a Peated Breton Single Malt Whisky (see how I changed the order of these words to make myself sound smart?), distilled from peated malted barley imported from Scotland with a spec of 50ppm. Sadly, we only managed to get 50ml bottles of this limited release, not the full-size.

Shall we give this peated Armorik a go?

Armorik Yeun Elez Single Malt Breton Peated - 46%

Evan’s Tasting Note

Nose:  Earthy peat and smoke, crashing ocean waves in the winter, oyster shells, lemon rind, Jasmine Green Tea, apple slices, and a hint of blueberry pie.

Palate: Fresh yet oily with notes of salt and pepper, warming oatmeal with apples and cinnamon, a touch of Limoncello, and a smidge of Canton Ginger Liqueur.

Finish: Soft, with salt, pepper, and fruits recede with the ocean waves into the distance.

Comment: Remarkable whisky – very nicely put together. Soft, yet delicious in style.

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You can find all blog posts for Kensington Wine Market’s 2023 Whisky Calendar Here

This entry was posted in Whisky, Whisky Calendars, Distillery, KWM Whisky Calendar 2023



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