GSN Review: Armorik French Whisky

__amorikIt’s always interesting to try a new spirit that has a history, and yet at the same time offers uniqueness.  Armorik is created at the Warenghem distillerie located in Lannion, France.  Originally they produced an herbal elixir (still available today) and then moved on to fruit liqueurs and cremes.  They began making blended whiskeys  in 1987 and then tackled the single malt category in 1998.  An unusual move, as they produce the only single malt whisky made in the Brittany region.  It has paid off in spades though, as they have won several awards in such a short time.

The Classic Single Malt is un-chill filtered and aged in a blend of different agings from ex-bourbon and sherry casks. The Double Maturation is aged in French Oak and then rested in sherry for a final burst of sweetness.

Armorik Classic Single Malt (92 proof)
Visual: Pale gold.
Nose: Light smoke with sweet malty notes.  Raisins, currents and brown bread.
Taste: Loads of smokey, yet sweet fruitiness up front.  Delicate and petite.
Finish: Bright and crisp with a traditional Highland scotch feel.  I’d be hard pressed to say that this wasn’t a Scotch in a blind tasting.
Overall: Smooth and with a nice clean flavor, this is a step above an entry-level whisky.
GSN Rating: B

Armorik Double Maturation (92 proof)
Visual: Medium copper.
Nose: Next to no smoke, but a rich yeasty whole wheat bread-like character.
Taste:  A heavier mouthfeel than the Single Malt, with more of a sweet aged rum-like character.  Some smoke comes through, but is subdued by the sweet sherry tonality.
Finish: Lingering sweet, caramel overtones with a classy richness.
Overall: Very, very good.  I’m impressed.  This is a world-class whisky.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Heavenly Spirits

GSN: Backbar Review – October 28-November 1, 2013

indexThe Macallan single malt Scotch has released the latest entry in its limited Masters of Photography series, the Elliott Erwitt Edition. A collection of 35 unique single-cask whiskies, each paired with a different 11”x14” print signed by photographer Elliott Erwitt, the new expression is packaged in a 375-ml. glass flask hidden inside a photo-archival book. Worldwide, 2,030 Elliott Erwitt Edition packs will be released, with 320 of the packs allocated for the U.S. market. Launching globally this month, The Masters of Photography: Elliott Erwitt Edition is priced at $1,500. The Erwitt entry follows The Macallan’s previous Masters of Photography collaborations with Annie Leibovitz, Albert Watson and Rankin.

indexGig Harbor, Washington-based Heritage Distilling is introducing a new offering, Elk Rider Blended Whiskey, in honor of its first anniversary. To be formally unveiled November 2, the new blended whiskey, made from local Northwest Washington ingredients, joins Elk Rider Vodka and Gin in the brand line. In addition to the Elk Rider range, Heritage also produces Commander’s Rye Whiskey, HDC Vodka, HDC Char Barrel Finished Vodka, HDC Soft Gin, Fall Classic Apple Cider Flavored Whiskey. The company’s brands are distributed in Washington and Oregon.

indexThe New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) is launching the first-ever barrel of Aberfeldy single cask Scotch available in the U.S. this fall. Currently available for pre-order through November 1, the 1997 Aberfeldy Single Cask entry is currently priced at $229.99 and includes a personalized engraved medallion with purchase. After November 1, remaining inventory will be offered at select New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet stores for $249.99. Only 600 bottles of the limited edition, 16-year-old offering will be offered.

indexBeefeater Burrough’s Reserve is now rolling out in the U.S. market. The limited edition new product features gin made using the original Beefeater recipe and then finished in rare oak barrels selected by master distiller Desmond Payne. Burrough’s Reserve ($70 a 750-ml.) is produced in very small batches, and each bottle displays its batch and bottle number on the label.

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indexSouth Africa’s Amarula liqueur has unveiled a new extension, Amarula Gold, a non-cream product that will be launched in key global markets early next year. Like Amarula Cream, Gold is also made from marula fruit that is fermented into a marula wine and then double-distilled and aged in oak for 24 months.

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indexSeattle’s Westland Distillery has released the first bottling of its American Single Malt Whiskey. Westland’s American Single Malt, priced at $60 a 750-ml., is made from five different malted barleys and matured in heavily charred new American oak casks. The whiskey will be the flagship of Westland’s line. At its 13,000 square foot facility, the group is currently producing approximately 100 full-size casks a month. The American Single Malt is available now at retail and on-premise in Washington state, with more markets to follow.

indexBacardi has unveiled The Facundo Rum Collection, a new range of limited-edition, aged sipping rums. The collection, which is a tribute to Bacardi founder Don Facundo Bacardi Massó, will feature four handcrafted, luxury entries intended to appeal to Scotch and Cognac connoisseurs. Rolling out this month, the four rums will initially be available only in New York and Miami, limited to just 12,000 cases for their debut year. The first tier in the Facundo Collection is Neo ($45), a blended white rum made with liquid aged for up to 8 years, which is then carbon-filtered to remove color. Next in the range is Eximo ($60), which is blended prior to being aged for more than 10 years, and then Exquisito ($90), which is made with 7- to 23-year-old rums and finished in Sherry casks. The collection’s most upscale offering is Paraiso ($250), which is matured for up to 23 years and finished in Cognac casks. Each of the variants is intended to be consumed neat or on the rocks with the exception of Neo, which is also suggested to be consumed in cocktails.

indexThe Teeling Whiskey Co. has introduced a namesake single grain Irish whiskey. Teeling Single Grain is a 46% abv product fully matured in Californian Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels. Single grain Irish whiskey bottlings are very rare because the grain whiskey is generally blended with heavier styles to produce most of the category’s leading brands. Teeling Whiskey Co. was founded by Jack Teeling in 2012, soon after his father, John, sold Cooley Distillery to Beam Inc (Jack had been Cooley’s sales and marketing director). The company is currently planning to build its own production facility in Dublin, which would be the city’s first new whiskey distillery in more than a century.

indexMassachusetts-based Heavenly Spirits is reintroducing France’s Armorik Breton single malt whisky to the U.S. The 46%-abv whisky’s Classic expression ($49 a 750-ml.) is made from 100% French malted barley, aged almost 7 years in refilled American Bourbon casks, and finished in Oloroso Sherry casks for three months. Armorik’s Double Maturation variant ($55) is aged 5 years in French oak from the Armorik forest and at least two years in Oloroso Sherry Casks. Concurrently, Heavenly Spirits has added Jules Theuriet Creme de Framboise to its range. The 18%-abv. raspberry liqueur comes in 750-ml. and 375-ml. sizes.

indexWashington, D.C.-based New Columbia Distillers is releasing a limited-edition seasonal gin, Ginavit. Ginavit was created by adding several traditional Scandinavian aquavit botanicals to New Columbia’s Green Hat Gin. The blend was then rested in apple brandy barrels for three months. Retailing at $40, Ginavit will hit D.C. Retailers and restaurants in limited quantities beginning next week.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily