So from Spain we head to France, a country that has a reputation for fine wines and spirits. In recent years France has seen a boom in whisky production, many distilleries that made other spirits have moved into producing whisky.
My first stop would be at the Domaine des Hautes-Glaces set in the middle of the French Alps at an altitude of 900 meters, the owners have put a lot of passion into this project. They grow their own barley in nearby fields, at the distillery every part of production is done in house. From malting through to bottling and all done organically, they have set out to create the first French single estate whisky.
From here we head to Paris and Distillerie de Paris, founded by Sébastien and Nicolas Jul has in 2014. The two brothers own one of Paris’s best groceries have started a micro distillery in the heart of Paris, the use a 400ltr Holstien still and produce about 50ltrs of distillate at 65% per batch. The first single malt was distilled in June 2015.
Now we leave the relatively new distilleries and head to the more established, first being Glenn ar Mor in Brittany. It’s all about tradition here with everything done the old way, from two small stills and worm tubs for condensing to a long fermentation in wooden washbacks. There is a little bit of uncertainty about if they will keep producing whisky, this is down a bit of legislation set out but the French government. This defined what a Whisky Breton can or cannot be, the owner claimed it was aimed at helping big business and not the traditional makers. I belive there is still talks on going to resolve this issue and to try and keep them in production.
My last stop in France would be at the Distillerie Warenghem, the producers of the Armorik single malt whisky. They have a pretty good core range with whiskies from 4yr old to 8 and 12yr old, mainly matured in ex bourbon casks with a few months in a sherry cask for the sherry finish. In 2015 they produced the First French rye whisky called Roof Rye.
So that’s 45 distilleries visited so far, just over half way and with a lot more to come with the rest of Europe and a few more countries left to visit.