France, the other whiskey country

French whiskey may not be as famous as its Scottish or Japanese cousins, but it has nothing to be embarrassed about. The (100) proof: from Brittany to Corsica, France has some prestigious, high-end single malts. has selected five major French whiskey houses to taste.

1. The Warenghem distillery in Côtes-d'Armor

The oldest French single malt was born in Brittany in 1998, in Lannion, on the Pink Granite Coast. Created by the century-old Warenghem distillery, the different whiskeys of the Armorik range enjoy a Breton whiskey geographical indication. They were brewed with locally drawn water, then fermented, distilled and aged in Brittany. The star of the house is Armorik Double Maturation, aged in Breton oak barrels, then in Sherry Oloroso barrels. Since being recognized as the Best European Whiskey at the 2013 World Whiskies Awards, it has won numerous gold medals.

Distillerie Warenghem (External link)

2. The Distillerie des Menhirs in Finistère

Our whiskey road trip continues on Celtic lands—in Plomelin, at the Distillerie des Menhirs, the Le Lay family has been making the only whiskey in the world made from buckwheat, called EDDU (named for the Breton word fro the grain), since 2002. While in Scotland or Ireland this famous drink is made from barley, here Brittany's emblematic cereal enlivens the whiskey with floral, spicy and fruity notes. This single malt is aged in oak barrels, notably EDDU Gold for seven years.

Distillerie des Menhirs (External link)

3. The Domaine des Hautes Glaces in the Alps

Perched between the skies and the mountains, in the heart of the Alps, the farm distillery of the Domaine des Hautes Glaces creates exclusive, elegant whiskeys. Since 2009, the estate has produced a certified organic single malt mountain whiskey, which evokes the region of the Trièves mountains, between Vercors and Écrins. The result is astounding, with a wealth of new notes. Moissons Single Malt is a traditional cereal whiskey, as well as the Ampelos Single Cask with numbered bottles, which are somehow even more delicious, punctuated with spicy notes.

Domaine des Hautes Glaces (External link)

4. The Castan Distillery in Occitanie

For three generations, the Castan Distillery has specialized in fruit distillation. In 2010, the creator's grandson, Sébastien Castan and his wife Céline began to produce whiskey. They created the first whiskey from Tarn, Vilanova Berbie, rounded with notes of dried fruit and honey. Four other whiskeys followed, including Vilanova Terrocita, a peated, amber-color whiskey, awarded a Gold Medal at the Paris regional agricultural competition in 2019! The name Vilanova is actually an Occitan term that means "Villeneuve," the name of the village where the Castan distillery is located.

[Castan Distillery] (External link)

5. The Domaine Mavela in Corsica

In the town of Aléria, in the heart of the Domaine de Casabianda, between the sea and the mountains, is the Mavela distillery. The only whiskey distillery in Corsica, since 2004 it has produced a drink that embodies the mildness and sunshine of the Mediterranean climate. Thanks to the exceptional qualities of this region, the P&M Single Malt has obtained a score of 95/100 in the World Bible of Jim Murray whiskeys in 2014, making it the 5th best whiskey in the world! The Domaine Mavela also offers a P&M Vintage, appreciated for its subtle notes of apricot, pear and hazelnut, with a herbaceous finish.

Domaine Mavela (External link)