Armorik 2002 12 year old Oloroso Cask #3298
Bottle: A classic whisky bottle with a raised metallic gold band at the bottom of the front label. The rear label describes the pedigree of the spirit in English and French. English for the rest of the world and in French because this one is from Brittany of all places. Apparently it’s an exceptional single oloroso cask bottling. Let’s find out…
Nose: Nail varnish, toffee and faint coffee grounds initially. Needs to breathe a little and then it settles down nicely into salted caramel and vanilla fudge.
Body: Light and dry.
Palate: Lightly spicy with some cayenne pepper heat. Toffee apple and caramel.
Finish: Salted caramel again, Creamy and drying. Good length and well balanced.
Neat/Ice/Water: It scorches a little at 55.7%. I like a little ice in this personally. The flavours remain and the heat goes down a notch to gently warming. This is a robust dram and it can take some watering.
Verdict: Superior. Now as we all know whisky is a Celtic creation so I’m not surprised at all to find a dram or two coming out of Brittany. The people of Bretagne (half of my family lineage as it happens) aren’t Gauls like the rest of France. They are Celts and have more in common with the Irish and Scottish in terms of language and culture. At last years TWE show in London I spotted a lonely stand tucked away in a corner with no one attending it and hadn’t heard of the distillery. I sauntered over and discovered this fine dram that had connections to my motherland and settled in for a while and tried the several bottles that they had. They were all quite good (look out for the double maturation blue label too) but this was the stand out. As recently as Last Friday, Cadenhead’s in London had a little soiree to celebrate their birthday and a couple of whisky promoters were on hand to push their wares. I was pleased that Armorik was one of them and spoke to the sales guy whilst reminding myself just how decent these are. He said pushing French whisky was murder as France is most associated with wine and I could see his point. So I’m doing my part to bring the message out that this is proper Celtic stuff and you should give it a chance, not so much out of loyalty, but because it’s very good whisky indeed…