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Distillerie Warenghem – Route de Guingamp, Boutill, 22300 Lannion



info@distillerie-warenghem.com


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Our know-how

All our expertise behind Armorik

Since 1900, the motto of the distillery has been ``gwelloc’h bepred``, meaning ``nothing but excellence`` in Breton. To live up to this motto, the distillery sets a very high bar regarding selection of the best ingredients and only the best suppliers are selected to meet our requirements. All our products are developed and aged at the distillery. Like all artisanal distilleries, we refuse to make any compromises regarding quality and our whiskies themselves are the proof of this commitment to excellence.

Our ingredients

Water
From the natural spring of Rest Avel (meaning “dwelling of the wind” in Breton), located 100 metres below the distillery. Pure and clear, it has a very low limestone content, characterised by the granite of the Breton coast.

Grain
– Malted barley for the Armorik single malts, sourced from Brittany and France.
– Wheat for the blended whiskies, sourced from Brittany and non-GMO.

Since 2015, we have been working with organically sourced grains. By 2020, all the grain we use will be from organic farming.

Our malting

Before being delivered to the distillery, the barley we use must be malted. In times gone by carried out by the distilleries themselves, this process is nowadays entrusted to malt houses.

Germination of the barley is induced via humidification. It is then left to germinate for a period before being dried. This vital step enables the grain to be prepared for mashing. During germination, the barley grain produces enzymes that convert starch into sugar during mashing.

Grinding and mashing

The malt is then ground in a mill to obtain a bulky flour known as grist. Grinding must be very precise for optimum mashing. Too much flour and lumps will form. Too much husk and sugar extraction will be unsatisfactory.

The grist is mixed with water during mashing (to form the mash). The water and grist must be mixed at 63°C. This temperature provides for optimum conversion of starch into sugar under the action of the malt’s enzymes.

We then collect the wort (sugary liquid resulting from the mashing of water/grain). We make every effort to draw off the wort in as clear a form as possible to ensure that the whisky has a highly aromatic and rounded flavour.

The mash tun has a perforated base that lets the wort run off while retaining the solid residue, which is given to a local farmer as cattle feed.

Fermentation

We transfer the wort into fermentation vessels called washbacks. We then add yeast, specifically developed for whisky, to initiate fermentation.

Fermentation takes between 3 and 4 days at our distillery. The action of the yeast converts the sugar into alcohol and gives off carbonic gas and heat while developing a pallet of aromas that create the character of the future whisky. The liquid obtained, the wash, has an alcohol content of 8% to 10 % Vol.

We use 2 strains of yeast, selected to obtain the desired aromas and optimum yield: one of the strains is chosen for its ability to produce alcohol and the other for its aromatic properties. In addition to converting the sugar into alcohol, the second yeast also produces numerous secondary components that provide the fruitiness and body of our future whisky. It is the proportions of these two yeasts and the fermentation temperature that define the property of the whisky and the characteristic fruitiness of Armorik.

Distillation

We use copper stills like the ones used in Scotland, known as pot stills, specially designed in Cognac more than 25 years ago to develop the specific aromas of Armorik. The wash is heated in a first still (the wash still) for an initial distillation.

The alcohol rises up in vapour form, with the less hot steam being recondensed in the top of the still before being vaporised once again, known as rectification. The vapours then pass into condensers to return to liquid state.

The second distillation takes place on the following day in a smaller still (the spirit still). From this distillation we only retain the “heart”, where the distillate presents the richest and purest aromas. At the distillery we make the cut off fairly high up in order to keep the majority of the aromas (the most volatile parts of the distillation) within our distillate. The short and squat shape of our spirit still enables us to obtain a fatty and rounded distillate, despite the high cut-off.

The head, the first fractions of the distillation, and the tails, the last fractions of the distillation, are removed for subsequent redistillation. This process of double distillation enables us to concentrate the alcohol and aromas in order to obtain an alcohol content of over 70% Vol. Every year we distil around 150,000 LPA (litres of pure alcohol).

Ageing

An initial reduction with water brings the distillate to 63% alcohol and it is transferred to oak casks for ageing. We use a number of different types of cask:

– Former bourbon whisky casks, which provide mellowness while maintaining the fruitiness of our distillate;

– Former oloroso sherry casks from Spain, which provide a warm and spicy fruitiness;

– Oak casks from Brittany: thanks to a 15-year partnership with the last cooper in Brittany, namely Jean Baptiste Le Floc’h from Douarnenez, we have casks made from oak sourced from the forests of Cranou and Brocéliande. These casks provide their natural sweetness and delicate woody notes.

Throughout the ageing process, gaseous exchanges occur through the oak. So each climate and each region provides the whisky with a distinct flavour.

Our casks age in the unique maritime climate of Brittany’s northern coast: temperatures are mild all year round (clement winters, fresh summers) and the sky can alternate over several hours between rainy periods and brilliant sunshine. In this mild climate, the angels’ share, namely the fraction that evaporates each year, accounts for about 3% in our cellars.

Blending and bottling

Our cellar master then selects the casks ready for bottling.

The assembly stage now commences. Different casks each with different aromas must be assembled in order to offer a whisky with the optimum balance. After a final reduction with water from our spring, the whisky is ready to be bottled.