Armorik single malt – the whisky of Brittany

With interest in “new world” whiskies exploding everywhere, not to mention a burgeoning craft whisky scene in almost every country around the world, it’s easy to look at a brand you’ve not heard of before and think “Okay, that’s new”. You might also be forgiven for assuming the whisky is young.

This is the challenge for some of the non-Scottish whisky producers that have actually been around the traps for a while and are trying to cement a foothold in the international scene. Such is the challenge for Armorik – the first Breton single malt whisky.

Armorik single malt whisky is distilled at Distillerie Warenghem, an independent, family-owned distillery that was established in 1900.   After 83 years of making all manner of liqueurs, the distillery turned its hand to whisky in 1983.  Whilst their first bottled release in 1987 was a blended whisky, Armorik Single Malt was launched back 1998.  So Armorik is hardly the new kid on the block, despite what many assume.

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Is whisky better or worse today than it was 20 years ago?

If you listen to enough punters who’ve been around a while, or read the writings of many in the whisky community (er…including here at Whisky & Wisdom), you might rapidly form the opinion that Scotch whisky being produced and released today is not as good as it used to be.

In short, plenty of people – myself often (but not always) included – assert that the whisky that was being produced and released 15 to 20 years ago was superior to what we are being served up today.  It’s a divisive topic, and one that is clouded by – all simultaneously at once – fact, hearsay, nostalgia, science, memory, rose-coloured tastebuds, marketing spin and experience.

Of course, there are plenty of exercises and tests one can apply to examine this theory.  For example, if you have the means, you can acquire a bottle of Glen McSporran 12yo from 2015 and a bottle of Glen McSporran 12yo from 1995 and taste the two side-by-side for direct comparison.    This has been done by plenty of people, including many respected whisky bloggers, and certainly by yours truly, but the conclusions vary and – ultimately – are subjective.  Everyone will happily conclude that the two releases are different, but personal taste and preference usually determine which one is deemed better.

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The Last Drop – 48yo Blended Scotch Whisky

The Last Drop Distillers is a brand you may not have heard of, much less seen a bottle of at your local liquor outlet.  If not by design, then this is certainly by necessity – for this is a label that deals with whisky that is both scarce and small scale.

The story of the company itself is a wonderfully rich, dare I say, romantic tale:  Three gentlemen, all long involved in the whisky and drinks trades, had remarkable and successful years and careers in the industry.   Between them, they were behind the creation and development of brands such as J&B Rare, Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, The Classic Malts range, Baileys and Malibu.

And so, despite reaching that time in life when retirement beckons, these gentlemen instead decided to team up in 2008 and form a new force:  A company that focussed on the world’s finest, rarest, and most exclusive spirits.  The Last Drop Distillers Limited is thus not a distillery, nor a single malt, but a brand and label that sources, bottles, and releases exceptionally old and rare spirits.

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