The French a long and glorious history of spirit distillation that helped the country raise the bar in terms of their alcoholic spirit consumption and thus given the world an array of renowned distillates (apart from Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Marseille, and their favorite pastis).
France’s astonishing taste for whiskey surpasses various countries, namely Ireland, the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom’s age-old affinity with this ‘water of life.’ The history of French whiskey you cannot ignore.
Malt grain drink lovers through the world simply can’t get enough of the fine French whiskey brands.
The ideal soil and terrain conditions and the availability of necessary raw materials, combined with the French techniques and an eye for detail, have enriched the whiskey production of the country.
It has long been a tradition for the French to own and collect this unique and exciting beverage. If you want to enjoy fine whiskeys the cost-effective way, invest in French whiskey.
The French whiskey is superior to other liquors because of its use in several cocktails. An excellent example of this is Manhattan. In some bars, they even refer to it as whiskey and not rum.
If you want to know why the French whiskey turned into the nation’s all-time favorite, we at Gentleman Zone are ready to do a rundown of the reasons to get a clear picture.
The Unique French Tradition of Whiskey Production
The French culture is rooted in tradition, and that’s prominent even in their unique method of whiskey production.
Alembic stills and portable Holstein are the mainstays of whiskey production in France. These are widely utilized for distilling the spirit. After twelve to eighteen months, the blends are taken to the ex-cognac casks, usually made of French oak.
These casks give it a gourmand touch and sweetness typically found in old cognac. You will get a hint in the taste and even get to feel it in the aroma to some extent. The resultant product is rare and distinctive in tastes.
These days, even nuts, fruits, and grains join the blend along with mashed bill to enhance uniqueness, though such practices are debatable.
French Culture and Whiskey
Scotch in France has something to do with the set-up over wine culture. The French have strong food and beverage traditions, which allow them to appreciate various intricate spirits.
Tasting is emblematic of France. The same is particular about wine. And the French have been doing this for the past decades.
Subsequently, tasting culture fine-tunes extreme keenness over subtle flavors. For instance, the classic twelve to fifteen-year-old rich highland whiskey like the Dalmore has long been a mainstay for most malt grain alcohol lovers.
The French Love for Homegrown Flavors
With the innovation of French whiskeys, the love for Scotch Whiskey has subsided. France loves homemade French whiskey more than Scotch. Owing to their age-old habit of preferring homegrown food items, France has produced various ‘crafted’ whiskeys, which have thus made an uproar globally.
Whiskey enthusiasts share the passion for different blends of alcohol since the dawn of time but as technology changes, whiskey lovers are still emotional about that legendary unique taste.
French whiskey formed a firm base in the international beverage arena. A famous name is that of Pernod Ricard of France. The company ranks amongst the top ten brands and has carved a niche in the world of French Whiskey and is well-compared with several whiskey barons like Glenn ar More in Brittany, Gallet-Dupic in Lorraine, and Guillon.
According to history, Brittany’s Warenghem Distillery produced their first single-malt French whiskey in 1998. And later in 2015, Alsace and Brittany turned famous for producing whiskey in bulk.
They are the ones behind the birth of renowned French whiskey, ‘Le Whisky Breton’ and ‘Le Whisky Alsacien.’ As a result, the whiskey lovers are going crazy with this fascination of enjoying these homegrown French whiskey flavors.
The Catastrophic Event of Phylloxera
During the mid-century, the phylloxera bug destroyed a significant portion of France’s vineyards.
Bug damaged French whiskey production, making it appear too thick. At that very moment, Scotch took over the alcohol industry and soon became the ‘choicest liquor’ of the French.
This catastrophic incident transformed the entire history of the famous French vineyards, and, since then, French whiskey is the all-time favorite of France.
The French whiskeys have various wet flavors, which push the sensation of the palate of whiskey lovers. French whiskeys are well-known for initiating specific dominating characteristics and notes absent in most Scotch brands.
It is famous as tourbé in French, which is a kind of challenge that French whiskey-lovers appreciate. The Bourbon process helps extraction of most flavors. That’s why French whiskey’s various flavors are all of such a prime quality, while others have a varying degree of taste.
The Comparatively Low Price Tag of Whiskey
The demand for whiskey also stems from the fact that it has a comparatively low price tag. Though the French love their single malt scotch, the best selling whiskey in the country is still Jack Daniel’s.
Though some people always are interested in sampling nothing but the most expensive and rarer brands of whiskey, the majority still leans towards the mid-range brands.
Besides, cognac might be homegrown, but it is still pricier than other options like whiskey.
Innovative Cocktails and Tonics
Gone are the days when the French only preferred a sour and the old-fashioned. In recent times, Paris has come up with some different trends over drinking whiskey. It is in the form of various cocktails along with hipster tonics. According to many connoisseurs of alcohol, French whiskey has a significant role in making multiple cocktails and started appealing to more people in France.
The essence of French whiskey is being one of the most flavor-rich juices worth consuming. This juice is an essential component of several cocktails and its recipes. A constant supply of the French whiskey and the right cider or the cocktail recipes that use these juices has been one of the most popular vacationing activities.
French Whiskey and Coffee – Grand Unification
When you come to a hotel in France or Ireland, you might find that they offer whiskeys and other spirits for guests to take home with them.
In most cases, it’s a pleasant touch to add a whiskey glass to your whiskey and Scotch and find that this spirit lasts for several days and drinks well even when refrigerated. Bourbon is a popular choice and makes an excellent addition to your whiskey and coffee pairing.
However, if you prefer a simple drink, replace the whiskey with a more robust Irish coffee.
The French are fond of their Irish Coffee but with a twist. The specialty of Irish Coffee is the amount of whiskey that they add to make it more delectable. An equal amount of whiskey serves the greatness of flavor, along with whipped cream and sugar.
Instead, the whiskey is the mid-layer of the Irish Coffee, with the bubbly or frothy portion serving as the topmost layer. A blend of dark roasts and the final French addition to this mixture comes from a small distillery that makes the Irish Coffee a dark, robust blend of Irish coffee beans and various dark grains from different countries.
The resulting dark liquid has a creamy texture with some spice added. It isn’t delightful at first, but when it’s entirely aged, the flavor gets milder. Bourbon is a suitable replacement for whiskey. Using the Irish Coffee in combination with the whiskey is still an excellent way to increase the amount of flavor of the whiskey without overpowering it.
So, the major attraction of the French-made Irish Coffee is the individuality of all the ingredients, set in three layers, well-known as ‘étages’ or stages in French. Irish Coffee has three individual layers of Coffee, Whiskey, and crème Chantilly. The entire layering, particularly whiskey, makes the difference between a French-made and an Irish-made Irish coffee. Thus the union of two main ingredients, have all the more made the French whiskey the all-time favorite of the creative French people.
Whiskey and Cheese Make a Magnificent Pair
Once you have bought a bottle of French whiskey, it is time for you to experience the notes of the beverage. You can have your whiskey and cheese cocktail, but what you might like to do is start with a more simple cocktail. You can choose a drink that has a richer flavor and not be afraid to mix it up, either.
The French love to have their assorted cheese. And whiskey pairs very well with the same. The pairing of French cheese with French whiskey is an experience. The French love to do it with over six hundred assorted cheese styles.
BASTILLE 1789 BLENDED FRENCH WHISKEY
With a bright, golden amber hue, this Blended French whiskey looks more transparent than your average whiskey.
In terms of taste, you would note a sweet and smoky flavour, along with hints of clove and ground pepper, which bring a bit of earthiness. It’s aged for 5-7 years at Jean-Marc Daucourt distilleries.
BRENNE 10-YEAR-OLD FRENCH SINGLE MALT WHISKEY
Four different barrels of ten-year-old whiskey come together to make Brenne 10. It’s a bit expensive, but it’s worth a try.
Its taste can be best described as aromatic and fiery and herbaceous and earthy, almost reminiscent of porcini mushrooms. On the nose, it’s strangely flat, with slight hints of cranberry.
ARMORIK BRETON SINGLE MALT WHISKEY
Armorik Breton comes from Distillerie Warenghem, a family-owned distillery that launched it in 1998.
On the nose, it has floral, malty, sweet notes, with a bit of sarsaparilla. Aged only three years, this one is a rare young whiskey that comes with a dry, malty taste finished with a hint of oak.
EDDU SILVER BROCELIANDE
A double-matured whiskey that is made solely with buckwheat, Eddu Silver comes from Distillerie des Menhirs in Brittany.
The palate feels quite nutty and fragrant, and the finish has hints of vanilla and spices, like the crown royal reserve. You will find floral notes on the nose, as the ageing takes place in oak casks.
VULSON WHITE RHINO RYE
The White Rhino is the first whiskey released by Vulson, which is a collaboration between the Experimental Cocktail Club and Domaine des Hautes Glaces.
Made from organic rye, this whiskey needs 5 days of fermenting followed by 3 times distillation. The palate is strangely more complex and richer than expected, along with a lingering hint of spice. It is quite full of flavours for a young spirit.
KORNOG PEATED SINGLE MALT WHISKEY
The Scottish malted barley that is used in making this whiskey gets peated to at least 35pmm. This means Kornog is one of the smokiest tastes you would find.
The smoky aroma and the fruity finish make this an even more exciting whiskey to try. It comes from the renowned Glann-ar-Mor distillery in Brittany.
ROZELIEURES ORIGINS COLLECTION
The Distillerie Grallet-Dupic is located in the beautiful hamlet of Lorraine in France. And, Rozelieures is the first whiskey of Lorraine.
It feels fresh and malted on the nose, while on the palate, it has a fruity, leathery, and nutty taste with a spicy finish. The powerful notes also come from being aged in oak casks.
BELLEVOYE BLEU TRIPLE MALT
The first sip of Bellevoye Bleu might feel too strong and rich for most palates. But, stay with it, and within a few sips, this non-peated blended malt will grow on you.
It comes as a combination of malts from three of the most famous whiskey producing regions of France, namely, Alsace, Brittany, and cognac. First ageing takes 3-8 years in Oak barrels followed by mixing and ageing again for about 1 year in French Oak barrels.
VICOMTE SINGLE MALT 8 YEAR
If you like your whiskey spicy, fruity, and sweet and don’t mind notes of liquorice and chocolate, then you would love Vicomte. Made of organic and 100% French barley, this whiskey has 40% alcohol.
This single malt is aged for at least eight years in the ex-cognac, oak casks, which brings a spicy and vanilla aroma to it.
LE PERTUIS PURE MALT WHISKEY
Le Pertuis is a pure malted whiskey, which means that the base is a hundred percent malted barley. The spirit is aged for five years in oak casks, which adds to its aroma and taste.
Its finishing takes place 3 diverse barrels leading to its mahogany colour and toffee-sea salt texture. You will find notes of dried apricot, chocolate, and figs in the palate, and cocoa and baked apples in the aroma.
Many people do not even consider French whiskey to be whiskey. Some people find it to be rum, whereas others classify it to be as malt liquor. But with the many unique French whiskey styles available today, it is easy to see why it is one of the world’s best-loved spirits.
The reason French whiskey is the best kind of whiskey is that it has plenty of distinct styles and tastes. It is the drink that people from all over the world love to make.
France has bagged the topmost position globally in terms of whiskey consumption, while the French supposedly consumes over two to three liters per individual each year.