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Michel Couvreur, Burgundy
Michel Couvreur Overaged Malt Whisky
Burgundy is famed for its fine wine rather than its Malt Whisky. But that might be about to change. What this region of France has made into an art form is long maturation, cask selection and refined flavours. Enter Michel Couvreur.
This Overaged Malt Whisky is a blend of some 50 different single malts matured for between 12 and 27 years in Sherry casks. The barrels are predominantly Oloroso with some Pedro Ximénez thrown in for good measure. Some of the Sherries were half a century old, and these casks were then filled with whisky while still slightly wet, further heightening the rich Sherry influence. The final whisky is a crazy melange of flavours and origins. There’s very Scottish notes of heather, marmalade, shortbread and peat smoke; something almost French Brandy-esque with its toasted nuts, toffee, tobacco, honey and dried flowers; and then finally there’s a big hit of sweet Sherry with Christmas cake, Armagnac-soaked dried fruit and that wonderfully oily and viscous texture. It’s remarkable stuff.
Based in Bouze-lès-Beaune, Michel Couvreur sources exceptional whisky from Scotland, then matures it in handpicked barrels of equally exceptional quality deep down in cellars beneath a château in Burgundy.
Michel Couvreur began ageing whisky in 1978. His belief was that there’s more to whisky than terroir and the distiller’s hand. It was his opinion that it is all about maturation. And considering that whisky doesn’t truly become whisky until it has been aged in oak casks, he might well have been right. Michel Couvreur dynamited his own cellar in Burgundy, in which to mature his whisky. He set up a branch of the business in Old Meldrum, a village that is also home to Glen Garioch, and even dabbled in a little distilling at Edradour. When Michel Couvreur passed away at the age of 85, the business was handed over to his son. The quality remains impeccable, each bottle lovingly reduced in strength with imported Scottish water, hand labelled, hand corked and then hand waxed. And when it comes to that seal, please note that this is whisky from wine country, so please open with a corkscrew.
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