Michel Couvreur - Blossoming Auld Sherried Single Malt
In the 1950’s, Michel Couvreur, originally from Belgium, landed in Burgundy to start a fine wine merchant business. He took frequent trips to England and Scotland to sell his wines but was always particularly drawn to Scotland for the fishing and hunting. This is how he got exposed to the finest Scotch whiskies; and this is how the story started! He moved to Scotland in 1964 to become enamored with the whisky production and craft his own at Edradour. However trends were already changing in the industry with many of the old methods being replaced by new, cheaper ones, swapping the old, traditionally-used Sherry casks for more cost-effective steel or plastic vessels. Because of this, Michel decided to return to Burgundy in the 1970's. The region standing midway between the Andalusian vineyards and the Scottish Highlands, it was logistically easier to get the extremely rare old Pedro Ximenez and Palomino casks, as well as Vin Jaune feuillettes from the neighboring Jura wine region. All the young distillates were sourced from Scotland and shipped to Burgundy to be matured. Couvreur was an interesting character and would have crazy ideas! He also had various passions and one of them was engineering underground tunnels. He called the same company that built the famous Mont Blanc tunnel to create an underground labyrinth under the nearby limestone hills. The maze is still used today to age all of Couvreur's production. These single malts, while not technically Scotch, soon became the things of legends. Michel passed away in August 2013. He shared many of his secrets with his wife, Marthe, and daughter, Alexandra, as well as his long-time employee and confident, Jean-Arnaud Frantzen, and his son-in-law, Cyril Deschamps. They are now entrusted to carry on the legacy of the true “Last of the Mohicans" of artisanal Scotch whisky. The name remains and new expressions are being released every year. Early 2022, Couvreur built a new storage / production facility in the Village of Bouze les Beaune. The team has already started distilling their own spirits from local biodynamically grown barley. The current production is about 60,000 allocated bottles sold to private collectors and Michelin star restaurants around the world.
Distillation Degree 70% - Natural Degree 55% - Bottle Degree 45% • The Blossoming Auld Sherry is a recreation of the legendary malt whiskies of the Victorian era. An era when sherry and Scotch were both kept on hand in the cellars of England and Scotland’s great estates and drawn for consumption as needed. Matured in one single butt of the freshest possible Montilla-Moriles casks, this whisky is redolent of that great wine of Jerez in a way that’s simply not available in modern bottlings. This ultra saturated butt from a solera started in the 1950s at Toro Albala is one of a kind. The cask was kept in medium humidity for the majority of its maturation before being moved to the wettest part of Couvreur’s cellar where extractive atmosphere is at a maximum.
From Reggit World Whisky
Nose: True, old-style sherry bomb. Rich, old-style Pedro Ximenez sherry notes are evident from the start. Stewed plums. Figs. Raisins.
Palate: Thick, viscous, delicious! Figs, stewed cherries, plums. Dried fruit, raisins. It's chewy, glorious old-school Pedro Ximenez sherry is perfectly integrated with the 45% ABV. Stone fruit jam, caramel sweetness. You never get any alcohol burn. It's a pure joy to drink! It is perfectly dancing the line of PX sherry and a great Scotch whisky at the same time.
Finish: Medium-long finish. Gentle PX sherry notes, figs, more dried fruits trailing off.
This is probably one of the most unique whiskies I've ever tried. Having recently enjoyed a few drams of a 1971 Toro Albala Pedro Ximenez Sherry, as well as much younger PX sherries, this Michel Couvreur "Blossoming Auld Sherried" Whisky has a real old-school style Pedro Ximenez Sherry DNA. It's not brash like the newer quick "sherry cask finish" whisky trend where something is thrown in a young sherry cask for a few months, to a year or two.
It's also certainly not just "sherry with extra alcohol," either. It's sweet, but not cloying, it's nuanced and tastes like something aged at least 20 years, even though there's no age statement. I have to thank Chesterfield and so many others for this recommendation. Phenomenal.