In the 2019 Whisky Bible
, Jim Murray says: “There are good whiskies in France. The best distillery in mainland France is probably Glann Ar Mor [now, Celtic Whisky Distillerie].”
Inside the distillery
Celtic Whisky Distillerie (CWD), recently bought by Maison Villevert, currently produces three very different whiskies, all named using Breton references to their character: Kornog (‘the west wind’), a peated single malt, Glann Ar Mor (‘by the sea’), an unpeated single malt, and, now, Gwalarn (‘the northeast wind’), a blend created in tribute to the origins of CWD, collecting whisky from distilleries in the Celtic region.
The former two CWD expressions were rated ‘Superstars that give us all a reason to live’ by Murray’s Whisky Bible
. The distillery describes Gwalarn as a rich and opulent whisky with notes from tobacco and leather to honey and salt.
The exterior of the distillery
Situated on the very edge of Brittany's ‘sauvage’ peninsular, CWD uses artisanal methods of production including open-flame heated stills for slow distillation and Oregon pine fermenters inhabited by indigenous yeasts. The spirit is aged in bourbon barrels in a cellar located just by the sea, benefitting from the northerly winds, ocean climes and mild weather. The distillery says that it’s not only the marine environment of the Brittany coast that imparts natural flavour, but the area’s unique, mineral-rich pink granite, through which all the water is filtered.
Gwalarn is now available for £35.99 from The Whisky Exchange
. Glann Ar Mor and Kornog, redesigned and repacked for 2021, are now more widely available in the UK for the first time, priced at £87 and £83 respectively.