So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Glann ar Mor Maris Otter vs Kornog Roc’h Hir vs Kornog Sant Erwan 2016

Somehow the fact of it being St. Patrick’s day yesterday completely escaped me, and instead of doing the proper thing and having Irish whiskey I instead embarked on French whisky. Glann ar Mor is a distillery in Brittany, and while it is true that Brittany has celtic roots, it’s not quite the same celtic. I shall make up for this oversight by offering a joke first told to me by an Irish colleague who must be the funniest person I know:

Paddy Irishman, paddy Welshman, paddy Scotsman and paddy Englishman were on a flight and just as the plane ascended to 30,000 feet, the panicked captain shouted into the intercom. “Oh my God, we’ve just lost all but one of our engines, and now we’re too heavy, one of you will have to sacrifice yourself to save the plane”. The Irishman, Welshman, Scotsman and Englishman looked at each other. “For the glory of Scotland!” yelled the Scotsman and he threw himself out the door. “No good, we’re still too heavy! Someone else jump!”  “For the glory of Wales!” shouted the Welshman and he went out the door. “Tough luck, we’re still too heavy!” “For the glory of Ireland!”  And the Irishman kicked the Englishman off the plane.

It is true there has been a lot of suffering in Irish history, but in terms of drink, musical heritage, and good humour, I can’t think of any other country as lucky as the Irish. Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Right so my French drink instead – Glann ar Mor which means ‘at the edge of the sea’ is a relatively new distillery owned and founded by Jean Donnay in 1999. It produces a peated variant called Kornog and the eponymous whisky is the non peated version. The whole operation is run by 4 persons and is truly a limited and in many ways traditional product: Everything after the arrival of the malted barley takes place on site, the washbacks are pine, the two tiny stills are gas fired and worm coils are used instead of condensers.

In Singapore, you can buy these whiskies from our local Triskel Spirits.


Glann ar Mor Maris Otter 46%

Distilled from a single heritage strain of barley.

 Nose: Ok my style of whisky. Clean and au naturel – that is to say very close to the spirit. Shortbread and hot sand. A chalky mineral complex. Pear eau de vie. Clear and cutting resin and oxalic acid – like bitter sap of healthy greens.Very enjoyable.

 Palate: Yes as the nose suggests, only a more evident green sting, along the lines of spinach, celery, bittergourd you know etc..  plus minerals and sweet vanilla pods, that’s the wood whispering. Also more ginger and a white heat.Really quite a bit of clay and clean minerals. This one is very much about the barley.

 Finish: Fairly long, sappy and herby.

Honestly I instantly thought of a very mineralled Clynelish. Means this has done well in my reckoning.


Kornog Roc’h Hir 46%

 Nose: 30-35 ppm says the website.. I don’t get anything near that. Such gentle peat. It’s a rooty and earthy sort of peat, with sweet wood smoke. Black tea and other organics like freshly turned compost. Sweet wood and barley sugar. And also some clean chalk and sappy greens that remind me of the Maris Otter.

 Palate: White pepper, paper ash, white wine. quite some chalk and plant sap now. Feels like the peat and the malt are struggling how to express themselves. Malt bins, mentholated and lots and lots of heat.

 Finish: Medium. Hot and stinging bitter herbals. White pepper.

Feels somewhat young, but the distillation is spot on – no evident flaws. Definitely one to revisit with some age.


Kornog Sant Erwan 2016 50%

 Nose: Again not a peat monster, but certainly from a much more active bourbon barrel. Suede leather, toffee candy or vanilla fudge. Black pepper charred like charcoal. Burning pine wood, camphor and some interesting deeper medicinals. Again its a rooty earthy peat more akin to Ardmore than Ardbeg.

 Palate: Comes together well. The expected bourbon influence and the peat are there, but now additional layers open up. We get a bonus of rye-like roasty-spicy-dryness  and also some citrus jam juiciness. Very interesting. Excellent barrel selection.

 Finish: Fairly long and quite some woody tannins and dry spice.

Was a surprise! Multilayered, accessible and good strength. Really good stuff.


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This entry was posted on March 19, 2017 by in Glann ar Mor, Kornog and tagged , .
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