Welche’s Whisky Single Malt Tourbé Review: Alsatian Sauternes Cask French Whisky
| 2017-05-08T23:21:41+00:00 Last updated: March 11th, 2020|
Welche’s Whisky Single Malt Tourbé Review: Alsatian Sauternes Cask French WhiskyCharles-Philippe2020-03-11T08:51:12-04:00
Once again leaving a whisky review until the last minute, I figured that it was time to give a full breakdown of this obscure Alsatian expression. An intriguing creation by the Miclo Distillery in Lapoutroie, it was another gift from my step-daughter for my 30th birthday.
Therefore, we’ll be using the last few drop to review Welche’s Whisky Single malt Tourbé by exploring the following topics:
Welche’s Whisky is a little-known albeit fascinating label. Working under Alsace’s geographic certification, the ingredients are all sourced locally. Similarly, any colourings or flavourings are banned by the region’s appelation. Additionally, the mash was produced in partnership with Meteor, a local brewery. Meanwhile, it was aged solely in Sauternes casks for a surprisingly short period of between 4 and 5 years.
Given its short ageing period and prohibited use of colouring, I was surprised at Welche’s Whisky’s dark hue. Indeed, it gives off a glowing orange colour reminiscent of Madeira. As it’s quite young, it’s also not surprising that it leaves relatively quick and narrow tears when swirled in my Peugeot Les Impitoyables whisky glass.
Furthermore, the distillery is quite transparent about not using chill-filtration. Therefore, I was happy to see some strong viscometric whirls in my glass.
Welch’s Whisky’s Nose
Notes: Campfire, Honey, Orange, Butter
On the nose, Single Malt Tourbé has a warm and peppery profile yet is rather mild too. Furthermore, it’s remarkably gourmand and the peat expresses itself as a light pine wood campfire. Accompanying this are sugary notes of honey, candied oranges, and a thick dollop of oozing butter.
While not overly complex and also being generally quite mild, it’s surprising that the experience should be so intense. Nevertheless, it exudes character and gourmand charm during both the first and second nose.
Single Malt Tourbé’s Palate & Mouthfeel
Primary Tastes: Umami
Mouthfeel: Creamy, Eucalyptic
Opening: Marmalade, Williams Pear, Vanilla
Heart: Tinned Peach, Salted Caramel, Creosote
Finish: Medium [Raisins, Lapsang Souchong, Blood Orange]
Firstly, Welche’s Whisky Single Malt Tourbé offers an overall gourmand umami flavour profile with a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel that ends with a slightly prickly eucalyptic finish. Opening with a classic marmalade aroma, the first notes are youthful and provide fruity with hints of Williams pear, which is then softened by vanilla.
Once into the heart, tinned peach and salted caramel provide a sweet, syrupy contrast against a powdery note of smoky creosote. Eventually, the finish reveals boozy and vinous raisins, thick Lapsang Souchon tea, and tart blood oranges.
Although the finish isn’t overly long, it’s not fleeting either. Between sips, it leaves smoky pine and raisins on the palate, which leave you quickly reaching for more. Similarly, you could potentially add a little water to cut it. With most whiskies, I often do to help open the aromas. However, on this occasion, I happily enjoyed it neat as it maintains its thick, creamy texture.
Best Pairings With Welche’s Whisky Single Malt Tourbé
As a peated at 30 ppm, this single malt expression isn’t overly smoky and opens up plenty of versatile pairings. Given that it’s an Alsatian creation, I couldn’t help but think of Flammelkueche as a great option. Also known as tarte flambée, this traditional Alsatian dish is quite similar to pizza but is always prepared in a wood stove and features a healthy dose of onions and lardons.
Otherwise, kippers are a favourite of mine with peated whisky. Indeed, their smoky profiles beautifully accord with one another and help extend their flavours. Alternatively, you could always enjoy it as an aperitif with some saucisson.
Finally, with regards to cigars, Welche’s Whisky is relatively versatile and there are plenty of options available. I wouldn’t choose anything overly mild or full-bodied. Generally, medium-bodied cigars that are full of flavour would fare best.
For instance, both the Mambacho Tierra Volcan and Foundations Cigars The Wise Man are cigars that are bursting with flavour. Nevertheless, they’re not as full-bodied as you might expect. Given their gourmand properties, they would certainly pair nicely with this Alsatian whisky.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
Welche’s Whisky presents itself with a wonderful craft image that showcases Alsace’s Germanic and Celtic influences. Compared to Kornog, another very Celtic French whisky from Brittany, Welche’s label is far more reminiscent of the British Isles by depicting open countryside.
Although the expression’s name isn’t overly romantic, it’s quite clear with “tourbé” meaning “peated” in French. Similarly, the label features the coordinates over the name in a similar way to Talisker. Meanwhile, the cork has a nice wooden top stamped with the brand and provides a reliable seal.
As for the packaging itself, it’s simply a transfer of the bottle’s design onto a matte cardboard box. Additionally, the reverse features a breakdown of the distillery’s story in French.
In terms of the occasion for drinking Welche’s Whisky, this isn’t something that I would necessarily bring out on a special occasion. It might fare well in these circumstances. However, I much prefer it as an easy drink alone or with friends for an apéritif.
With regards to the value for money, this was a gift so it’s actually quite hard to properly scrutinise it. After a little bit of cheeky Googling, I found that a bottle costs somewhere in the realms of 50€. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found it available through US retailers for you.
Nevertheless, you might have better luck than me by searching on Drizly, which tends to stock a variety of obscure spirits.
As mentioned earlier, Welche’s Whisky is indeed a fascinating brand! While it’s culture is different from that of so-called pedigree whisky regions, it’s not too far removed either. Indeed, Alsace has a rich alcoholic spirits heritage too.
Similarly, the process and values of its production should not be overlooked. After all, few whiskies genuinely use only local ingredients to produce their expressions. For this very reason, it’s an accomplishment in itself. In fact, it’s an expression very much worth considering should you have the opportunity to try it.
"A buttery expression with a rich palate, Welche's Whisky is youthful and lively yet offers a mellow and gourmand experience."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★
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Charles-Philippe's work has covered a broad range of subjects from cigars and fragrances to wine and spirits. Fascinated by how history and culture together form the unique contemporary identities of alcoholic beverages, his articles follow an in-depth exploration of their development through a combination of tradition and innovation.