I’ve been exploring world whiskies a bit more lately. And I’m not just talking about Japanese or Irish whisk(e)y, but also Swedish whisky or whisky from Swiss, South Africa, Israel or actually any other country. You name it. There are so many interesting single malts to be found that are produced all over the world and the number of distilleries is only increasing. So it’s time to give it a little more thought and today I’m starting with a French single malt, namely this Kornog 2005, bottled by the Whisky Sponge.

For the ones not familiar with Kornog, it’s a peated single malt produced by Glann Ar Mor. Located on the beautiful Breton coast, the distillery literally overlooks the sea. It is also where it got its name from as Glann Ar Mor means ‘by the sea’ in Breton.

The first whisky ran through the stills in 2005 and was first released in 2008, soon followed by the peated Kornog (meaning West Wind in Breton). The aim is to produce a high-quality artisan whisky and so they use two small direct-fired stills, wooden washbacks and copper worm tubs. The whole process is done in a traditional way in order to achieve their goal. And given the good reputation that the distillery has built up over the years, they have succeeded quite well.

It has been said that this Kornog 2005 is actually the oldest one that’s ever been bottled. Matured in a 1st fill ex-bourbon cask for 15 years and bottled at a strength of 50.4% ABV, it was specially released to celebrate 18 years, 4 months and 7 days of Whiskyfun.😁It was Serge’s own cask of Kornog and £30 from each bottle went straight to Parkinson’s UK, in memory of the late Michael Jackson.

Kornog 2005 tasting notes:

Nose: a whiff of vegetal peat, mixed with a bunch of citrus fruits: lemons and oranges. Then I get a bit of vanilla. Followed by tobacco and a faint leathery note. In the back some chalk and it’s somewhat briny. Later also a candy what we call Tum Tummetjes and then especially the pink ones (an old Dutch fruit candy). Later it also becomes a little floral.

Taste: a whiff of peat again but nothing more than that. Some ash and brine. Vanilla. Honey. Lemons and oranges again. Tinned artichokes. A hint of pepper, followed by fresh walnuts.

Finish: mid-long to long with a bit of peat, brine and fresh walnuts again.

Now, this is a nice surprise! I wasn’t familiar with anything from Glenn Ar Mor, so I did not really know what to expect from it, but I think it’s rather good. It has quite some coastal influences and lovely zesty flavours, making it rather fresh and vibrant. It’s maybe not the most complex whisky but it’s very tasty and it makes me want to explore more from this small French distillery.