What You Need To Know Now About France's New Luxury Liquor
Fine whiskey lovers will rejoice at a new offering to hit U.S. shelves from France later this month. Alfred Giraud, a blended malt French whiskey in two variations: the unpeated Heritage and its peated sibling Harmonie. Less than 1000 of the former will be available in the U.S. and only a few hundred of the latter making this new entrant one of the most sought-after in the country this fall.
According to Philippe Giraud, who founded Alfred Giraud in 2012, there is a wonderful opportunity for these new offerings, “People told me, French whiskey does not exist,’” he says. “But we said, ‘Hey, there is no reason why France one day will not be a major player in whiskey. We have the know-how, the expertise, the supply chain, the logistics, the climate, the ingredients. We have the cognac, the Armagnac, the champagne, the wine, the calvados. Why no whiskey?’”
The Alfred Giraud was launched, and at a list price of $155 for Heritage and $190 for Harmonie, this whiskey is sure to find itself only among true aficionados. Indeed the price is also reflective of what the company says is fine craftsmanship.
Our expertise is in blending,” Philippe says. “Typically in a cognac, you have up to 50, 60, 70, sometimes 80 different [liquids]. Cognac is very much about blending, even more than whiskey. So we wanted to acknowledge and use our expertise as cognac blenders and apply it to the whiskey category.
Both Heritage and Harmonie are “triple malt” blends sourced from three distilleries: Rozelieures in Lorraine, Warenghem in Brittany, and a producer in Cognac. Philippe says that what makes Alfred Giraud unique is its use of so-called rare cognac casks—those that held aging cognac for decades before being emptied and used for the whiskey. André Giraud, who has worked in Cognac for 80 years and has wide-ranging connections across the region, helps source these casks. Once the cask is emptied of cognac, Alfred Giraud fills it with unaged spirit—but the wood itself still holds several liters of old cognac which, over time, seep into the aging whiskey. The result a whiskey with the smoothness of cognac.
Such a result is fitting for a company with a history rooted in cognac. Philippe is descended from a line of coopers and cognac cellar masters; his great-grandfather Alfred, for whom the brand is named, was the cellar master at Rémy Martin cognac for over 30 years. Philippe himself worked for Rémy and, later, for Balvenie and Glenfiddich owner William Grant & Sons, and he hired two cognac cellar masters to help create the Alfred Giraud brand: André Giraud, Philippe’s uncle, is 95 years old and helps source the rare cognac casks for aging the whiskey, while Georges Clot, another retired Rémy cellar master, serves as master blender for the brand.
With such rich, new whiskey products on the market, it makes one anticipate the chilly nights of fall even more.
For further information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Wine-Spirits/Alfred-Giraud-Whisky-164131277729732/