Live flame heating
Our two copper “Pot Stills” are direct heated by a live flame, contrarily to the “modern” practice using a stainless steel coil in which circulates steam. The resulting spirit gains in complexity and in aromatic richness.
It favours the essential action of copper catalysis and allows a better separation of the various components whilst they evaporate in the pot still.
They produce a spirit of finer quality by offering a higher ratio of copper surface to volume of liquid.
Contrarily to stainless steel fermenters, our Oregon Pine washbacks allow the development of a small colony of indigenous yeasts which work in addition to the fresh distiller yeast we use, delivering thus more complexity as well as a unique typicity linked to the location of the distillery.
Worm tub condensers
They deliver a spirit with a richer structure offering a fuller mouth feel.
The seaside humidity which impregnates our warehouses favours the development of spirits possessing a mellower character, it allows to reach in a shorter period of time the desired balance and complexity.
The surrounding sea air marked by salt and iodine brings a subtle maritime note to the whisky.
No chill filtration
Contrarily to the usual filtration practice of the whisky industry, the absence of chill filtration allows to preserve the integrality of of the aromatic esters contained in the whisky.
We never colour our whiskies with E150 colouring, contrarily to what is the common practice for nearly all of the whiskies.
Our “credo” with regards to making whisky
Making a good whisky has to do with a very delicate kind of “alchemy” : there exists an infinity of recipes and combinations allowing to produce it, without mentioning the variable origin and quality of the raw ingredients, nor the specification of the equipment used to make it. Determining a good combination of all these parameters is a long way from being an easy task, this is the reason why all whiskies are not equal.
During the nine years of research and preparation which have made possible the design and building of Glann ar Mor, we had to do a certain number of choices, the synthesis of which corresponds to what one may call our “credo” with regards to making whisky.
This “credo” brought us to build of Glann ar Mor as a “no compromise” distillery, this as much in its design itself, as in the process of making whisky which we have defined for it.
Whisky : a long and ancient Celtic tradition
To start with, this craftsmen’s distillery is in keeping with the best of Celtic tradition. Distillation of whisky originated and developed in northern areas, where vine does not grow but where barley is cultivated, being the raw ingredient used for the traditional drinks of these areas : Celtic people make beer and whisky, but neither wine nor brandy which are produced in the southern regions.
The first clearly established reference concerning the making of whisky dates back to 1494 in Scotland with a certain John Cor. But one knows that the tradition of the barley aqua vitae is significantly anterior to this date. It seems very likely that the Irish monks were those who brought to Scotsmen the secrets of whisky making.
These same monks are also at the origin of many saints venerated in Brittany, having left their native land to go evangelizing the land of Breton people, at the V Th, VI Th and VII Th centuries. One can easily imagine that they had also probably brought with them their knowledge about the making of aqua vitae from barley, the Uisge Beatha, which is to be found in Brittany in particular during the second half of the XIX Th century.
Amongst the numerous Breton saints from Irish origin, Saint Maudez offers for us a special interest : son of the king Erelus, he landed at the VI Th century in “Port Beni”, situated a stone’s throw from Glann ar Mor distillery in the mouth of the Jaudy river, and left his name to “Lanmodez” and to the “Ile Maudez”, where he lived and which is situated hardly further in the mouth of the “Trieux” river.
Legend of the Saint Maudez stained glass :
“Maudez Irish prince lands in Brittany at the VI Th century in the isle of St Maudez where he made several miracles” (Kermaria chapel in Plouha)
Glann ar Mor : a no compromise distillery
A genuine Celtic distillery, Glann ar Mor is also a craftsmen’s distillery, whose vocation is to produce whisky from malted barley in limited volume, and without the slightest concession to quality and authenticity. This objective and eight years of research, have led to materialize this “credo” by a certain number of very concrete choices. In this respect, Glann ar Mor is a whisky distillery being truly unique : it will probably be the only one making the synthesis of all these specifications under one roof.
• Two different pot stills, as well by their shape as by their capacity : one being optimized for the first distillation, the other one for the second distillation.
• Shape of the upper part of the pot still quite wide at the basis, in the tradition of Celtic distilleries : essential to allow a free flow of the ascending vapours with their aromatic congeners. The objective is to produce an oily and rich spirit ensuring much complexity.
• Direct heating of the pot stills with a live flame : this is most important with the first distillation, and will deliver a better balanced and more unctuous spirit than is the case with steam coils.
• Pot stills of small size : optimisation of the ratio copper surface/volume, favourable to the elimination of undesirable components by catalysis with the copper during distillation.
• Condensers of the worm type : very progressive transformation of the alcohol’s vapours into liquid on a length of about forty meters, as opposed to the short tube condensers.
• Wooden washbacks (Oregon pine) rather than stainless steel : during the fermentation they favour the preservation of the non yeast components with their relevant aromatic congeners.
Raw ingredients and process
• A rigorous selection of the best malted barleys.
• A very pure and soft water, drawn from a subsoil of thick granite beds
• A fermentation of prolonged duration, during the crucial step when the sugars from the malted barley are transformed into alcohol. The formation of aromatic congeners, which lie at the heart itself of the character of the future whisky and which is happening at the same time, can thus get enriched with further components which will add to the complexity.
• A distillation done without hurry : for an optimized “sorting” of the various aromatic components and a middle cut retaining only the best.
• Usage of casks of high quality, primarily Bourbon barrels which allow to obtain the best results, in particular thanks to their limited volume of 200 l.
• And last, and for the record, exceptional climatic conditions which are very favourable for the quality and speed of maturation.
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