Grape versus grain. Distilled in pot stills, aged in wooden barrels, limited in nature and unable to be replicated anywhere else in the world, Cognac shares many of Scotch whisky’s principal features. Both have been described as some of the most complex drinks in the world, and can be equally sought-after with some of the finest expressions of each regularly selling for thousands of pounds at auction.
Now these two ancient practices unite in the creation of Alfred GIRAUD, a new French single malt whisky. Although Alfred GIRAUD is a new kid on the block, it is steeped in almost a century of tradition in exquisite distilling.
Using the means at our disposal, we tried to develop a truly classic French whisky, reflecting the French elegance which could benefit from what we know in France in terms of aging and wood. That was really our goal.
Gaetan Mariolle, Alfred GIRAUD Deputy Master Blender
Founded in 2012 by Phillippe Giraud, Alfred GIRAUD is named after his great-grandfather, who was also Cellar Master at the renowned Rémy Martin Cognac house for over 30 years.Utilising their family’s expertise as coopers and cellar masters, the Giraud family are now translating this knowledge and blending expertise to French malt whisky. Philippe Giraud, who previously held commercial roles in William Grant & Sons for over nine years, set out to create a pioneering French malt whisky that could rival the best that Scotch and Japanese whisky have to offer whilst artfully combining the Giraud family’s cognac expertise and Philippe’s passion for whisky.
Their approach begins with the production of their own grain-to-glass malts from locally farmed barley harvested in France. The barley is then malted at the Malterie des Hautes Vosges (co-owned by the Giraud family), a revolutionary micro-malting facility in the heart of the French barley region which allows the family to customize the malting process to specific flavor requirements.
Produced at the historic Distillerie de Saint Palais in Cognac, Alfred Giraud French Malt Whisky employs a French approach to making whisky by applying methods most often seen in cognac production, including the use of fire-heated Charentais copper pot stills to undergo a double distillation process, a meticulous reduction process, and the restaving of casks.
The maturation of Alfred GIRAUD'S unique whisky is in casks that previously held old, rare cognac. With their own secret weapon, in the form of André Giraud, the family locate, sample, and select only the highest quality of individual casks. In addition to cognac casks, Alfred GIRAUD is aged in new French oak casks from the Giraud family forestry operation in Limousin as well as experiments with various French wine casks.
Alfred GIRAUD have anchored their portfolio with two limited production and award-winning whiskies, Harmonie and Heritage, each a blend of three French malt distillates aged in a variety of specially selected casks. It is this blending process that the Giraud family believe is their greatest asset, allowing them to create something to unite the whisky world but remain distinctly French.
Voyage was the first creation in their Exploratory Range, its inaugural release - limited to just one cask - was only available in France. It is a blend of two French single malts matured in French robinia and Sauternes casks, before marrying together for a final maturation period in cognac casks.
Bottle #190 of 420, available in Whisky Auctioneer's May Auction, is part of the inaugural release of Voyage, which was limited to just 429 bottles and released exclusively in France. This is the first time that a bottle has been available for global whisky enthusiasts to acquire, and Whisky Auctioneer is delighted to give you that opportunity through our May 2021 auction.