We’re talking about whisky today. And this is a story that takes us not only to Scotland, but also to Burgundy, more specifically to Bouze-lès-Beaune. At the heart of this illustrious viticultural region, Maison Michel Couvreur matures its Scotch whisky. In the depths of caves carved out of 150 metres of rock, the art of maturation has come into its own. Mastered by this maison, these are spirits coveted for their balance and elegance. A beautiful and innovative introduction to the world of whisky.
A bridge between Scotland and Burgundy
Michel Couvreur had many feathers in his cap: a producer and wine merchant from 1951 to 1978, he also set off to Scotland in the 60s to pursue an interest in whisky. This is where he had his light-bulb moment, deciding to build his own kind of bridge between Scotland and his native Burgundy, so that these products could be refined in the cellars of Bouze-lès-Beaune. For Michel, maturation was the part of the process most essential to the end result; “90% of a whisky’s quality comes from the cask, and only 10% from the distillation”. It’s easy to understand why this is a man known for his whisky matured in casks already used for sherry, port, and even vin jaune. We should also note an important detail: the label doesn’t give away the name of the distillery where the whisky began its life, as this is kept a secret. Information about maturing and refining are, however, more exhaustive. As is always good for the promotion of artisanal whisky, Maison Couvreur has forged a top reputation for itself, as well as a distinctive identity. In this case, it is the Burgundy touch that confers its unique character to Couvreur whisky. In 2013, Michel Couvreur passed away at the age of 85, leaving his son-in-law Cyril Deschamps to take his place, supported by Jean-Arnaud Frantzen. Michel’s wife, Marthe, and their daughter Alexandra also play their role in passing down the skills of this art.
“In Burgundy, refining becomes an art”
In the furthest depths of Maison Couvreur’s cellars, 150 metres of tunnels dug into the heart of the rock, racks upon racks of whisky lie silently in wait. Two of the key elements here are humidity ideal for maturation and a meticulous choice of casks. Each cuvée is assigned a specific blend of casks, with each one followed individually. The bottles are alternated between dry and humid places, allowing for the whisky to develop a more powerful and harmonious profile. Tended to with such attention, these whiskies develop their “Couvreur qualities”, with a nobility in their aromas and a good strength. This is a Maison always seeking new ideas, with their most recent innovations involving maturation in amphora containers. With a broad range, you’ll find classics alongside improbable little gems, and they are all just waiting to be discovered!