Armorik 2014 157.1 SMWS

Despite the burgeoning French whisky scene and the significant strides made by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in diversifying beyond the confines of ‘Scotch’ whisky, it wasn’t until 2023 that they ventured into bottling a French whisky. This trend isn’t unique to SMWS; a cursory glance at Whiskybase reveals a scant number of independent bottlers featuring products from Warenghem Distillery. This underrepresentation is regrettable, given my experience with over 40 whiskies tried from Warenghem, many of which were very good, and sometimes just properly exquisite though sadly elusive. Turning to SMWS and their foray into French whisky, it’s notable that their debut choice was Warenghem, renowned for their Armorik single malt. Let’s delve into the Armorik 2014 157.1 SMWS, marking a significant milestone as the first French whisky featured by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Armorik 2014 157.1 SWMS Review

Distilled at Warenghem Distillery on August 31, 2014, this Armorik underwent an eight-year maturation period in a first-fill ex-oloroso sherry butt before being bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society last year. From this cask, 622 bottles of the Armorik 2014, numbered 157.1 and christened ‘Toasty, Roasty and Oaky’ by the creatively inclined SMWS, were produced. This particular release was featured in the November 2023 outturn, priced at €122/£95, and remains available for purchase on both the EU and UK SMWS websites.

Armorik 2014 157.1 SMWS


Polished mahogany


Neat: The aroma presents notes of tarte tatin subtly infused with cinnamon, accompanied by slices of candied ginger and hints of IPA beer. Wood spices intermingle with the scent of pomelo and melon paired with cured ham. Dried fruits such as prunes, dried apricots, and figs bring a sweet and fruity layer.

With water: The addition of water brings forth nuances of peach-flavoured yogurt and a delicate hint of strawberry soup. Undertones of grist and draff emerge alongside the faint scent of a dusty leather armchair.


Neat: The palate initially presents a spicy kick, accompanied by a dense and oily mouthfeel. Abundant spices, hints of wood, and a touch of prickly candy dominate the forefront, followed by subtle notes reminiscent of slightly burnt French toast, clove, nutmeg, and the essence of a cigar box filled with dried tobacco leaves.

With water: Dilution causes a slight delay in the emergence of spice upon each sip. Otherwise, the flavour profile remains largely unchanged, with perhaps a light increase in sweetness discernible.


The finish leaves a lasting impression of lingering spices and wood, complemented by notes of espresso, cocoa powder, and a subtle hint of black pepper.


Categorised by the SMWS as ‘Deep, rich, and dried fruits’, I initially thought upon trying it for the first time that it would fit better in the spicy and dry or spicy and sweet categories. However, this thought came during the launch event of this bottling at Warenghem Distillery, after indulging in a few official drams. I had already placed an order before tasting it, driven by the anticipation of experiencing the first French whisky bottled by the SMWS, especially from a distillery I hold in high regard (though I must acknowledge my own potential bias!). Now, having sampled it at home, under my usual conditions, with my preferred glassware, it’s evident that the SMWS categorisation is spot on. This whisky is undeniably very good, prompting thoughts of acquiring a second bottle – not because I anticipate depleting the first one swiftly, but rather for its symbolic significance. It’s a shame that it’s priced a tad higher than I’d prefer; ideally, it would have been priced around €100–110 in Europe.

Rating: 7.5/10

Photos: all me for once!

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