The Return of Michel Couvreur

In the single malt whisky world, sherry-aged Scotch is currently king. The richer, darker, and denser the sherry flavor, the more people go crazy for it. Whisky aficionados have become so savvy about sherry they now want to know how many times the sherry barrels have been used—was the barrel a first-fill or second-fill?—as a way to gauge just how intense the flavor might be. But before sherry-aged Scotch was all the rage and people began calling whiskies "sherry bombs," there was a Belgian man named Michel Couvreur who also loved sherry-aged Scotch whisky. In fact, he loved it so much that he started contracting his own resources from Scotland. Decidedly unimpressed with the sherry barrels available in Scotland, however, Michel decided to drive down to Spain and seek out his own casks—the freshest, wettest, most saturated vessels he could find. He then transfered the Scotch whisky into these barrels, laid them down to rest in his gigantic underground cellar, and blended those liquids to perfection once they were ready. The results were strikingly different than your standard Scottish malt. The whiskies were more delicate, silkier, softer, and rounder on the palate. They were rich and intricate, entirely about the inherent flavors of the cask. The whisky was more of a conduit. The first time we tried Michel Couvreur's whiskies back in 2007, we knew they were something very special. In the world of sherry-aged Scotch, Michel Couvreur is king.

Michel Couvreur did not live in Belgium, however. He lived in Burgundy, right in the middle of pinot noir country. His cool, cavernous wine cellar was not lined with Corton or Savigny-les-Beaune, it was filled with sherry butts and hogsheads. Not just any normal sherry barrels, mind you, but specifically older ones. As Michel's son-in-law Jean-Arnaud told us during our visit back in 2014, "We prefer to use those in which the sherry has sat for thirty or forty years." Saturated sherry butts; deeply penetrated by the sweet and supple elixir of Jerez. 

We've got a new batch of our amazing K&L exclusive peated overaged back in stock, this time cheaper than before (thanks a more direct path) and even fruitier. For those who were unable to splurge on the Compass Box "5th & Harrison" last week, this is like a baby version of that. David OG, who visited again with Jean-Arnaud last year, also worked out a deal for custom batch of Couvreur's most decadent "Blossoming Auld Sherried," a whisky so rich and concentrated with sherry it practically oozes over your palate. We threw a few other fun expressions onto the shipment as well, so check the website for other selections.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll