French whiskey is having a bit of a moment. There’s a number of varieties of French whiskey that have come out over the last couple years and Bellevoye is positioning itself as the premium brand. So we treid it for ourselves to see how it fares compared to some of the competition.
Founded in 2013 by Alexandre Sirech and Jean Moueix, Les Bienheureux (“the blessed”) is a company formed just as French whiskey was emerging on the market. The two founders envisioned a world where French Whiskey was seen with the same reverence as Champagne or other regional drinks — instead of a novelty. They wanted to establish a luxury brand of French whiskey.
The company initially started producing a line of rum, specifically their Embargo and El Pasador de Oro brands, have been widely distributed and seen some success, and the Bellevoye brand of whiskey has only just become available after aging.
Bellevoye is a blended whiskey that combines the product of three undisclosed distilleries from different regions of France (Lile, Alsace, and Cognac) into a finished product.
The individual whiskies all start as a fermented mash of malted barley. From there, they are distilled and aged at the respective distilleries for a period of between three and eight years in oak casks. Once properly aged, they are combined at the Bienheureux production facility in Cognac and further aged together for an additional ten months.
Typically, we test spirits in four phases: neat, on ice, and in a few cocktails (usually one standard and one carbonated / fizzy) — but our exception to this rule is scotch single malt whisky. These last two phases really aren’t helpful for differentiating between a good scotch and a bad scotch, because the results are nearly identical no matter what. And since this malt whiskey is made in roughly the same fashion as a scotch, we’re also going to skip those two phases in our testing.
Bellevoye was designed to be a luxury brand of French whisky and the packaging certainly conveys that impression.
The bottle itself is elegantly styled, almost like a cut diamond. It reminds me of old perfume bottles. The body is square with clipped edges, featuring a thick glass base which should light up nicely on a bar with under-bottle lighting. The body is slightly wider on the top with a sharp shoulder that tapers to a short neck. The whole package is topped with a wood and cork stopper.
I do like the labeling on this bottle. There are two labels affixed to the front and rear aspects of the bottle that cover nearly the whole surface, but they don’t extend past the clipped edge and leave plenty of room to see the amber colored spirit inside. The labels are a solid color with an understated and minimalist design which adds to the impression of luxury.
The spirit is a beautiful golden color in the glass, and smells like pure honey. It’s sweet and light with a little bit of oaky wood in the background from the barrels.
It’s a little on the light side in terms of weight, which should be expected for a 40% ABV alcohol. There’s no bite or bitterness, just a smooth and delicious feeling.
The flavor is subtle, not very bold. There’s some gentle caramel with oak flavors, and maybe even some grapes which ties in well with the wine making history of the country. There’s a bit of peppery spice on the finish, but again not too much to be a nuisance.
After the ice cubes drop, the nose of the spirit morphs from pure honey to more of a sweet caramel flavor. There’s still little to no vanilla, but the caramel is delicious.
As for the actual flavor of the whiskey, it hasn’t changed — but it is a little bit thinner than when it started. The flavors were light and subtle to start and with the slight dilution it’s even lighter. There’s still some flavor there, but not quite enough to make it worthwhile to me.
It’s a French whiskey in every way. Elegant, refined, and understated. It’s not as bold and ostentatious as the American spirits, not as earthy as the Scottish versions. It’s on its own path, but it falls into the same problem that other blended whiskies experience: mediocrity. There’s nothing that stands out, it’s just a good sippable whiskey that happens to be from France.
Bellevoye Bleu Triple Malt Whisky
Owner: Les Bienheureux
Classification: Blended Whiskey
Grain bill: 100% malted barley
Aging: 4 to 8 years + 10 months combined
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $34.99/ 750ml
Overall Rating: 3/5
It’s good, and it’s worth the money, but there’s nothing to write home about.