Whisky Live Paris Review

Updated with photos. As you know, I’m often enjoying a tipple while streaming, and those who are curious know that I like smoky, peated whiskeys. The adjective is often misused and swapped around, but essentially it’s the reminiscence of pulling hard on a cigarette intertwined with the nostalgia of sucking on a lollipop. Some people like to double down with a cigar but I’ve quit smoking and peated whiskey is the only vice I have left. Talking to the many stand owners and attendants, demand for peated whiskey is increasing but is also simply a trend. Either way, I focused on this during my visit to Whisky Live Paris 2022.


The stand had the 10 and 12 offerings plus the smoky variants, which I’ve already tried, the smoky 12 being very nice, with a mix of fruit and (surprising) rum flavours running over the palate, while the 10 is a bit too soft for my tastes. The 12 would be my usual but I need more smoke.

Most visitors had their eye on the 25 year old (the bottle, you perverts) and it was definitely something that made the ticket price worth it. At first taste, the Benriach 25 seems to lack any punch, that’s because it’s not peated! I was quite disappointed but on the second taste the sweet fruit began to come through. It’s a very pleasant experience (score 3*), although I can’t say I would jump on a bottle, at the average price of £350!

Then I noticed they had a bottle of Smoke season, ok now we’re talking big smoke hitting you hard and making you wince! Wheeee it’s really good stuff and not as sweet as Ardberg An oa, so that can give you a good marker. It’s at a similar price range so I’ll be picking up a bottle of this for sure.


Porte charlotte Islay barley 2013 was niiice…  but lacking in something (score 3*)


Nagahama bourbon cask…. wow it’s actually, as the description states, heavy peated (rated 5*). It’s the first time I’ve had a shock from a Japanese whiskey, and a very very pleasant one. Most Japanese whiskeys are soft, delicate and sweet. The Nagahama greets you with a polite bow of sweetness and then swings a smoking uppercut out of nowhere, and then gives you a massage with the aftertaste of sweetness again. It’s incredible, and being the smallest distillery in Japan, I have to tip my hat to them for this gamble. While the bigger distilleries (Nikka etc) had major space on the main floor, the Nagahama crew had a tiny stand on the edges. It was certainly a jewel in the rough. While I would jump all over this whiskey, the price of around 250€ means I’ll have to try and find it in duty free or when I actually visit Japan …

Their Sautern cask is ok 3*
Their Amala brand is not so great 2*

Ardberg, Laphroaig and Bunnabhain

iirc, had nothing interesting at their stands to show off. Laphroaig in particular just seemed lazy, dishing out ONLY the classic 10, with a bottle of their CÀIRDEAS just sitting there, with an attendant who just looked at you and said nothing.


Even the barman there agreed Kadhambam is hard to beat, but there’s a 198 bottle edition which is 10% stronger to let the flavours out, didn’t really feel it but it’s good for sure. Sautern cask, (I’m seeing this a lot) carries the sweetness. Second wind wtf there’s the boom of flavours, a little oily on the tongue as I like, and it’s strong, holy shit that’s great but still not beating Kadhambam. 4*


Quick shout outs to the distillers who tried using calvados casks. It’s a very smooth, pleasant drink. But much like rum that has been matured in bourbon casks, you wonder why you’re not drinking a bottle of one or the other.  It’s certainly a novelty and who knows, it could take off. Just not for me.

La Brueil

I was told by the one of the producers there that while he likes peaty whiskey, his friends told him it was too strong so he made an accessible peat level to get people into it. The company seems very young but very determined and I wish them well.


They had a nice sherried cask, I hope to see some developments there, and that summarises my experience with many of the French whiskeys, they are still young, and developing their mastery of the tastes. Obviously, the process can’t be finalised over night, but some things have already been put into motion so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the French scene.


I had already bought a few French peated bottles, one of them being Armorik’s YuenElez, which uses Scottish barley. It was nice but not punchy enough for me. At the show, I told them exactly that and was introduced to a limited run of YuenElez ( 666 bottles only lol ) which was more to my tastes, but not quite enough. They’re certainly getting there! 3.5*, keep an eye on them, as it’s surely going to be affordable too.

So, in the end, a great experience, and recommended, there was water and bread freely available to keep you from going over the edge, although it was clearly too much for some visitors.  Avoid the usual and go for the unknown bottles, and you’ll have a great time at Whisky Live events.  Got a free book on whiskeys too, making for great value in the ticket price.

Ratings are based on my own opinion and taste, I like smoky/peated/ sweet whiskeys- at time of writing.

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