In the 1950's Michel Couvreur, originally from Belgium, landed in Burgundy and made and marketed wine there. He took frequent trips to England and Scotland where he sold his wine, but was particularly drawn to Scotland for the fabulous fishing and hunting. Eventually he moved to England in 1956, then to Scotland in 1964 where he became involved in the production process of whisky - from the selection of the most ancient strains of cereals to employing extremely rare sherry casks. It became his dream to pursue the passion he had for making a unique Scotch Whisky. Unfortunately, times were changing in the whisky production and the old methods were being replaced by new cheaper ones. The old sherry casks traditionally used were replaced by steel or plastic. Michel decided to return to France in the 70's to be nearer to where the sherry casks originate and he dug his own cellar in the hillsides of Bouze-les-Beaune. Here, about midway between the Andalusian vineyards and the Scottish Highlands, Michel Couvreur matures his Whiskies in rare sherry casks (Pedro Ximenez and/or Palomino) to produce an exceptional whiskey.
What makes Michel Couvreur whiskies so special is the choice of barrels they have been selecting and that they continue to hunt down all over Europe: they keep a very special attention to the choice of barrel, spending a lot of time and money looking for the most unique barrels. What matter the most, as it represents 90% of the final quality, is what was in the barrel before and how much (meaning how long) it has impregnated the wood.
The aging of the whiskey in barrel is all about trying to get these impregnated flavors from the core of the barrel. The longer the PX or Vin Jaune has been in the barrel, the more intense and complex the whiskey will be. It requires more barrel aging for the whiskey to get to the center of the wood plank where the flavors might be hidden after 10-15 or more years of wine aging. According to Couvreur, it is one of the reason why their whiskey is so attractive to many wine drinkers as well.
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