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Luxembourg distilled in a glass
Culture & Life

Luxembourg distilled in a glass

2 min. 10.06.2014 From our online archive
Luxembourg is well known for its wines and brandies, but did you know there is also a distillery making Luxembourg whisky?
21.03.14 Reportage Whisky-Brennen,Camille et Mariette Duhr,Foto:Gerry Huberty
21.03.14 Reportage Whisky-Brennen,Camille et Mariette Duhr,Foto:Gerry Huberty
21.03.14 Reportage Whisky-Brennen,Camille et Mariette Duhr,Foto:Gerry Huberty

Luxembourg is well known for its wines and brandies, but did you know there is also a distillery making Luxembourg whisky?

The “Diedenacker Distillerie” nestled in the Moselle valley on Luxembourg's border with Germany has been producing “eau de vie” or brandy for six generations.

That was until 2005, when it began diversifying, producing Luxembourg's first ever whisky. The first experimental batch, which hit the market in 2010, proved a roaring success and since then distillery owners Mariette and Camille Duhr-Merges have seen sales flow.

“Yes, I was surprised by the response. Even today we're still surprised. We didn't know that in Luxembourg there are so many whisky drinkers,” Mariette told wort.lu/en, adding: “We weren't whisky fans at all.”

The experiment began in 2005 when Camille and his father, Nicolas, now 80, decided to diversify and began distilling whisky using rye, a local product, and malt. To have the right to call the product “whisky”, it must be stored in wooden barrels for at least three years and barrel size must not exceed 700 litres.

The family began distilling a single 225 litre barrel. But, things did not go to plan. After tasting the contents in 2008, they decided it was not quite the quality they were seeking. They forgot about the barrel and had a pleasant surprise when they returned two years later. “We're not at all used to drinking whisky but we have some friends who are whisky buffs and they said it was really nice.”

Whisky Bible 90.5 out of 100 score

After an article appeared in the national press, the entire batch sold within hours. Fortunately, the family had the foresight to distil a barrel every year since 2005 and so were able to bring out a new product each year. And, not only did the products sell, but they are attracting international acclaim. International whisky connoisseur Jim Murray gave their first batch 90.5 points out of 100 in his 2013 Whisky Bible, congratulating the distillery, adding in his review: “What a way for Luxembourg to become a whisky nation!”

Mariette explained with pride that while the Diedenacker whisky was perhaps not comparable to Scottish whiskies, for example, it had a Luxembourgish character and origin all of its own. Indeed, the rye is locally source, the water used for distilling comes from the village well and even the barrels used are Luxembourg white wine barrels.

So, after such a success, does the distillery plan to expand its production? Even if it wanted to, Luxembourg law limits distilleries from producing more than 2,000 litres of alcohol per year. With its already successful range of 23 brandies, the distillery is at capacity. But, that does not mean that its whisky adventure will be short-lived.

“The whisky is here to stay. It's a part of us now. And people identify us with the whisky,” said Mariette.

Furthermore, the family plan to expand their facilities to create a show distillery to welcome tourists in the future. The Diedenacker whisky can be purchased from a number of small shops in Luxembourg.

Find out more on diedenacker.lu or letzgolocal.lu

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