The ABCs of Spirits by Alexandre Vingtier: L for Lambig
If calvados is undeniably the most famous cider brandy (and perry) in France and even in the world, we must not forget the existence of his cousin and neighbor Lambig. His name would be a distortion of still and is sometimes also called gwinardant, literally “fiery wine” in Breton. If production appeared on the farms during the 17th century, its growth took place during 19th century, with orchards extending around offshore ports and workers: in Rance Valley (Dinan) and on the coasts of Emerald (Saint-Malo), Goëlo (Saint-Brieuc) and Pink granite (Lannion) along the Channel, on the Crozon peninsula south of Brest, surrounded by the Iroise Sea, on the coasts of Cornwall (Quimper) and megaliths (Lorient, Auray and Vannes) in the south, in the valley of the Vilaine (Redon) and its tributaries, in particular the West, and in Renne country to the East. As a farmer, the lambig became the brandy of the sailors and the urban popular class.
Technically, lambig is produced from at least 70% of phenolic apples which allow a slow fermentation promoting the aromatic development and 15% maximum of tart apples. It is distilled at least half in stills with a column, sometimes supplemented with iron distillation and must age 24 months minimum. Some qualities are remarkably aged but nothing will replace the sincerity and the demonstration of the Breton ancestral know-how of the better farm brandies!
Even if the travelling distillation permits to make live the ancestral drop, the production has been professionalized late, with the appearance of the first in the 1980s. From 1991, the trained chemist Gilles Leizour, owner of the now famous Warenghem distillery for its whiskeys, goes up with twenty producers the first file to hope for a first acknowledgement which comes in 1999 with the creation of the of Regulated Origin Denomination. The final consecration comes in 2015 with recognition in AOC, classifying lambig at the same level as calvados, cognac or armagnac. We find at his head the association of 17 Hermines with no less than 20 producers, distillers or traders, for an annual production of around 100,000 bottles.
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.