Because we are aware of the Altiligerian know-how and the artistic, artisanal, gastronomic and even industrial talents that populate our department of Haute-Loire, we wanted to share them, to reveal a little of their secrets and to make it known to the general public through Haute-Loire Know-How Route.

La Route des Savoir-Faire is more than 70 partners who open their doors to the public to show their company around, share their passion, or pass it on through courses and workshops for which they give a little of themselves. To make you want to take the Road with us, we went to meet 3 companies : Home Distillers in Polignac, the Atelier Art du Bijou in Langeac and the Distillerie Saint-Hilaire. And we sent you along in our suitcases…

A company visit to the Distillerie des Bughes – Home Distillers

A company visit to the Distillerie des Bughes – Home Distillers in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

Marion and Bérenger Mayoux created the first Haute-Loire whiskey. Today based in Polignac, at the Distillerie des Bughes, they offer:

  • guided and commented tours of their distillery to understand everything about whiskey making.
  • tastings, because like wine, spirits can be tasted, and it’s a skill…
  • a shop with their flagship products, made in Polignac (gin, whiskey, verbena, etc.) or only aged on site (rum, etc.)

We followed the couple on a tour of the place and we learned so much about whiskey that we didn't know...

“Whiskey is beer that is distilled and aged. » We immediately get into the swing of things with Bérenger who has the art and way of telling whiskey stories.

1. Malting

“The first operations are identical to that of brewing beer. We can malt all cereals: wheat, barley, rye… In other words, we germinate them. Here it is barley malt which is mixed with water. One of the easiest cereals to use, especially because it grows well here. During malting the grain creates enzymes which will come into action at a certain temperature. They are the ones that transform the starch that is naturally in the grain into sugar. Because without sugar, no alcohol! » It takes about half a day for the transformation to take place...

Guided and commented tours Home Distillers in Haute-Loire, Auvergne
2. Fermentation

“It’s thanks to it that we transform sugar into alcohol. We use mushrooms that look like baker's yeast. They will act like scissors and cut the sugar which is a carbon chain into small pieces: on one side alcohol and on the other CO2. This is where the paths to making beer and whiskey separate…” It takes a week for this second stage.

3. Distillation

With its copper stills, it is one of the most impressive stops of the visit…

“There is one that is a little bigger than the others… A still from 1965 which was used to make cognac. We bought it from a farmer and my dad helped us fix it up. Today, it is our main work tool. But we continue to use our small stills on more specific series: verbena liqueur, gin, as well as small series of whiskey from time to time. »

Home Distillers distillation in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

“But the principle is the same: we put a weakly alcoholic drink in the tank, here a brew, which we heat. Alcohol vapors escape and are condensed as they pass through the cold water coil. Then the alcohol comes out as liquid through the tap. »

For a good 70% alcohol, good tasting and ready for aging, it will take two passes through the copper still. “It's a little slow, but it will allow us to select our alcohols and choose the aromatic profile of the whiskeys we want. »

4. Aging

See you in the chai where Bérenger and Marion store their oak barrels. “We call it a chai, like wine! » Moreover, many barrels are old Bordeaux barrels.

Before aging, whiskey is clear as water!

Before aging, whiskey is completely transparent... Translucent, like water. You can clearly feel the difference by the smell! “Something clear, that we will be able to put in barrels. But whiskey means “water of life”. A few hundred years ago, that was whiskey! It is the storage, the coloring of the wood of the barrels and the trade which transformed the drink... Today, it is necessarily necessary 3 years of aging minimum to have the appellation of whiskey. »

Aging of Home Distillers whiskey in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

Besides, a barrel is not completely waterproof. It has a certain porosity and therefore an exchange with the outside: we are talking about micro oxygenation. “We will thus lose 4 and 5% of the barrel every year, this is what we call " the part of the angels ". Poetic isn't it?

3 tips for a good whiskey tasting

Tips for a good whiskey tasting - Distillerie des Bughes in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

On the tasting program: one peated and one non-peated whiskey. They have nothing to do with each other. The unpeated at 46° is rather powerful in terms of its alcohol content, but soft on the palate... As for the lightly peated, we have more earthy and smoky notes. Strong on the nose, it is nevertheless a little less alcoholic: 40°. Let's go !

First, we use our sense of smell ! And we always feel in two stages to clearly identify the aromas. Then, we taste! Also in two stages and you don't swallow right away! We rotate on the tongue. “The Scots say chew a whiskey. We still balance 46° on the palate, so the mouth must have time to get used to it..."

The Wheel of Whiskey Aromas - Distillerie des Bughes in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

And then, it's up to you to determine the flavors you perceive! To help you, there is “a wheel of aromas”. So rather licorice, vanilla, woody, spicy, nuts, floral, peppery, red fruits…? Up to you !

2 Route des Estreys
43000 Espaly-Saint-Marcel
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(*) Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health, consume in moderation.

6 questions to Esther Frach, jeweler in Langeac

6 questions to Esther Frach, jeweler in Langeac in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

Who are you ?

I am Esther Frach, I am 33 years old and I live in Langeac.

What is your job ?

Jeweler and I am also an engraver. Chiseling is a jewelry specialty.

Are you sources of inspiration?

Nature. Everything she displays in terms of shapes, colors, materials... Plant patterns, minerals, the materials found at our feet, flowers, trees, animals...

What are your favorite subjects?

My training courses are very accessible on metal: precious and non-precious metals. And I was also interested in stones, semi-precious or precious. And besides, I also cut stone as an amateur.

Sources of inspiration for Esther Frach, jeweler in Langeac in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

A childhood vocation?

I wanted an artistic career. So I consider that I succeeded… But jewelry came later. Basically, I read a lot of comics and I dreamed of making a living drawing, of being an illustrator. Ultimately this is more or less the case in my current profession… In the arts profession it is rather essential to materialize what is going through our minds. Drawing is one of the techniques that I must master.

How do we get into jewelry?

When I decided to make it my career, I found an art school in Paris: the Boulle school (higher school of applied arts in the 12e district), where among all the trades taught there was: jewelry. And that’s how I fell into the cliché of the girl who makes jewelry! (laugh)

Farm. Opens Thursday
11 bis rue saint pierre de chavanon
43300 Langeac
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“We tested for you” a workshop at the Distillerie Saint-Hilaire

We have tested a workshop for you at the Distillerie Saint-Hilaire in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

To end the day, we played alchemists at the Saint-Hilaire Distillery which opens its doors not only to company visits, but also to training or even accessible and fun aromatherapy and gemmotherapy workshops, on various themes: care, beauty, relaxation, well-being, etc.

For us, the Distillerie Saint-Hilaire hit the mark on this long day of filming, with a well-being and relaxation workshop. So well deserved! During which we achieved a relaxing roll-on based on Jojoba oil, essential oils of petitgrain bitter orange, Roman chamomile and true lavender.

And in fact, contrary to our fears, you don't need to have done Math'Sup to make a roll-on, especially when you are well guided. You just need to know how to count to 15: the maximum number of drops to add for each essential oil in the mixture of the day. In short, real child's play! And we even leave with some gifts and our creation.

“How is it used? » You can roll it on the inside of your wrist and breathe in the sweet scent of essential oils to end the day feeling more peaceful.

There is no shortage of workshop possibilities at the Distillerie Saint-Hilaire…:

  • " I take care of myself " : skin and hair, how does it work? Then creation of an aloe-vera treatment, a cream, a hair spray and a massage oil
  • “My emergency kit”: discover the use of essential oils and vegetable oils for the whole family then create an anti-insect roll-on.

There even exists slightly more in-depth training over one day aromatherapy, gemmotherapy and Bach Flowers. It's up to you to choose your formula. Their program, which is renewed regularly, is available on their website. Online registrations.

A minimum of 5 people is required to maintain the workshops.

Training at the Saint-Hilaire Distillery in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

The Saint-Hilaire Distillery in 3 words: sustainable, organic and local

It has been more than 30 years since the Saint-Hilaire Distillery chose to settle in the heart of Auvergne, in this small Altiligrian village of Natural Park Livradois. A preserved site where around a hundred different plants grown by local producers grow: lavender, St. John's wort, cornflower, lemon balm, meadowsweet, peppermint... A prolific nature, which is a source of inspiration for the Distillerie Saint-Hilaire, producer of passionate and exciting essential oil, for its visitors. Saint-Hilaire thus acquired 7 hectares of land in Auvergne to cultivate plants which it transforms into essential oils, hydrosols and vegetable oils. Their specificity? Master the production chain from picking or cultivation to the finished product : roll-on, creams, natural cosmetics, balms, essential oils... which are 100% pure and natural.


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