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The Renaissance of French Whiskies: Ninkasi Fabriques and the Ninalys Single Malt

by Thomas Rosalia | November 27, 2023

In the world of spirits, Scotch whisky and bourbon have long held the spotlight, but in recent years, an unexpected contender has emerged – French whiskies. The rise of French whiskies is captivating connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike, and among the distilleries leading this revolution is Ninkasi Fabriques, renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship and innovative approach. One standout expression from Ninkasi Fabriques is the Ninalys Single Malt, a whisky that defies tradition by maturing in French Chardonnay oak barrels.

The Origins of French Whiskies:

Historically, France has been celebrated for its wine and cognac production, but the country’s whisky scene is relatively new compared to its counterparts in Scotland and Ireland. However, French distillers have embraced the challenge, leveraging the nation’s rich winemaking heritage and diverse terroir to create whiskies with unique characteristics.

Ninkasi Fabriques: A Distillery Redefining Tradition

Ninkasi Fabriques, a brewery and distillery based in Lyon, France, has been at the forefront of this French whisky renaissance. Known for its exceptional craft beers, Ninkasi ventured into the world of spirits with a commitment to quality and innovation. The Ninkasi Fabriques distillery, an extension of the renowned Ninkasi brewery, seamlessly blends traditional techniques with a modern, experimental spirit.

Ninalys Single Malt: A Whisky Aged in French Chardonnay Oak Barrels

One of Ninkasi Fabriques’ standout creations is the Ninalys Single Malt, a whisky that challenges preconceived notions with its unconventional aging process. Unlike traditional whisky casks made from American or European oak, the Ninalys Single Malt undergoes maturation in French Chardonnay oak barrels. This unique choice imparts distinctive flavor profiles to the whisky, setting it apart from its more established counterparts.

The Influence of French Chardonnay Oak Barrels:

The decision to age the Ninalys Single Malt in French Chardonnay oak barrels is a deliberate nod to the rich viticultural heritage of France. Chardonnay, a versatile grape variety, is celebrated for its expression in white wines. The barrels, having previously housed Chardonnay, infuse the whisky with nuanced notes of orchard fruits, citrus, and a subtle underlying sweetness.

Ninkasi Fabriques’ commitment to terroir is evident in the Ninalys Single Malt, as the whisky absorbs the characteristics of the French soil and climate, creating a truly unique and authentic expression.

The Global Impact:

As French whiskies gain recognition on the global stage, expressions like the Ninalys Single Malt exemplify the innovation and dedication of French distillers. The incorporation of local ingredients and a commitment to quality craftsmanship position these whiskies as contenders in the ever-expanding world of premium spirits.


The rise of French whiskies, propelled by distilleries like Ninkasi Fabriques, signifies a shift in the traditional whisky landscape. The Ninalys Single Malt, with its bold choice of French Chardonnay oak barrels, exemplifies the spirit of experimentation and innovation that defines the French approach to whisky production. As the global appreciation for these distinctive spirits grows, French whiskies are poised to make an indelible mark on the world of fine spirits, challenging the dominance of more established whisky-producing regions.

Ninkasi Fabriques, a pioneering Lyon-based distillery, leads the French whisky renaissance with its innovative Ninalys Single Malt. Aged in French Chardonnay oak barrels, this unconventional choice imparts nuanced flavors of orchard fruits and citrus. Ninkasi Fabriques blends tradition with experimentation, showcasing France’s rich viticultural heritage. As French whiskies gain global acclaim, the Ninalys Single Malt exemplifies the industry’s commitment to innovation and quality craftsmanship, challenging traditional whisky norms and establishing France as a formidable player in the premium spirits landscape.