Des Menhirs

Des Menhirs Distillery

  • France
  • 2020 EDDU Silver Buckwheat Whiskey, Silver Medal at the 2022 World Whiskies Awards
Phone Number
  • +33298942368
  • 7 Hent Sant-Philibert, 29700 Plomelin, France

Rustic building with flag and sculpture outside.

History of Distillerie des Menhirs

The Distillerie des Menhirs, founded by Guy Le Lay in 1986, has a rich history deeply rooted in the traditions and culture of Brittany, France. 

Located in the mystical valley of Pont-Menhir in Plomelin, the distillery’s story intertwines with the region’s heritage, marked by ancient menhirs and remnants of Roman amphorae.

The distillery’s journey began in 1921 when the Le Lay family purchased a used still for cider distillation, producing the traditional Breton spirit, lambig. Over generations, this practice was honed and passed down, with Plomelin becoming known as the Breton capital of lambig. 

The original stills used by the first three generations of the Le Lay family are still proudly displayed in the distillery.

In 1986, Guy Le Lay, leaving his career as a mathematics teacher, founded the Distillerie des Menhirs. That same year, he launched the first Pommeau de Bretagne, a product that continues to be highly regarded, winning the Prix d’Excellence in 2019 and 2020. 

In 1989, Guy introduced the first Lambig de Bretagne to the market, firmly establishing the distillery’s reputation for quality spirits.

The distillery’s innovative spirit was further demonstrated in 1996 when Guy embarked on a new venture to create a unique buckwheat whisky, EDDU.

After extensive research and collaboration with a spirits expert, EDDU Silver was launched in 2002, receiving acclaim for its distinctiveness and quality.

Present State of Distillerie des Menhirs

Today, the distillery is managed by Guy’s three sons, Erwan, Kévin, and Loig, who represent the fifth generation of the Le Lay family. They continue to uphold the family’s legacy while introducing new products and innovations. 

The distillery has diversified its offerings, creating a new whisky brand, ED GWENN, and playing a pivotal role in establishing the Geographical Identification of Breton Whisky in 2015. Additionally, they have expanded internationally and built a new cellar in 2020.

The Distillerie des Menhirs, with its deep connection to Breton culture and history, offers a unique range of spirits, including the renowned Pommeau de Bretagne, Lambig de Bretagne, and innovative buckwheat whiskies like EDDU and ED GWENN. 

This family-run distillery embodies the spirit of innovation while staying true to its roots in the mystical land of Brittany.

Whiskey Making Process at Distillerie des Menhirs

The Distillerie des Menhirs, renowned for creating the world’s first buckwheat whisky, employs a unique and artisanal approach to whisky preparation and distillation. The process begins with the mastery of an unusual primary ingredient: buckwheat. 

Despite its lower agricultural yield and alcohol production compared to barley, buckwheat was chosen for its exceptional aromatic strength.

Distillation Process

The distillation process is carried out in two traditional 25 hl stills, combining elements of Scottish pot stills and Cognac stills. The still consists of a copper boiler integrated into a support, topped with a cone-shaped cap and a swan-neck leading to a condenser. 

Distillation occurs in two stages: the first distillation boils the fermented buckwheat wash, producing vapors that condense into a distillate of 25-28% alcohol by volume.

The second distillation, known as the “good heat,” refines the product by removing the heads and tails, leaving only the heart of the run, a clear and fragrant whisky at 70% alcohol by volume.

Unlike modern practices using steam-heated stills, the Distillerie des Menhirs employs direct fire heating, a more challenging technique that imparts unparalleled cooking aromas to the whisky.

Ageing Process

After distillation, the whisky is aged in French oak barrels. These barrels are not just storage vessels; they gradually impart their aromas, flavors, and color to the whisky. 

The distillery primarily uses barrels that previously contained Cognac, new barrels from the mythical Brocéliande forest and its surroundings, barrels that held Porto or Burgundy wine, and a few exceptional barrels from the Vicard cooperage.

Maturation Process

The maturation process in Brittany benefits from the region’s climate, similar in humidity to Scotland and Ireland but with milder temperatures, which favourably influences the ageing process. 

During maturation, the distillery practices slow dilution, gradually adding demineralized spring water to achieve the desired alcohol content. 

Finally, the master blender, Kévin Le Lay, creates blends from the best characteristics of each whisky batch, followed by a final dilution before bottling at the distillery.

This meticulous and traditional approach to whisky making, combined with the unique choice of buckwheat and the influence of the Breton climate, results in distinctive and high-quality whiskies from the Distillerie des Menhirs.


Awards Won by Distillerie des Menhirs

EDDU Silver Buckwheat Whiskey

  • Award: Silver Medal at the World Whisky Awards.
  • Age: 5 years in French ex-Cognac casks.
  • Flavor Profile: Nutty and earthy with notes of caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and toasted oak.
  • Special Mention: In 2020, it scored a Bronze Medal at the World Whiskies Awards, with judges highlighting its buckwheat overtones​​​​.

EDDU Gold Buckwheat Whiskey

  • Award: Silver Medal at the 2022 World Whiskies Awards.
  • Age: 10 years in French Limousin oak.
  • Flavor Profile: Nutty and earthy with hints of caramel, honey, and toasted nuts.
  • Recommended Pairing: Great with dry ewe cheese like Manchego​​

Distillerie des Menhirs’ Overall Achievements

  • Recognition: Most awarded Breton company for the quality of its spirits at the Concours Général Agricole de Paris.
  • Specialty: Producing the world’s only buckwheat whiskey, offering a unique tasting experience​

Distillerie des Menhirs Tour Information and Experience

The Distillerie des Menhirs offers an engaging and informative tour experience for visitors interested in exploring the world of traditional Breton spirits. 

Located in Plomelin, just a short distance from Quimper, the distillery is easily accessible and situated near iconic menhirs, adding to the cultural richness of the visit.

Tour Details

Guided Tours with Tasting: From October to June, guided tours are available by appointment. During the summer months of July and August, as well as in September, guided tours are offered without the need for an appointment.

The tours include a tasting session, allowing visitors to sample the distillery’s unique products.

Tour Schedule

  • July and August: Monday to Thursday at 10:30 AM, 3:00 PM, and 4:30 PM; Friday at 10:30 AM and 3:00 PM.
  • September: Monday to Friday at 10:30 AM and 3:00 PM.
  • English tours are available on specific days in July, August, and September.

Tour Pricing

  • Individuals: Free tour with tasting.
  • Groups: A nominal fee of 3€ per person.


Tours are conducted in both French and English, catering to a diverse range of visitors.


The distillery’s boutique is open year-round, where the passionate team introduces visitors to their range of products, including free tastings.

The boutique operates from Monday to Thursday (8:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM), Friday (8:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM), and Saturday (10:00 AM – 12:00 PM).


The distillery is conveniently located near Quimper, Bénodet, Fouesnant, and Douarnenez, making it an accessible destination for tourists in the region.

Awards and Recognition

The Distillerie des Menhirs has been recognized for its excellence, as evidenced by accolades from TripAdvisor and recommendations from guides like Le Routard and Le Petit Futé.

Flask & Barrel Review of Distillerie des Menhirs

As a dedicated whiskey collector who’s been on countless distillery tours, I recently visited Distillerie des Menhirs and I’m giving it a strong 4.7 out of 5. Here’s my take:

The first thing that struck me about Distillerie des Menhirs was its unique approach to whiskey-making. Their use of buckwheat for the EDDU range is a real game-changer. It’s not every day you come across a whiskey that’s not just different, but also top-notch in quality.

The EDDU Silver, with its five-year aging in French ex-Cognac casks, offered a unique, earthy flavor that’s hard to find elsewhere.

The EDDU Gold, aged for ten years, had an added depth that I really appreciated. These whiskeys have a distinct character that sets them apart from your typical barley-based whiskeys.

The tour itself was very informative. The guides knew their stuff and were passionate about their craft. It’s clear that they take great pride in what they do, and it shows in their products.

My only gripe, and the reason for the 4.7 rating, is the limited range of whiskeys available for tasting. As a collector, I’m always eager to try as many varieties as possible. That said, what they did offer was top quality.

Overall, Distillerie des Menhirs is a must-visit for any whiskey enthusiast. Their unique buckwheat whiskey is not just a novelty; it’s a testament to their innovation and dedication to quality. Highly recommended!

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Distillerie des Menhirs?

  • CHEZ TY & RY: It has a rating of 4.9 stars on Google Maps.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +33954447222. Their address is 24 Hent Kerfram, 29700 Plomelin, France.
  • Bara pizza: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +33298942535. Their address is 3 Hent Traon ar Vorc H, 29700 Plomelin, France.
  • Le Sirocco: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +33298519395. Their address is 2 Rue ar Vigouden, 29120 Combrit, France. 

What hotels are near Distillerie des Menhirs?

  • B&B HOTEL Quimper Sud Bénodet: It has a rating of 4.0 stars on Google Maps.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +33892788085. Their address is 131 Rte de Bénodet, 29000 Quimper, France.
  • Château Les Garennes: It has a rating of 4.8 stars on Google Maps.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +33604189622. Their address is Lieu-dit-BENODET FR, Les Garennes, 29950 Clohars-Fouesnant, France.
  • Hôtel Oceania Quimper: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps.
    For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +33298904626. Their address is 17 Rue du Poher, 29000 Quimper, France.