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Jono
12-01-2012, 16:34
I have been interested in Armagnac for awhile and Ralfy's recent reviews have brought it to mind again.

This article provides some general info - http://nymag.com/restaurants/articles/wine/sommelier/armagnac.htm

Can anyone recommend a "reasonable" i.e. $35-60 bottle of Armagnac?

For example, Binnys lists:
Delord Napoleon 10 Year Old Armagnac 34.99
Cerbois VSOP Armagnac 49.99
Marie Duffau Hors d'Age Armagnac 49.99
Delord 25 Year Old Armagnac 69.99

Calvados is another new to me spirit....any similar recommondations?

ebo
12-01-2012, 17:20
Ralfy has a few. http://www.whiskyreviews.blogspot.com/

HP12
12-01-2012, 17:43
I have been interested in Armagnac for awhile and Ralfy's recent reviews have brought it to mind again.

This article provides some general info - http://nymag.com/restaurants/articles/wine/sommelier/armagnac.htm

Can anyone recommend a "reasonable" i.e. $35-60 bottle of Armagnac?

For example, Binnys lists:
Delord Napoleon 10 Year Old Armagnac 34.99
Cerbois VSOP Armagnac 49.99
Marie Duffau Hors d'Age Armagnac 49.99
Delord 25 Year Old Armagnac 69.99

Calvados is another new to me spirit....any similar recommondations?

I recently participated in a blind Cognac tasting of nine expressions which ranged in price from $35-$225. At the end was a curveball which was "Alambic" Domaine D'Ognoas BAS-ARMAGNAC - 1985 Special Release. This Armagnac won the tasting event with the vast majority of tasters agreeing they would buy a bottle of this over any of the Cognacs. Weighing in at $105/per bottle, it's not within your price parameters but something you may want to consider. A wonderful spirit indeed.

Go Cubs!

Jono
12-01-2012, 19:29
Ralfy has a few. http://www.whiskyreviews.blogspot.com/

I looked up some of Ralfy's but they may not be widely available and or very $$$.

portwood
12-02-2012, 05:43
I think what you will find is, unlike Bourbon but like Scotch, Armagnac requires A LOT of time in wood - some would say it needs even more time than Cognac. Therefore, the "good stuff" will be >15 years of age and relatively expensive. The good news is that as the NY mag article points out, due to low demand, it is now well priced compared to Scotch of similar age.

Another point to consider is that Cognac and Armagnac producers are allowed to use boise (basically a concentrated wood syrup) and coloring as additives. VO, Napoleon, and VSOP expressions are all likely to contain these additives. XO, hors d'age, and vintage products may also contain them but it is less likely - especially for Armagnac.

Armagnac is also a much more artisanal product compared to Cognac and thus the very low production compared to Cognac (by a factor 1 to 10 iirc) contributes to relatively high prices. Note Armagnac does not have anything like the big 4 Cognac brands (Hennessy, Courvoisier, Remy Martin, and Martell) and so you are not likely to find "bottom shelf" pricing.

So, Armagnac is considered the more flavorful product, it generaly requires more age than Cognac, it is produced in lower quantities and very little of it is exported. Therefore, it will be difficult to find very good examples for under $60.

sku
12-02-2012, 06:53
I think Armagnac appeals more to bourbon drinkers than Cognac as it tends to be less sweet and a bit spicy. I liked Marie Duffau a lot, but I don't think I've tried the others on your list.

sailor22
12-02-2012, 07:36
The Delord 25 yr is a bargain and a very good pour. Available from several sources on line.

I would also recommend the Chateau De Pellehaut 1987 - The single barrel pick from K&L for about $75 - Their description on their site is spot on. This is a whiskey lovers Armagnac.

The Domain de Lassaubatju 1989 also from K&L is softer and fruitier and has a more Cognac like character with less finish if your taste is inclined in that direction.

Shell
12-02-2012, 21:18
Samalens Armagnac VSOP (France) is excellent and is usually ~$50.

Jono
12-03-2012, 08:34
Thank you for the suggestions!

White Dog
12-03-2012, 09:47
I'm afraid I've found most $50ish Armagnacs to be rather one-demensional. The thing about Armagnac, IMHO, is that you get what you pay for, and if you want the good stuff, you've gotta go north of $100. I've loved some of Darroze's vintage-dated expressions that I've been lucky enough to taste, but they cost an arm and a leg.

Jono
12-03-2012, 12:21
http://dandm.com/delord-25-year-old-bas-armagnac.html

This may be a great value..$69.99 at Binny's...at least for stepping into the waters.

And for what their opinions are worth -

"Score: 96 Points, Best Buy, Wine Enthusiast

Score: 5 STARS, Highest Recommendation F. Paul Pacult

Jono
12-09-2012, 21:40
I went ahead and picked up the Delord 25 as it has excellent reviews and for the price still affordable.
Will wait until Christmas to crack this open.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFfn6IMwhIg
Delord 25 Years Old Bas-Armagnac


UltimateBeverage

sailor22
12-10-2012, 05:56
Great choice! Be sure and share your thought with us when you open it.

Jono
12-25-2012, 17:15
Very bourbon like in character! I enjoyed the Delord 25 so now I have at least a basis for comparison.

ChainWhip
12-28-2012, 21:02
I'm enjoying my bottle of Delord 25 as well. I was "iffy" on my first pour but each subsequent pour has been an improvement over the preceding one. It's interesting contrasting it with Bourbon or Scotch - I think I can make out the grape base but it does have similarities with Bourbon as noted above.

DanG
12-30-2012, 20:55
I have a bottle of Delord XO which I find is quite nice. Not the most complex drink on the planet but very pleasant.

As for Calvados, I like Pere Magloire. I also have a bottle of Chauffe-Coeur VSOP which is okay and cheaper... maybe an introduction to Calva but not all that impressive. I have a 375ml bottle of Daron Fine but I don't like it. I'd definitely recommend looking into American wood-aged apple brandies as well which are often excellent, though usually not aged as long as the better calvas and stronger in flavor.

compliance
01-06-2013, 10:56
I jumped on the Armagnac train and bought a test bottle (1973 Chateau Pellehaut). The nose is phenomenal, the taste is something I think I need more time to get used to. It's not sweet enough, and I feel like that is hiding the flavor. Like a soup that needs salt. This might also sound odd, but I got more enjoyment tasting it with the front of my tongue while I usually taste my whiskeys more on the back of tongue. The front was the only way to get the fruity grape notes that make the nose so interesting. I never noticed anything like that before.

I did the same thing about 6 months ago with Calvados, so I dug that test bottle back out too (15 year Adrien Camut). They share a lot of similarities, just with different fruit notes layered on top. I like the overall flavor of my calvados better, but I have always felt that it was too light. Maybe there are brands that have more power to them, more like the typical scotches and bourbons. This feels watered down in comparison. Nose on the Armagnac beats the calvados easily, just wasn't getting into the taste as much.

Neither one pushed my buttons enough to assuage my fears of the impending aged whiskey drought.

squire
01-06-2013, 11:23
I would like to further explore the world of Armagnacs but lack a local who stocks them.

sailor22
01-06-2013, 11:26
Compliance - Most of the big house Cognac products will probably give you the sweetness your looking for. Unfortunately they are typically pretty watery in character too. Perhaps look for an iteration at a higher proof?

The way you describe the flavors in the mouth, unbalanced, is what I get from a lot of Cognac and some Armagnac.

I have a Pellehaut '87 (K&L barrel) open and it is very whiskey like without much in the way of fruity sweetness. The flavors seem well balanced to me with a progression from front to back of the mouth that resembles a well crafted whiskey. I would include the Darroze Domaine de Salie '77 in the very well balanced category, but it isn't particularly sweet either.

sailor22
01-06-2013, 11:28
I would like to further explore the world of Armagnacs but lack a local who stocks them.

No local stock here either - the internet is the only option for me.

IF you ever have a notion to visit Tallahassee I would be happy to share anything I have at that moment.

Tennessee Dave
01-06-2013, 11:52
I remain a huge fan of the alambic brandies coming of Germains Robins in California.

squire
01-06-2013, 11:55
Thanks Sailor, I like Tallahassee, always stop there because it's the starting point in Florida to get a decent Cuban sandwich.

compliance
01-06-2013, 12:05
Thanks for the comments sailor. I don't think there's anything bad about the bottle I have, I think it's just me not being very used to brandies. I've heard cognac is generally sweeter, so I wonder if I might like that more. I tend to prefer sweeter whiskeys as well. I drink a lot of high proof whiskeys, and I'm sure that's why I'm wishing this was more concentrated. Are there many options for cognac/armagnac/calvados around 100 proof and higher? Doesn't seem like it.

These were just my first impression of the armagnac as a complete noob. I'll go back to it over the next few weeks to see how my reactions change. That's part of the fun of trying a new variety of spirit.

squire
01-06-2013, 12:57
The options for finding higher than 80 proof Cognac can be counted on less than one finger.

sailor22
01-06-2013, 14:30
Barrel proof for Cognac and Armagnac is called "Brut de Fut". It isn't really that unusual in France but because this market is dominated by the Big Houses and their blends it isn't so common here.

Daniel Bouju Royal and Tres Vieux Cognac are great examples. Both are dry to dryish but are in my estimation excellent pours. YMMV.

Germain Robin in California makes wonderful Brandy and should be more easily found than the more obscure French bottlings. They make no attempt to mimic whiskey (with the possible exception of their Havana release) but are making great product with their own priorities. Their "Ano Domini" is something close to magic in a bottle. Possibly one of the finest pours I have experienced to date.

White Dog
01-07-2013, 07:50
Pierre Ferrand "1840" Cognac is 90 proof. Came out in the last year or so.

And I'll also chime in for Germain Robin. Their XO is superior to almost any Cognac I've ever tried.

tanstaafl2
01-07-2013, 09:53
Pierre Ferrand "1840" Cognac is 90 proof. Came out in the last year or so.

And I'll also chime in for Germain Robin. Their XO is superior to almost any Cognac I've ever tried.



The 1840 was developed by Ferrand in consultation with David Wondrich with cocktail mixing in mind. Earlier pre phyloxera cognacs that would have been used in the 1800's were reportedly more "bold" in flavor and higher proof. That said I have never tried it on its own. I need to do that!

Louis Royer “Force 53″ cognac is another high proof cognac that shows up with some regularity in cocktails. Never tried that one.

Continue to hear good things about Germaine Robin but since most of my cognac drinking is in cocktails I have never tried it. Cognac/armagnac/brandy is another spirit category I need to explore further this year according to Sku (http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2013/01/2103-golden-ageof-brandy.html)!

Going back to armagnac I noticed that the most recent Imbibe magazine edition gave Castarède Sélection Armagnac a recommendation as a good but inexpensive "starter" armagnac. It is listed on TPS but of course it is currently out of stock.

squire
01-07-2013, 09:58
I remember Germain Robin, picked up a bottle when I was in San Diego some years ago. Makes me wish some of our micros would turn their attention to brandys and Eau de Vies rather than young whiskys.

White Dog
01-07-2013, 15:55
I remember Germain Robin, picked up a bottle when I was in San Diego some years ago. Makes me wish some of our micros would turn their attention to brandys and Eau de Vies rather than young whiskys.

Germain Robin has been filling barrels for over 20 years, so they have a wealth of old stock to blend. If a new micro focused on Brandy, they'd still need to age the stuff. I'd rather the micros keep filling barrels and give them time.

And Eau de Vie does not pay the bills.

squire
01-07-2013, 16:56
No, Eau de Vie doesn't, MGPI does.

T Comp
04-06-2013, 19:45
I've enjoyed Armagnac occasionally but took home my first bottle, 25 year Delord, with incentive from today's 15% off Binny's coupon and a quick telephone consult with Lost Pollito. A fine pour, less sweet than many brandy's and quite spicy, almost hot cinnamon at the end. Actually outstanding and a terrific price. But just like other renowned barrel aged spirits I enjoy, damn if they also always confirm...my love for bourbon :grin:.

BAO
04-13-2013, 21:03
Popped a bottle of regular Courvoisier the other day to change up the pace. Really enjoyed it and started to research cognacs. Stumbled across this thread and decided to pick up the Delord 25. Good lord so good.

MyOldKyDram
07-04-2013, 10:14
What can anyone tell me about the Germain-Robin Old Havana? Whiskey bored, as there's not much out there currently, and this was on close out. Read some good things about it, but was hoping to get some opinions here.