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  1. #41
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    Re: The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados

    Had a couple glasses of delord xo last night, found out that it makes a very nice manhattan too.

  2. #42

    Re: The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados

    If the French do one thing right, it's spirit and liqueurs. I was in France this spring. Some things I have learned:

    Cognac and Armagnac – The stuff worth drinking is old and expensive. The majority of the spirit needs to be at least 20 years old. The realm of those with means, although the young stuff can be good in cocktails.

    Calvados – I prefer the younger expressions over the old. The barrel takes over on the older stuff and it loses its apple notes. Decent sippers can be had for $30 to $40 a fifth here in the US.

    Marc/Fine –French version of grappa. Tastes much like good grappa but with a distinct note of raisins.

    Absinthe –Generally anything produced by Emile Pernot and Combier (Jade) is a safe bet for exceptional absinthe.

    Pineau des Charentes – (pronouced approx.: pay-know duh sharanta) I don’t find it that sweet, but it’s all relative. Reminds me of a fino/manzanilla sherry. Very enjoyable though, and the fortification with cognac adds balance.

    Ratafia – Tried this when I was in the Champagne region. A fortified non-aromatic wine made from still wine used for Champagne and fine. Also quite enjoyable.

    Liqueurs – Chartreuse in all its expressions is awesome. The tour of the distillery was only in French, and my French wasn’t good enough to really catch anything they were talking about, but it was still one of the high points of the trip. The smell of the distillery and the cave they aged the VEP in was amazing. If you like Chartreuse, try to hunt down a bottles of Liqueur de Sapin and Genepi.
    Last edited by jasonh; 12-09-2013 at 19:31.

  3. #43
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    Re: The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonh View Post
    If the French do one thing right, it's spirit and liqueurs. I was in France this spring. Some things I have learned:

    Cognac and Armagnac – The stuff worth drinking is old and expensive. The majority of the spirit needs to be at least 20 years old. The realm of those with means, although the young stuff can be good in cocktails.

    Calvados – I prefer the younger expressions over the old. The barrel takes over on the older stuff and it loses its apple notes. Decent sippers can be had for $30 to $40 a fifth here in the US.

    Marc/Fine –French version of grappa. Tastes much like good grappa but with a distinct note of raisins.

    Absinthe –Generally anything produced by Emile Pernot and Combier (Jade) is a safe bet for exceptional absinthe.

    Pineau des Charentes – (pronouced approx.: pay-know duh sharanta) I don’t find it that sweet, but it’s all relative. Reminds me of a fino/manzanilla sherry. Very enjoyable though, and the fortification with cognac adds balance.

    Ratafia – Tried this when I was in the Champagne region. A fortified non-aromatic wine made from still wine used for Champagne and fine. Also quite enjoyable.

    Liqueurs – Chartreuse in all its expressions is awesome. The tour of the distillery was only in French, and my French wasn’t good enough to really catch anything they were talking about, but it was still one of the high points of the trip. The smell of the distillery and the cave they aged the VEP in was amazing. If you like Chartreuse, try to hunt down a bottles of Liqueur de Sapin and Genepi.


    You should use the standard font color or make sure you pick a light color because black and grey are very difficult to see against the default background!

    As for spirits in France I, and probably many others here, would suggest that if you dig a bit you can find excellent small house cognac that doesn't cost a fortune and that increased age is not an absolute. However armagnac seems to be the real value, at least for the moment, especially for those who already enjoy quality whiskey!

    You really just scratched the surface when it comes to the largely unknown world (outside of France anyway!) of French vin de liqueurs. In addition to Pineau des Charentes from cognac and ratafia from the Champagne region there is Floc de Gascogne made with Armagnac and rinquinquin from the Rhône region. The Languedoc region produces cartagène and the Jura wine region produces Macvin du Jura, which uses marc as the fortifier. Some of these are tough to find in the US (rinquinquin and cartagène are two I have not been able to find) but I have seen (and had!) the others with Pineau des Charentes probably being the most common.

    Genepi is interesting if a bit less complex the chartreuse (especially the VEP!) but it is also less expensive and interesting to experiment with. I have yet to have the pleasure of Liqueur de Sapin.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  4. #44
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    Re: The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados

    Quote Originally Posted by sailor22 View Post
    After a dinner of Turkey left overs I'm sipping an Armagnac -- Domaine de Baraillon 1985, bottled in 2012 Armagnac. This is a lovely pour without any of the cloying sweetness or "grapeyness" that seems to afflict so many French Brandys.
    White fruit , chocolate and tobacco on the nose. Palate is softly honeyed with oak, pepper and fruit that provides a sweet and spicy ride that ends with a modest finish of wood, pepper and mellon.
    This is a classy Armagnac that is miles ahead of most big house Cognacs and should be right in the wheel house of plenty of whiskey drinkers.
    It's available at K&L but their stock is getting low.
    Seems like this is now gone from K&L wines?

    May have a chance to place an order with K&L which I usually can't do due to my location and was thinking of trying an Armagnac since so little is available locally With this one seemingly gone is there another recommendation from what is available without drifting too far beyond $100? Pellehaut 1987 perhaps? Or the younger 1998 Baraillon?
    Last edited by tanstaafl2; 12-19-2013 at 14:48.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  5. #45
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    Re: The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados

    Quote Originally Posted by tanstaafl2 View Post
    Seems like this is now gone from K&L wines?

    May have a chance to place an order with K&L which I usually can't do due to my location and was thinking of trying an Armagnac since so little is available locally With this one seemingly gone is there another recommendation from what is available without drifting too far beyond $100? Pellehaut 1987 perhaps? Or the younger 1998 Baraillon?
    Now the 1985 Baraillon appears to still be there. Either I or the search function seems to be having issues! It's probably me!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  6. #46
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    Re: The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados

    They have three stores in the state and stock moves around sometimes.
    I recently received a Darroze 20 "les Grandes Assemblages" from K&L that I'm happy with. Bold and sweet and spicy and grapey and oaky and really an enjoyable ride. It was right at the $100 mark.

  7. #47
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    Re: The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados

    Well I am a happy dude today! Went to a general goods/ deceased estate auction and scored pretty big, obviously there were no other booze collectors in the crowd, picked up the following:

    Chabot xo armagnac circa 1960s boxed
    Hennesey vsop 1980s boxed
    Martell napoleon cordon noir 1980s boxed
    Veuve cliquot 1961
    Rozes tawny port 1960s
    Some random wine from burgundy 1958 vintage
    Chech creme de menthe 1960s
    2x yugoslavian plum brandies 1960s boxed
    A very old bottle of grappa, maybe 50s
    Half a dozen cheap wines not of note and most likely past their best before
    Random barware including a really cool gilded wine coatser and stopper set

    All for the low low price of $200!!
    Already drinking the Chabot and my word it is good. Cannot wait to crack the martell and the veuve is destined for NYE, this stuff will not go to waste in my possesion.

  8. #48
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    Re: The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados

    Quite an interesting and somewhat eclectic collection of bottles. Was it all from the same estate/owner?
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  9. #49
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    Re: The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados

    The martel and hennesey were a seperate lot that I bought as a sole bidder for $80, which I thought was really lucky because just the hennesey alone I have seen sell for over $100 in the past, let alone the martell which I had never seen for sale before.
    All the other items were one lot, now this is crazy part, I had come late and missed the bidding on it, when I asked how much it went for they told me it was passed in at $40! I tried offering them the $40 but apparently someone did some research post bidding and realised that the veauve was worth over $300 so I had to pay a little more, damn that would have been the bargain of the year if I hadnt been out drinking the night before and slept in.

  10. #50
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    Re: The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados

    Quote Originally Posted by onemorepour View Post
    The martel and hennesey were a seperate lot that I bought as a sole bidder for $80, which I thought was really lucky because just the hennesey alone I have seen sell for over $100 in the past, let alone the martell which I had never seen for sale before.
    All the other items were one lot, now this is crazy part, I had come late and missed the bidding on it, when I asked how much it went for they told me it was passed in at $40! I tried offering them the $40 but apparently someone did some research post bidding and realised that the veauve was worth over $300 so I had to pay a little more, damn that would have been the bargain of the year if I hadnt been out drinking the night before and slept in.
    Probably a wine searcher price for the Veuve. Whether it really is that valuable is hard to say. Depends on how well it was kept. 50 year old sparkling wine, even if it is from Champagne, seems a bit dicey unless very well cared for!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

 

 

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