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The French Spirits Forum- Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados


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So I had occasion to crack this open tonight. Full name is Alchemist Chistian Drouin 15 year. It's interesting. The nose is a pretty powerful combo of apple, cinnamon, and nutmeg, but suprisingly dry. Some hints of vanilla and oak in the background. The taste is fairly similar. The arrival is a bit muddled, and you have to hold it on your tongue for a bit to get a sense of it. The development tends to crash into the finish, but the theme remains. Toward the end of the end of development/beginning of the finish you get some really nice tart apple notes. Overall, I really like this. It's a great fall drink, and while it's quite a bit more "THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU WILL BE SMELLING AND TASTING," than malt or even bourbon, I'm not complaining. I appreciate the fact that most of the spices I taste are not impeded by excessive sweetness. It's maybe a bit more bitter than I'd prefer, but we'll see how if that changes once I get to know the bottle a bit better. I could see buying a bottle of something a bit cheaper to slip into the mulled cider I'll be making for the family on Thanksgiving.

Edited by garbanzobean
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I have to start contributing more here!  I've always enjoyed the info and conversations.  Anyway, I've dove pretty deep into armagnac the last few years.  Without getting too deep into reviews here ar

25 year old L’Encantada is delicious.

As I’ve changed jobs, one of my customers sent me a text last week saying, “I left you a gift at the front desk of the 4 Seasons”. On Monday I walked across the street from my office to pick my gift u

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So I had occasion to crack this open tonight. Full name is Alchemist Chistian Drouin 15 year. It's interesting. The nose is a pretty powerful combo of apple, cinnamon, and nutmeg, but suprisingly dry. Some hints of vanilla and oak in the background. The taste is fairly similar. The arrival is a bit muddled, and you have to hold it on your tongue for a bit to get a sense of it. The development tends to crash into the finish, but the theme remains. Toward the end of the end of development/beginning of the finish you get some really nice tart apple notes. Overall, I really like this. It's a great fall drink, and while it's quite a bit more "THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU WILL BE SMELLING AND TASTING," than malt or even bourbon, I'm not complaining. I appreciate the fact that most of the spices I taste are not impeded by excessive sweetness. It's maybe a bit more bitter than I'd prefer, but we'll see how if that changes once I get to know the bottle a bit better. I could see buying a bottle of something a bit cheaper to slip into the mulled cider I'll be making for the family on Thanksgiving.

Wow, awesome review Garbanzo. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The apple notes tend to fade/morph as the brandy gets older so it's cool that this one retained some fresh/tart apple character. I actually just saw that same Alchemist bottling a couple weeks ago...now I might pick it up.

If you're looking for an inexpensive apple brandy to kick up your mulled cider, the Laird's bonded is great. Or if you have Trader Joes where you're at, they have an inexpensive Calvados that'd serve the purpose, as does K&L, if they'll ship to you.

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Wow, awesome review Garbanzo. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The apple notes tend to fade/morph as the brandy gets older so it's cool that this one retained some fresh/tart apple character. I actually just saw that same Alchemist bottling a couple weeks ago...now I might pick it up.

If you're looking for an inexpensive apple brandy to kick up your mulled cider, the Laird's bonded is great. Or if you have Trader Joes where you're at, they have an inexpensive Calvados that'd serve the purpose, as does K&L, if they'll ship to you.

Glad it was helpful. Keep in mind this is literally my first taste/bottle of Calvados in my entire life, so you might want to take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

I was worried about losing the apple notes with the 15 yr age statement, but I think this is a nice balance of barrel influence and apple character. Sort of one foot in, one foot out kind of thing. One thing I will say is that this is much spicier and less sweet than I expected, but I appreciated it. FYI, if you happen to see any other Alc-hem-ist bottlings sitting around and you happen to like Scotch Whisky, you should pick any that interest you up. The bottlings I've had were all excellent, and I don't think Alc-hem-ist has released anything for 4-5 years at the least. Maybe more. If you do happen to see any sitting around and it's a Highland Park 16 yr in Calvados wood, you REALLY should buy it. If you don't want it . . . well let's just say I'd appreciate a PM.

Cheers,

Eric

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Glad it was helpful. Keep in mind this is literally my first taste/bottle of Calvados in my entire life, so you might want to take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

I was worried about losing the apple notes with the 15 yr age statement, but I think this is a nice balance of barrel influence and apple character. Sort of one foot in, one foot out kind of thing. One thing I will say is that this is much spicier and less sweet than I expected, but I appreciated it. FYI, if you happen to see any other Alc-hem-ist bottlings sitting around and you happen to like Scotch Whisky, you should pick any that interest you up. The bottlings I've had were all excellent, and I don't think Alc-hem-ist has released anything for 4-5 years at the least. Maybe more. If you do happen to see any sitting around and it's a Highland Park 16 yr in Calvados wood, you REALLY should buy it. If you don't want it . . . well let's just say I'd appreciate a PM.

Cheers,

Eric

Ah yes, I had forgotten that this was your first foray into Calvados. Well it was helpful nonetheless and I may have to grab a bottle of that. And while I'm at it, I'll scope out any other Alchemist bottlings they have and let you know if there's any HP hiding in there.

-Kyle

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Ah yes, I had forgotten that this was your first foray into Calvados. Well it was helpful nonetheless and I may have to grab a bottle of that. And while I'm at it, I'll scope out any other Alchemist bottlings they have and let you know if there's any HP hiding in there.

-Kyle

For what it's worth, I shared this last night with four friends of mine. They have a broad swath of likes and dislikes when it comes to alcohol, but they all enjoyed this. So much so that I only have about a quarter of the bottle left . . .
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm glad I found this thread. Like many of us, I follow the K&L blog which is what piqued my interest in Armagnac and ultimately brandy in general.

I am really falling head over heals for Armagnac and am so enjoying my journey right now. I've picked up a Chateau de Pellehaut 1996, Darroze 20 and Baraillon 20 so far. I am very much enjoying all of them right now but the Pellehaut stands above the rest for me which I think probably has to do with proof more than anything. The other two are somewhat lower proof and that is definitely noticeable. I tend to like higher proof, fuller flavored bourbons so I guess it's no great surprise that I would like the same in brandies.

With my interest in brandy recently I've become curious about Calvados. I've never tried it. I'd like to have some sort of experience with it before buying a bottle but then I didn't with Armagnac and that worked out just fine. K&L has a 2006 Domaine Hubert Pays d'Auge Vieux Calvados for about $30 right now. Seems like a good place to start and a great price. Does anyone have any experience with this one? Is it worth checking out?

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I'm glad I found this thread. Like many of us, I follow the K&L blog which is what piqued my interest in Armagnac and ultimately brandy in general.

I am really falling head over heals for Armagnac and am so enjoying my journey right now. I've picked up a Chateau de Pellehaut 1996, Darroze 20 and Baraillon 20 so far. I am very much enjoying all of them right now but the Pellehaut stands above the rest for me which I think probably has to do with proof more than anything. The other two are somewhat lower proof and that is definitely noticeable. I tend to like higher proof, fuller flavored bourbons so I guess it's no great surprise that I would like the same in brandies.

With my interest in brandy recently I've become curious about Calvados. I've never tried it. I'd like to have some sort of experience with it before buying a bottle but then I didn't with Armagnac and that worked out just fine. K&L has a 2006 Domaine Hubert Pays d'Auge Vieux Calvados for about $30 right now. Seems like a good place to start and a great price. Does anyone have any experience with this one? Is it worth checking out?

I have an open bottle of the K&L 2006 Domaine Hubert, so I'm having a drink of it now. Good apple aromas and decent flavors but it has some spiritous edges that strike me as peculiar. I have to admit that the price is definitely good for a ~7yo calvados at $30 though. If you give this a shot and it's not your thing, don't give up on calvados altogether. I love calvados but again, I find this to be ok. My first bottle was the Roger Groult 8yo and I liked it a lot...but it's also $55, quite a bit more than the 2006 Hubert.

Since you like higher proof, I think a good bet is Laird's bonded Apple brandy. I know it's not calvados but it's similar, well-priced, and the proof adds some kick!

Let us know what you end up with and how you like it.

-Kyle

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I ended up ordering the 2006 Domaine Hubert. The spirituous edge doesn't worry me and actually sounds kind of intriguing and it was a great price. For $30 I don't mind jumping in, for $55 I want to know a little about what calvados is all about before committing. Hopefully this will be a good entry place. I did look into the Laird's Bonded, it looks like it's out of stock at K&L. It looks like something I would probably really like. Next time that come in I plan to give it a go.

I'm hoping to get up to K&L on Saturday to pick up my orders. I'll let you know what I think once I try the calvados. Thanks for taking the time to give me some info!

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B.B. Babington
... Since you like higher proof, I think a good bet is Laird's bonded Apple brandy...
or Laird's 7 yo if looking for age. It's lower proof, but it definitely matures well, and still reasonably priced.
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  • 2 weeks later...
I have an open bottle of the K&L 2006 Domaine Hubert, so I'm having a drink of it now. Good apple aromas and decent flavors but it has some spiritous edges that strike me as peculiar. I have to admit that the price is definitely good for a ~7yo calvados at $30 though. If you give this a shot and it's not your thing, don't give up on calvados altogether. I love calvados but again, I find this to be ok. My first bottle was the Roger Groult 8yo and I liked it a lot...but it's also $55, quite a bit more than the 2006 Hubert.

Since you like higher proof, I think a good bet is Laird's bonded Apple brandy. I know it's not calvados but it's similar, well-priced, and the proof adds some kick!

Let us know what you end up with and how you like it.

-Kyle

I finally got around to trying the 2006 Domaine Hubert. I did not like it at all, I was pretty disappointed. The aroma was very similar to a lot of sakes I've had. I got an almost fungal taste from it with very little apple. Despite the 7 years it tasted very young. I really love armagnac but this seemed completely a world apart. I'm hoping this one opens up a bit with time or maybe I'll develop a taste for it. I'll give it another try and I will look for another calvados or apple jack if I can find one at an affordable cost.

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I know this is the "French Spirits" forum but there doesn't seem to be a good place for general brandy discussion.

I noted today that a bottle of Copper and Kings brandy from the new distillery in Louisville quietly showed up on the shelves in town. Given that they have been around less than a year it can't be particularly old. in fact upon reading the website they are still an NDP for Brandy until there own product reaches at least 2 years old and can be called Brandy. No idea where they got this from. The website (and the bottle as well I believe) declares it is non chill filtered with no added flavors, synthetic chemicals (are natural chemicals OK then? Besides that pervasive chemical called water I mean!) or colorants are added.

They do release an "immature" white brandy and an absinthe, presumably of their own make, it would seem

Who else is making pot still brandy in any quantity beside maybe Germain Robin?

So, a glass of rebranded Paul Masson anyone??? :shocked:

Tempted to give it a try anyway, for purely scientific purposes of course.

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Tempted to give it a try anyway, for purely scientific purposes of course.

That's why your on staff here - so get to work and no more slacking.

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I picked up a Maison Gélas 8-yr Armagnac today on sale for $55.99. this is my first foray into older Brandy, and I'm excited to try it.

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Based on SKU's review (http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2014/12/gourry-de-chadeville-cognac.html), I ordered a bottle of Gourry De Chadeville Cognac from K&L. Had to have it shipped to a friend in Colorado, so I won't get it until around the 18th. Should be great for after Christmas dinner.

SKU got me hook, line and sinker for that one too (along with a few others. If I am going to the trouble of ordering from K&L which I have to get help to have it shipped to me then I am going to get at least 6 bottles of something!). Not sure when mine will finally arrive though so you may have it well before me. If so I look forward to your thoughts on it!

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SKU got me hook, line and sinker for that one too (along with a few others. If I am going to the trouble of ordering from K&L which I have to get help to have it shipped to me then I am going to get at least 6 bottles of something!). Not sure when mine will finally arrive though so you may have it well before me. If so I look forward to your thoughts on it!

Yeah, I'm kinda' kicking myself for not ordering more. They had around 26 bottles when I placed my order.

I went back to look today, and it's long gone.

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Yeah, I'm kinda' kicking myself for not ordering more. They had around 26 bottles when I placed my order.

I went back to look today, and it's long gone.

I only got one as well. I ordered six different bottles. What can I say? I like variety!

Astor Wines in NY still shows the Gourry de Chadeville as available (at a higher price) but they don't ship at all anymore so I would have to have help to get it from there too unfortunately. Always annoying!

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Yeah, I checked Astor as soon as I saw K&L was out. Says they only ship in the NY area, and that would take a lot of wheels in motion for me to arrange for someone to get it for me in NY.

Oh well, you know what they say about hindsight...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Out running errands with the misses and hit the local store to get some wine for dinner with the family. Wife mentions she needs a drink to help with the stress of the in laws, yah, we got something that he mentions, and brings her round to the tasting room. A quick nip of some chocolate cherry. Baileys for her, and a nicer pour of some Hardy XO for me. Good to have a relationship with your store folks.

Not having that one before, it was nice to have a sample. That bottle is now very tempting.

B

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Also have a bottle of Gourry De Chadeville Cognac waiting for me at K&L Added a Benrinnes 17 Year barrel strength single malt scotch to the order too. I'm relying on a relative to pick up and ship for me so there is no anticipated date of arrival.

Had some barrel strength Cognac from Daniel Bouju that was certainly bold but not a great pour. Lets hope this one is better balanced.

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Gourry de Chadeville 1er Cru du Cognac - 64.3%

Its a smörgåsbord for me that's difficult to wrap my head around but I love it.

16088760531_bc22483730_z.jpg

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Gourry de Chadeville 1er Cru du Cognac - 64.3%

Its a smörgåsbord for me that's difficult to wrap my head around but I love it.

16088760531_bc22483730_z.jpg

Once you do get it wrapped around it please elaborate! I have one coming soon and am curious what you (and others) think.

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Had it after a steady diet of Islay and it displayed some cherry smarties flavor - so weird... I get something new with every visit.

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