Any Love for Armagnac??

Here you can talk about the experiences with the different brands and/or types of Armagnac.
BSinTX
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Re: Any Love for Armagnac??

Postby BSinTX » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:41 am

"Have you had the brut de fut Boujus?"


Why, I certainly have!!


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Dryness.....that is the word I was looking for when tasting the Rieston. Not that it is a bad thing, but it is the proper description for the texture in the mouth (as we wonder how a wet product tastes dry...)

Here is something I want to run by you. Next to the bottle of Rieston was a bottle of Dupont 1981; 26 years old and 42.5% abv. Compare this to the Rieston which is also 26 years old, but comes in at 51.5% abv. According to Darroze, neither product has had any water added to it. In your opinion, what effect do you think the alcohol by volume (as it ages inside the barrel) has with regards to the woodiness? When comparing the bottles side by side, they were nearly identical in color (doesn't say much, but can be an indicator.)

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Re: Any Love for Armagnac??

Postby numen » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:08 am

BSinKY wrote:Why, I certainly have!!


Awesome! What did you think of it? It's, perhaps, the bottle that I most forget that I enjoy. I always think that it's too hot and woody, but when I taste it, I exclaim how much I swear by it. I did add water to it once, and it turned more into the Napoleon; still good, but not as special. I spoke with Bouju and some other folks, and, sadly, he's lost his importer to the US (explaining why it's virtually impossible to find any of his stuff anywhere). The Tres Vieux Brut de Fut is also incredible. Without a doubt, Bouju is my favorite producer.

BSinKY wrote:According to Darroze, neither product has had any water added to it. In your opinion, what effect do you think the alcohol by volume (as it ages inside the barrel) has with regards to the woodiness? When comparing the bottles side by side, they were nearly identical in color (doesn't say much, but can be an indicator.)


That's a good question on the ABV and woodiness. 26 years and 42.5% seems shockingly low. That makes me think less about woodiness as much as storage conditions, whether the barrel wasn't topped off (and evaporation proved more rapid), or something else. Many of the even 30 year old armagnacs that I've had have been around 47-50%. The only non-diluted armagnacs that have been that level were those in barrel for 40+ years. I just couldn't say with any certainty (or anecdotal appreciation) whether it would have had more or less wood, or a more or less tannic feel.

Having said that, I realize that I've got a 1977 Domaine de Dupont (29 years) that's at 44%. My tasting notes (when I last did a formal tasting):

Tasting notes this time around - Color: Light Caramel; Nose: Cinnamon, allspice, fig, and honey-wheat. Palate: More spice than fruit, with strong maple, caramel, and some vanilla. Finish: medium-long, sweet and full of the brown spices. A very hearty and top notch Armagnac.

If I really focus, I can pull some wood out on the nose (I'm re-smelling as I type), but it doesn't seem woody or drying. The spices probably come a bit from the barrel, but it's not overly tannic/woody.

So, coming full circle, the 1981 Dupont might have just been an odd barrel that was a little low in alcohol, but still good, and not necessarily an indicator of woodiness. Now that you've brought my attention to it, I'll keep my taste-buds open for the phenomenon. Generally, though, especially with Darroze, because there's no water added, armagnacs will be higher proof when younger and lower when older, and, the older they are, the more wood they are likely to have. With the variety in bottling, it may be a bit tough to determine with all the other factors.

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Re: Any Love for Armagnac??

Postby numen » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:10 am

Also, I saw that you've got the Folle Blanche and the 12 year (I think) Chateau Beaulon in the photo. What do you think of them? They were intriguing, and I was fascinated by the nose on the 7 year old, and the mulled-wine-orange palate of the 12 year, but they seemed rather flat from over-dilution.

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Re: Any Love for Armagnac??

Postby BSinTX » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:43 am

If you like DB Cognac, you should enjoy this pic:


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I took it a few years ago during Lent just to let all my Catholic buddies know I was cheering for them. :mrgreen:


The BdF is a cold weather drink; I put the bottle away during the hot summer months as it just doesn't work in this heat. I'll take a few sips as is and then I will add the slightest bit of water; just a few drops to soften it up a bit. I have over-watered it on several occasions trying to find the perfect spot (bourbon is a bit more forgiving.) That super BOLD flavor makes my entire body tingle; this is the symptom of an exceptional product. A well aged cigar produces the same effect. I like the licorice and molasses flavors that come out. The finish goes on forever and one could go nuts trying to identify all of those flavors. I've had their Napoleon (I have a pic somewhere) and although I liked how different it was from every other Cognac, it was like BdF with too much water.


I REALLY want to say that Chateau Beaulon is the best product for the money you can get. The packaging, bottle, label, and information on the website, bottle, and box SCREAM top quality and attention to detail, but it's less than flamboyant taste is just too much to ignore. If this stuff was increased to 43-45%, I'd buy it by the case to ensure I never ran out of it. This is what I was getting at in the ABV thread. Certainly the cellar master has tasted his product at different levels of alcohol. One would have a hard time convincing me that it wasn't perfect until it reached 40%. Their pineau is awesome.

I thought it was a bit odd to have two similar products with a large difference in alcohol; the Dupont was a dollar more than the Rieston! My choices for Darroze are: Au Durre 1992, Au Martin 1988, de Bertruc 1986, Coquillon 1998, Dupont 1981, and the Reserve. I've had the reserve as it's only $60 a bottle but to be honest, Castarede 20YO at $70 a bottle is a far better product.

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Re: Any Love for Armagnac??

Postby numen » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:56 am

That photo looks awesome for lots of reasons. And kudos for going with the stuff and food; one can't guzzle it like a table wine, but it can fit the bill perfectly! You're absolutely right about the Napoleon being watered down! It's still very good, but it's missing the magic of the BdF. Flavors in the Royal neat simply vanish when it turns into the Napoleon. The raisin/molasses in it is just the bee's knees, as they say.

Thanks for the advice on the Beaulon pineau! I had the young Bouju pineau, which was delicious, and very easy to pull the cognac from the juice. I saw a trip report from Jay Erisman, from the Party Source (another great shop!), describe an older pineau by Bouju, but it's not available in the US. What's the Beaulon pineau like? I'm guessing that it's a very smooth marriage of the cognac and juice.

Have you noticed different flavor profiles on the vintage Darroze? I haven't had the NV Darroze yet. What did you think of the Coquillon? I've just had one from a different vintage and thought that it was very good and had some great La Freche characteristics. Au Martin and Durre are outside my experience, for now! That's one of the tough and great things about Armagnac, so many artisanal bottlings that it's tough to duplicate any one, but affords many drinking opportunities!

My 'liquor cellar' (it's not a collection because I intend to drink everything at some point, except maybe a bottle of Pappy) is more or less in this photo. I've got every bottle tucked away in different cabinets, but people wanted to see everything all together, so here it is:

spirits 02.jpg
spirits 02.jpg (111.98 KiB) Viewed 2548 times

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Re: Any Love for Armagnac??

Postby sailor22 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:31 am

Lovely photos gentlemen - you have made my mouth water!

I am behind you both in tasting experience regarding the Armagnacs you have mentioned but I have enjoyed the DeLord 25yr very much and thought it was a bargain at $60. My next pruchase will be some of the picks from K&L as it sounds like they are on the same page as I am regarding proof and bigger flavors from an Armagnac.

I agree that the Bouju Royal is something special. It is the pour that has gotten me interested in Cognac. For me the dryness is offset by the almost juicy red grape sweet notes. It didn't seem to have too much wood for my palate and the finish is almost endlessly entertaining.

If I'm not mistaken it is possible to get to low proof without adding water if the spirit is aged for a long time in damp warehouses. Seems I recall a loss of about one proof point a year in those conditions. Not sure how many of the old damp warehouses down by the river are still in use.

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Re: Any Love for Armagnac??

Postby numen » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:17 pm

Hi Sailor -- definitely reach out to the spirits guys at K&L. I've spoken with them a few times, and they're eager to offer advice, and not just to sell the most expensive thing. They've always been keen to get the right bottle to the right person, and making sure that the spirit of the spirit is right.

Your comment on the Bouju Royal got me thinking a bit. In some ways, it's a very bourbon-like cognac, or at least all the bourbon drinkers I know love it more than any other cognac they've had. In cognac, there aren't many other producers who bottle liquid as fiery or full as Bouju, but there are some very good ones that are rich - especially if they've been reduced naturally rather than through the addition of water. The Brut de Fut concept is not as wide-spread with cognac as it is armagnac or bourbon/whisky, but I hope that it catches on!

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Re: Any Love for Armagnac??

Postby sailor22 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:33 pm

I'm a fan of K&L and Dave Driskol. He was the first to recommend the DeLord 25yr.
Jay Eisenman at The Party Source is another fellow who will take the time to guide a customer in the right direction for their individual palate. Their available stock of Armagnac and Cognac fluctuates so they don't always have a lot in stock like K&L seems to.

You hit the nail on the head regarding the Bouju Royal being very Bourbon-esque. The mouth feel is similar as is the intensity - the Bouju brings the grape while the Bourbon brings the wood flavors and corn. I had a Cognac friend describe the Royal as "too rustic". I took that to mean it was too much like whiskey for his taste.

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Re: Any Love for Armagnac??

Postby numen » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:55 pm

Jay and Dave (and other Dave) are all great. Binny's has a decent collection of cognac/armagnac, as does Wally's and Hi-Time Wine. Wally's can be a bit pricier, I've noticed. Though they don't have the interaction that Jay and the Daves do.

In general, I think that Bouju tends to have a bourbon-y quality to it. For all that I drink of brandy, I don't know too many others who do. My whisky-drinking friends were all amazed by Bouju and armagnac for being so rich and deep. Most cognac, by comparison, is a bit weaker and more 'ethereal.' Parker used that to describe the Tesseron 29 as a positive, but it's a quality that I generally find frustrating in cognac due to the stuff often being watered down. I'd be ok with 'transcendent' 8-) A lot of cognac drinkers, from what I can tell, prefer a more perfumy nose with a more subdued and sweet, soft-water palate due to their experience with what's generally available. On the other hand, Bouju describes some of his cognacs as 'for connoisseurs,' but I've shared it with many a non-cognac connoisseur who marveled at how good it was.

Having said all that, looking at the K&L page, I'm awfully intrigued by the Tariquet 15 year Folle Blanche - especially to compare it to the 7 year old Beaulon Folle Blanche cognac. And the 1987 (and/or 1973) Pellehaut Tenareze. Another item that K&L has that I'm really, really dying to sample (first, then almost certainly purchase) is the Paul-Marie et Fils cask strength cognac that they've got. I think that Jay and David also get 'it' because they drink a lot of spirits (e.g. whisky and bourbon, too), so they don't get stuck with weak-in-the-mouth brandy.

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Re: Any Love for Armagnac??

Postby sailor22 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:30 pm

Well we are certainly on the same page. I ordered the Tariquet 15 year Folle Blanche Friday and the 1989 Domaine de Lassaubatju Armagnac along with the 1987 Chateau Pellehaut Tenareze Vintage Armagnac from K&L are next.

After that I'm thinking something from Germain Robin would be interesting - any suggestions?

I'm wishing all Brandy producers, particularly Cognac mfgrs. had to list the additives. I really don't care for the sugar and caramel being added. Makes it almost a cocktail in a bottle and I'm seeing a lot of what must be very young Cognac with a very dark color. Much more than you would expect from only a few years in the barrel.


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