Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac

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Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac

Postby numen » Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:32 am

I was coming in for my 100th post, which, on most boards, isn't too much, but I wanted to do something special. I don't have this often, but I also go nuts when I do. I also hadn't done proper tasting of it for a while, so it was also a decent time to return to it. I really went through a lot of trouble to get it, having to fly to another state just to get the bottle, but it was worth it. Totally worth it. The bottle is classic, though I'm not really quite the fan of the style both because it seems to allow in more oxygen (or at least more oxygen contact with the spirit) and it fits oddly in my cabinet relative to the more normal bottles. Still, it usually sits in the back until I'm ready for a treat. It's a bit of an oddity for Armagnac as a non-vintage high-end concoction, but it certainly seems to have a bit of age on it.

Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac.jpg
Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac.jpg (119.64 KiB) Viewed 916 times


Nose: Surprisingly vivid for 40%. This is all dark, with bitter chocolate, nuts ('ripe' almonds), marshmallow, marzipan, tobacco leaf (maduro), and chocolate rum cake really hit the mark, along with rich and creamy vanilla. There some plum and maybe grape, but it's all rather subtle and tucked in the back, still a reminder that this is Armagnac and made of fruit. Coconut. Frosting. It's got an intoxicatingly rich vanilla extract perfume.

Palate: A little light on entry, sadly. It reminds me rather of the Tesseron Lot 29 for the light almost 'sugar-water' feel. This has definitely been reduced with water, which is a real shame. Some sort of flower petal and apricot are thrown into the mix, with the latter coming from the wood tannins, which quickly fade, but just after the perfect reminder of its time in barrel. More on frosting, coconut, marzipan, vanilla, and cocoa (unsweetened).

Finish: Superb. Dark chocolate and the absolutely finest and perfectly aged (supple) maduro cigar wrapper that you've ever discovered. Fat marzipan, not overly sweet. Coconut/frosting/vanilla as usual. It's that absolutely perfect set of 'dark' flavors that only the very best rums, whiskies, and bourbons even dream of achieving. A+

This is really just superb, and it has that profile that I wish that I could find in more dark spirits (e.g. rum), but can't find elsewhere - either in depth or quality. The only ding on this is the palate. If it were any richer and not so watered down, it would be perfect. Clearly and sublimely perfect. I would buy a case of it if it were closer to 45/6%. As it stands, I still keep wanting to get a second bottle. I certainly hope that the Lesgourgues happen to see this and decide to try adding less water to this. It stands, in terms of mouthfeel, like a fine Cognac, and almost forgets that it's Armagnac, a typically heartier spirit. That is the only thing keeping it from perfection.
numen
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Re: Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac

Postby BSinTX » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:58 pm

Awesome review!! While I cannot obtain this brand at TPS, there is a similar one from Castarede; it's a 20YO non-vintage. It's bottled at 40% (boooo, hissssss), but it's one of the very few products that isn't completely boring at this level. I compared it to the Darroze NV and it wasn't even a contest as the Castarede is a much better product for $10 more.


I'm heading to TPS on Saturday to spend some of my hard earned money and to have a talk with Jay. He's getting in some nice Cognacs and I would like to see about getting in a wider variety of Armagnacs. They seem to move from the shelves fairly quickly.
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Re: Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac

Postby numen » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:04 am

Thanks! Laubade does a lot of vintage bottlings as well, and this is a bit of the premium range blend, though I'm not entirely certain what's in it in terms of age. A few years back when I got this bottle, only two stores in the US were listing it, but it seems, mercifully, more widely available now. I gave some to a well-sampled buddy and am curious to know what he thinks of it, too.

Jay knows his stuff. I wish that the website were a bit more user-friendly, but they are getting some great bottles of stuff, especially bourbon. What sort of profile was in the Castarede?
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Re: Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac

Postby BSinTX » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:45 am

I brought a bottle of Elmer T. Lee bourbon with me down to Brazil to introduce everyone to good bourbon. Most Brazilians are not familiar with Kentucky (where I live), so when they see the "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey" on the label, it makes them very happy that I brought something from home (a racehorse is hard to pack!) The bourbon selection is fantastic; the fact that most of it has not crossed state lines makes it very affordable. I don't care how old it is or who made it, no bottle of bourbon is worth $100. I'm sure most Scotsmen would say the same thing about their whisky.

The Castarede was heavy on the vanilla and dried fruits; it went great with medium bodied cigars. What I found remarkable is that it was one of the few products I have ever tried at 40% ABV without complaining about it. I specifically bought it because the bottle I had purchased before was the Darroze NV and at 40%, it was rather bland. I wanted so see what an extra $10 could provide, and I remember seeing a video of Mrs. Castarede promoting her product. Aside from being an older woman who is sexy as can be, the French accent was just icing on the cake. A few weeks later, it was on the shelves at TPS and I figured that from the price range, it would be worth a try. I purchased the bottle in early spring (opening of cigar season) and so it didn't last very long.
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Re: Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac

Postby numen » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:21 pm

The excellent gentleman (and reviewer) Sku took a look at this and had a different view. It's definitely worth checking out-

http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2013/03/ ... agnac.html

I'll admit that I really loved this, but not long after I did this review the cork became completely lodged in the bottle. The brown faux-leather cover for the cork came off the actual cork, and it was impossible to grip the cork sufficiently to remove it. I got it off once a few months ago and poured a bit into a glass bottle, but didn't have anywhere to store the rest of it, so I plugged up the bottle with the cork and prayed for the best. The best was not to be. I was finally able to resume drinking today after a brief hiatus and decided to cut out the cork and put it into some new, empty glass bottles that I since purchased. I poured a bit for me, and, I must say, it's gone. I think that Sku does a great job picking out what's probably there, and he's absolutely right about the profile, but, sadly, what's actually left in the bottle is, I suspect, worse than what had been poured off into that 2oz bottle.

My guess is that the cork, despite being stuck, did not create a good seal, and the bottle oxidized rapidly over the months. There's an element of fruit and the sweetness, and some of the spice, but it's very limpid, bitter, and strongly of rubbing alcohol. When the Extra was recently opened, I liked it more than most all the same, so that's not hugely surprising, but it may be a message that this is not something that sits well on a shelf once open. I wonder whether anybody else had a problem with the cork (specifically, the glue on the grip came undone, so when I gave it a pull, the grip came off and broke, and the top of the cork was stuck deep in the neck.)
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Re: Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac

Postby BSinTX » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:55 pm

I don't know enough about or read enough about Sku, but he certainly seems to have a grasp on what is out there. I tend to agree with anyone who thinks a $350 a bottle pour should put it's arm across your shoulders, call you friend, and help you rest your worries away. I'm the same with cigars as well. I had the same reaction with the Delamain T.V. and just cannot justify the price.

I found another liquor store nearby and they had some non-vintage Armagnacs in stock; I typically won't bother with VSOP (sorry fellas, life is too short) but they seemed like decent products although the 40% ABV prevented me from buying on site. Do you hear this distillers??????? 40% ABV prevented me from buying!!!!!! I don't recall the names of the products, but I have been on the hunt for Laubade ever since you did this review. Even if I can't get the Extra, I'd jump on the XO as the price seems pretty reasonable for the product.
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Re: Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac

Postby numen » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:02 am

Sku's a great food/drink blogger from CA. He's also one of the more regular reviewers on the fun and useful site: http://www.lawhiskeysociety.com/

I'm usually fairly hesitant to spend that much on a bottle, and have a sense that it's going to be a hit. Sometimes it's a matter of rarity to explain the price. This seemed to be worth it, and definitely was, but it's not anymore (and not worth even 1/3 that), but that could be the result of the bad cork.
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Re: Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac

Postby numen » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:43 am

I tried this again this week and it was just... undrinkable. I'm not sure whether it was just the oxidation, the cork, or something else. I used an inert gas to try to save it, but it turned into acetone with the faintest recollection of sweet fruit, but altogether unsalvagable.
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Re: Chateau Laubade Extra Bas Armagnac

Postby Pierre » Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:57 pm

From my stop at Laubade last week, I've been told this is a blend of 30-50YO eaux-de-vie, actually many of them since the cellar master wanted it to be very complex. I'm not skilled enough to recognise that much complexity with two sips, however I found it quite pleasant, first thing I noticed was some lemony caracter on the nose, that I like a lot, and on the nose and finish some pastry qualities (maybe creamy vanilla as you said) that I also value a lot... But not as much as 180 euros a bottle I must say. It was truly more interesting than the Intemporel n°5, which is also not completely worth its 90-100 euros. I found their cask strengths more satisfying, the 1974 was really interesting and cheaper than the extra (with still 38 years in the barrel). Try to lobby your favourite seller to import those instead, and good luck to you ;)
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