Dram Review: The Whisky Agency Very Find Old Cognac Single Cask Aged 49 Years

[49.2%・Aged 49 Years・Bottled in 2019・The Whisky Agency Bottling・Single Cask Lot 19 No. 70・Single Cask Release of 234 Bottles]

Nose:

Delicately and soulfully rewarding with the glowing juiciness of the grapes, brown sugar cured candied ginger and French crêpes with the saucy rum soaked raisins caramelising away. In time there is some bread yeast developing in the background.

Palate & Finish:

It’s not as radiant as the nose has suggested but it exudes elegance. Sophistication exemplified with the grapes without feeling over-aged. The intrinsic acidity promotes and prolongs the sweet citrus note. Preserved lemon treats well merged with the refined woody body.

Wee notes of leather and fruit cakes, subtle but mesmerising..

Thoughts:

There is a certain je ne sais quoi with the nose, it’s enlightening and stimulating, yet ultimately there is a sense of self-preservation; a passing conversation with Ms. Eva Green perhaps..

They say French women age gracefully, it would appear the same could be said about this cask..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Louis XIII de Rémy Martin

[40.0%・NAS・Bottled Circa 2016・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

The nose is elegant and composed.  Complex fragrances from a broad spectrum but certainly not overwhelming; balanced acidity complimented by an understated sweetness and a fine brush of clay earthiness.  The aromas of white fruits and white flowers are effortlessly pleasing, with jasmine and orange blossom leading way.  The oak is of course present but there doesn’t seem to be any suggestion of the spirit being over-oaked.  Light cinnamon dust on prunes, only a little drying.  The aromas retain through time but evolve into notes of dark chocolate and a heavier floral musk.

Palate & Finish:

Syrupy prunes and figs with a light brush of cinnamon.  The sweetness from the grapes provide a lovely coating.  A splash of black pepper, cinnamon and peppermint before the arrival of toffee creaminess on the mid-palate.  The back-palate has traces of Vienna almonds and liquorice stretching on as the oak gently sets in.

The finishing is elongated and without any harshness.  A touch drying towards the back end.

Thoughts:

I was told that the minimal age of the cognac blended into this release is 40 years, with the oldest coming from the 1917 vintage.

The nose is mellow but magnificent as one’d expect.  That continues through out its delivery yet staying true to what the curation is inherently meant to be.. pleasing to novices and connoisseurs alike, serving attractive flavours that are easy to understand whilst allowing all the finer details to be discovered by the more experienced drinkers.

The balance of oak is particularly well kept considering the age of the cognacs that went into it.

What a bliss.

Thank you Mr. Desmond Fung of Swiss Concept and Mr. Vincent Cuche of Vacheron Constantin for the invite to the intimate dinner featuring the beautifully crafted Overseas and thank you Mr. Morgan de Premorel of Rémy Martin for sharing the Louis XIII with us.

Also cheers to Mr. Haoming Wang for letting us use the photo of the Louis XIII. You can learn more about his works on http://www.haomingwang.photos

☆☆

-Nicholas

“Malternative” Review: Gelas Single Cask Double Matured Bas-Armagnac

I don’t exactly know who coined the term “malternative”, I presume it’s Mr. Serge Valentin of WhiskyFun. It appears to be a term that most people associate with rum; quite possibly “the next up and coming spirit” seeing how well the recent Caroni releases were received. However, as whiskies continue to surge in prices, it’s really anything that’s as enjoyable and doesn’t necessarily cost as much as whiskies.. which brings me to this Gelas Single Cask.

Armagnacs has long been known as the value pick by those who are in the know. However it does take a bit of getting used to if you are the typical cask strength whisky only guy. In that sense, this Gelas Bas-Armagnac would serve as a good entry point. It’s not often to see Armagnac bottled at cask strength and I must say, looking at the label, you would almost think this is a whisky – single cask, double matured, oloroso. 

It’s been said that venturing into other types of spirits will give you a boarder sense of what makes a good spirit; which in turns helps further your appreciation in malts.. I think this expression does just that.

Frangrant on the nose, that earthy musk somewhat unfairly associated with Armagnac (not all Armagnacs are made the same) is here. Sweet pitted red cherries coated with a brush of dark chocolate sauce with newly shaved french oak and a light tobacco note. Crushed black pepper and a light cheddar note.

The palate is where the oloroso really shines through, it’s less cask influenced like whiskies but it appears to be more orientated on the nature of oloroso itself. Oloroso is itself a light liquor that conveys a some what dry, cheesy note. Of course there is the acidic nature from the grapes sourced to craft the Armagnac new make, then it becomes more alluring with sweet muscat grapes well wrapped in a silly chocolate note. A sprinkle of black truffles atop to add to the mystique as well.

The higher alcohol content seems to prolong the delicate nature of Armagnac well onto the finish, that well cured woody note now lingers in the mouth cavity, with orange peel preserve surfacing which brings a sense of brightness to it.

I will unequivocally recommend this for those who seek for something different that still offers a familiarity of the spirit they know and love; this is a nip that really opened my eyes to the uncharted terrortory of Armagnac.

-Nicholas