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Calvados

The Calvados region is located in Basse-Normandie (Lowe Normandy), where apple cider was brewed perhaps as early as the 8th century and, today, Calvados is one of France’s best loved brandies, though unlike the grape brandies Cognac and Armagnac, Calvados is distilled from cider.

Whilst the popularity of French apple brandy grew, taxation and prohibition more or less contained it within the Calvados area, and after the French Revolution when the area was properly identified, the term Calvados was already in common usage when referring to apple brandy. The phylloxera outbreak during the 19th century ruined so many vineyards that Calvados experienced a boom of popularity – it being unaffected by the pest.

Calvados is a very popular digestif, and in France it is enjoyed as part of a “café-calva” – a hot coffee served with a glass of Calvados.

Calvados is distilled from a number of different apple varieties (over 200 are legally permitted), and it is not uncommon for there to be over 100 different varieties used to make a single Calvados. A combination of sweet, tart and inedible bitter apples are used to attain the right balance of flavour.

The apples are usually picked by hand, and are pressed and fermented to make cider. This is then distilled; either twice in a traditional Alembic, or singly in a continuous column still. The former still produces complex, well-ageing Calvados and the latter accounts for fresh, tangy, approachable Calvados.

The spirit is aged for a minimum of two years in oak casks, though it is not unusual for it to be aged for substantially longer – often decades.

Did you know?... ...Calvados is often enjoyed as part of “le trou Normand”, in which a small glass of Calvados is taken between courses in a meal, often with sorbet, as a palate cleanser.

Calvados

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The Camut family has been making calvados for nearly two centuries. This is a delicious spirit created in pot stills, the oldest of which dates back to the 1920s. The result is a big, spiced apple...  More info
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Although Calvados is made using distilled cider, it's not the type of drink you're going to hear The Wurzels singing about in a Somerset pub. Calvados must be aged over 6 years to be graded XO, but...  More info
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Château du Breuil guard the secrets to this, their top of the range Calvados, very closely. We're told that it's very old, and that the blend is painstakingly crafted with great skill by the Cellar...  More info
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A French delight that bursts with fresh apple flavours, Père Magloire Pommeau de Normandie is made using a mix of their fantastic Calvados and apple cider must, which is then aged for 3 years. Serve...  More info
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Apples! Gorgeous fruits! No peeling, no mess, portable - they've got it all and more. They even make Calvados! This is a 1960s bottle of Calvados from Fermicalva, a neat piece of history from our...  More info
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This XO Calvados from Normandy distillery Boulard is named in homage to their founder, Pierre Auguste. All the way back in 1825, he opened the house, and since then, the great Calvados has been...  More info
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After seven years of crafting, Boulard finally settled on the recipe for their Boulard Extra, made with a selection of very old and elegant Calvados. It was certainly worth the time, as this supremely...  More info
$523.85
15 year old Calvados from Pays d'Auge, made by Roger Groult, a highly respect name in the Calvados industry. We imagine he's quite proud of his produce, not unlike the chap on the presentation box...  More info
$93.46
Château du Breuil VSOP is distilled from fruit from the 42 hectares of hillside orchards before maturation in Troncais or Limousin oak. Soft and rounded.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
$45.81
15 year old Calvados, bottled by Alchemist. This is produced at Domaine Christian Drouin, a Calvados producer of legendary esteem.  More info
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Aged for between 40 and 50 years, Adrien Camut distil this the family's stills, one of which was made in the 1920s! The spirit enters the barrels at 62%abv, and after maturation this offers up notes...  More info
$472.37
The Roger Groult family distillery can be found in the hills of the Pays d'Auge, where they've been making their Calvados for 5 generations! Distilled twice in traditional direct-fired stills, this...  More info
$54.76
Another very fine, and very old calvados from Adrien Camut. This is a rich, aromatic spirit with oodles of complexity, as you might expect from a calvados composed of spirit aged for between 35 and 50...  More info
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A half bottle of Domaine Dupont's 1997 Calvados. They make this with a mix of 30% sweet apples, 30% bitter, and 40% highly acidic apples. The result is a great deal of complexity and balance.  More info
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Produced in the heart of the Calvados region, this is a fine, aromatic spirit, with notes of butterscotch, apple and spice.  More info
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A 1994 vintage Château du Breuil, distilled from apples grown on the company's 22,000 apple trees in Normandy.  More info
$103.30
A deliciously soft, rich and fruity Calvados made with spirit aged for between eight and fifteen years in oak. For the first part of its maturation, Calvados Coquerel is rested in new oak barrels...  More info
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Fine Coquerel is distilled using the continuous distillation process, and matured in small oak barrels. It's an apply calvados blended from spirit aged two years minimum.  More info
$31.75
This calvados is distilled in a still using the continuous distillation process and is matured in small oak barrels. Vieux is based on a blend of different apples.  More info
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1989 vintage from Domaine Dupont, aged in 400 litre casks from the Loire valley. Dupont use a selection of apples, 30% sweet, 40% highly acidic and 30% bitter. The result is a wonderfully balanced...  More info
1989 Vintage Calvados from top producer Domaine Dupont, aged in 400 litre casks from the Loire valley. Dupont use a selection of apples, 30% sweet, 40% highly acidic and 30% bitter. The result is a...  More info
Distilled at Domaine Dupont in 1977, this calvados is bottled at cask strength to maximise its complexity and concentration. It is distilled from 80% bittersweet apples, and 20% tart apples, which are...  More info
$252.43
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