So it may be gorgeous,
So it may not be famous,
Armagnac, twenty-one years old.
There’s a new release in the Master of Malt Single Cask Series charts, and the artist isn’t even Scottish! In fact, it’s not even whisky. (We do have some more Single Cask whiskies on the way shortly though… and not necessarily all from Scotland…) Extending the range into different spirit types entirely, we’re delighted to present our very first independent bottling of Armagnac!
Armagnac is located in South West France, on the other side of Bordeaux in comparison to Cognac.
Less well known, and far less consumed around the world than its illustrious cousin Cognac, Armagnac is a French brandy that actually has a considerably longer history. Made from similar varieties of grape (although in Armagnac they employ the qualities of the robust Baco, not used for Cognac), Armagnac is generally single distilled in a continuous ‘alambic’ still, and to a lower abv. The result is a much richer, more rustic, highly complex eau-de-vie de vin, with different soils and climates also playing their part. The choice of oak then used for maturation is also different, with Armagnac producers often favouring the local ‘black oak’ from Monlezun forest.
The very 19th century piece of kit in which our single cask bottling was distilled!
Our stunning single cask comes from Château de Castex, in the heart of Bas-Armagnac, which contains not only the majority of the vineyards but is known to produce the highest quality, most complex Armagnacs.
Château de Castex. Pretty.
From right there, if you were wondering.
Predominantly distilled and sold by small producers in modest quantities rather than by huge brands as is the case with Cognac, Armagnac has become increasingly popular with savvy spirit drinkers (including many whisky fans) who are looking for something that’s a little special, with a real point of difference in recent years. These are, by comparison, unexplored artisanal spirits. To give you an idea, when Château de Castex bottle under their own label they only do so to order, and only over 15 years of age, carrying a vintage.
We’ve been fortunate enough to get our hands on a fantastic cask, and from the moment we received a sample we knew we had to bottle it. So here it is…
Matured in local Gascon ‘black oak’, which provides body and stunning colour to the intense, fruity spirit, this single cask Armagnac was distilled on 1st September 1993 and was finally bottled at a staggering 58.6%! (Yes, we made sure we double checked that abv!)
Nose: Caramelised prunes, torn plums, sliced almonds, Garibaldi biscuits, cooked banana, vanilla and venerable chestnut notes. Green notes develop, cucumber skin, aloe, cactus oil, tomato stem and spring meadow. Opens with a drop of water. Avocado stone and a hint of smoke.
Palate: Palate entry is spicy, but you’re soon into those characteristic fragrant plums as well as rounded prunes and sticky dates, worn leather, then medicinal Buttercup syrup.
Finish: Cough medicine, getting into Covonia country now, some cooling Kräuterlikör, hints of chilli. Wow.
Overall: We look forward to whisky and Cognac fans tasting this one, as well as d’Armagnac aficionados. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff.
This is Gascony calling now.