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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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Roger Groult produces Calvados in Pays d'Auge, France, using over 30 varieties of apple for a complex, intriguing flavour profile. Although the laws in Pays d'Auge say you are allowed to use pears in...  More info
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This is a half bottle of Fine Calvados (Calvados aged for over 2 years), it's a fruity, buttery, creamy spirit from Berneroy.  More info
$27.25
A VSOP Calvados from Pere Magloire, made with apples taken exclusively from the Pays d'Auge area of Normandy. For the VSOP, Pere Magloire aged this Calvados in oak casks for at least four years before...  More info
$47.24
The La Cuvée Vincent expression from Boulard's Calvados range is made with a blend of spirits that have been aged between three to six years in oak casks before being bottled. With a vibrant, exciting...  More info
$46.01
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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Hors d'Age Calvados from renowned producer, Boulard. Made with a selection of Pays d'Auge Calvados, which have been matured between 10 and 20 years, this expression strikes a great balance between the...  More info
$86.21
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
$109.10
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
$498.25
12 year old Calvados from Le Clos d'Orval - rich and complex with fragrant, vibrant apple freshness combined with classic oak-y spices. An excellent aperitif, and could also make for an interesting...  More info
$59.22
A well aged expression from Calvados producers Le Clos d'Orval. This Calvados has been matured in oak casks for 18 long years, developing exceptional, refined notes throughout. They've done those...  More info
$95.62
A 2 year old Calvados from Le Clos d'Orval - with its bright, lively, aromatic qualities, it makes for an excellent cocktail ingredient.  More info
$39.86
This Le Clos d'Orval Calvados spends a quarter of a century resting in oak casks before being bottled! 25 years is a long time, but the cider-based spirit from Le Clos d'Orval stands up to it very...  More info
$133.57
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
$458.38
Domfront, at the south of Calvados, is home to the Lemorton family. They create their elegant, fruity Calvados with a blend of 70% pears and 30% apples. They age the cider in oak for almost a year...  More info
$743.54
Daron XO Extra
(70cl, 40%)
Daron is made in the very heart of the Pays d'Auge in Calvados, and the company has been operated for five generations of the same family. Today, only the very first pressing of juice is used and the...  More info
User Rating: 
$64.44
A premium expression of Calvados from Roger Groult in Pays d'Auge. Using Calvodos which has aged for at least 18 years, there's no mistaking that this is an exquisite drink. While Groult only uses old...  More info
$118.64
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
$221.20
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
$88.13
Rich and very tasty 25 year old Calvados from Lemorton, the top producer in the Domfrontais region.  More info
$187.33
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
$80.39
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
$51.61
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
$43.13
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
$29.94
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
$41.48
From Le Clos d'Orval comes a 4 year old Calvados, rich in well-rounded sweetness. Yummy stuff. Ought to go well with mulled wine if you're looking for an alternative to brandy.  More info
$46.01
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