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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.

Domaine Dupont Millésime 1977

70cl, 42%
Domaine Dupont

A 1977 vintage very well-aged Calvados from top producer Domaine Dupont!  More info

Domaine Dupont Millésime 1977
$241.03

Christian Drouin Réserve des Fiefs Calvados Pays d'Auge

70cl, 40%
Christian Drouin

This is Christian Drouin's Réserve des Fiefs Calvados, crafted with spirits which have been matured for at least three years. Refreshing and vibrant, with hints of spicy oak peeking through on the…  More info

Christian Drouin Réserve des Fiefs Calvados Pays d'Auge
$57.12

Lecompte 18 Year Old Calvados

70cl, 40%
Distillerie Lecompte

This spectacularly complex and balanced Calvados is one to contemplate and savour. It benefits from a long maturation period in small barrels, before the Lecompte Cellar Master moves it into oak vats…  More info

Lecompte 18 Year Old Calvados
1
$130.41

Chauffe Coeur VSOP

70cl, 43%
Chauffe Coeur

Made using fruit from the orchards near the village of Cambremer, in the heart of Calvados. Chauffe Coeur VSOP is aged in 120 litre Limousin oak barrels for 6 years.  More info

Chauffe Coeur VSOP

Boulard La Cuvée Vincent

70cl, 40%
Boulard

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,…  More info

Boulard La Cuvée Vincent
$31.78

Busnel VSOP Calvados Pays d'Auge

70cl, 40%
Busnel

The VSOP expression from Pays d'Auge Calvados producer, Busnel. Following its double distillation, this Calvados spends at least 4 years in oak casks before being bottled, resulting in a depth of…  More info

Busnel VSOP Calvados Pays d'Auge
1
$29.09

Le Clos d'Orval 2 Year Old Fine Calvados

70cl, 40%
Le Clos d'Orval

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

Le Clos d'Orval 2 Year Old Fine Calvados
$31.60

Le Clos d'Orval 4 Year Old Calvados

70cl, 40%
Le Clos d'Orval

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

Le Clos d'Orval 4 Year Old Calvados
$37.44

Père Magloire Carte Jaune Calvados - 1970s

70cl, 40%
Pere Magloire

'Yellow Card' Calvados from Père Magloire, who really know their onions apples. This bottling is thought to date from the 1970s.  More info

Père Magloire Carte Jaune Calvados - 1970s

Le Lieu Chéri 5 Year Old

70cl, 42%
Le Lieu Chéri

Five year old Calvados Pays d'Auge from Lieu Cheri, who have 4 generations of experience of general apple deliciousness behind them. Great as an aperitif, or as an alternative to an after-dinner…  More info

Le Lieu Chéri 5 Year Old
$44.33

Le Clos d'Orval Calvados 12 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Le Clos d'Orval

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

Le Clos d'Orval Calvados 12 Year Old
$64.05

Pére François VS Calvados

70cl, 40%
Pére François

This is the VS Calvados from the Père Francoise, a good entry level expression for those of you looking for a yummy alternative digestif spirit. This has been aged in Limousin oak casks.  More info

Pére François VS Calvados
$39.62

Le Clos d'Orval 30 Year Old Calvados

70cl, 40%
Le Clos d'Orval

30 year old Calvados from Le Clos d'Orval - one of their oldest expressions! An impressively well-aged French spirit, sure to impress as a postprandial drink.  More info

Le Clos d'Orval 30 Year Old Calvados
$112.87

Lemorton Vieux Calvados 1985

70cl, 40%
Lemorton

A vintage Calvados that reaches far back into the warehouses of Lemorton - this particular bottling is made exclusively with Calvados distilled in 1985! Impressively old stuff.  More info

Lemorton Vieux Calvados 1985
$197.25

Le Clos d'Orval 18 Year Old Calvados

70cl, 40%
Le Clos d'Orval

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

Le Clos d'Orval 18 Year Old Calvados
$70.13

Le Lieu Chéri 10 Year Old Calvados Pays d'Auge

70cl, 42%
Le Lieu Chéri

A 10 year old Pays d'Auge Calvados from apple aficionados, Lieu Cheri. A delicious postprandial drink.  More info

Le Lieu Chéri 10 Year Old Calvados Pays d'Auge
$48.22

Domfrontais 12 Year Old Calvados

70cl, 41%
Pacory

This Calvados from the Pacory distillers was aged for 12 years before it was bottled, resulting in a flavour profile which is well balanced between expressive fruit and bold, oak-y spice.  More info

Domfrontais 12 Year Old Calvados
$54.36

Pere Magloire Calvados XO

70cl, 40%
Pere Magloire

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

Pere Magloire Calvados XO

Adrien Camut Reserve de Semainville

70cl, 40%
Adrien Camut

Aged for between 20 and 25 years, this is a voluptuous, complex Calvados from top producers Adrien Camut. The ultimate digestif? Quite possibly…  More info

Adrien Camut Reserve de Semainville
1
$155.29

Domfrontais 20 Year Old Calvados (40%)

70cl, 40%
Pacory

Calvados makes for an excellent alternative to after-dinner whiskies or Cognac, and this 20 year old expression from Pacory would certainly round off a fine meal perfectly.  More info

Domfrontais 20 Year Old Calvados (40%)
$72.94

Adrien Camut 12 Year Old Calvados

70cl, 40%
Adrien Camut

This is a delicious 12 year old Calvados produced at the Domaine de Semainville in the heart of the Pays d'Auge. The spirit is aged in oak barrels which are never more than 75% full. This increases…  More info

Adrien Camut 12 Year Old Calvados
$86.90

Château du Breuil Réserve des Seigneurs XO (2L)

200cl, 41%
Château du Breuil

A 20 year old Calvados from the excellent Château du Breuil. Full bodied with oak tannins, this premium Calvados from Normandy is best served at room temperature. This is a splendidly sizeable 2…  More info

Château du Breuil Réserve des Seigneurs XO (2L)
$175.28

Domaine Dupont Millésime 1954

70cl, 41%
Domaine Dupont

An incredibly long-aged Calvados Pays d'Auge from Domaine Dupont, distilled all the way back in 1954! Absolutely mind-boggling.  More info

Domaine Dupont Millésime 1954

Lemorton 1979 Vieux Calvados

70cl, 40%
Lemorton

A long-aged Calvados from Lemorton's range of vintages, stretching back into the 1970s. This particular bottling was made with Calvados exclusively distilled in 1979 - the same year that Fleetwood…  More info

Lemorton 1979 Vieux Calvados
$196.57

Lemorton 20 Year Old Vieux Calvados

70cl, 40%
Lemorton

20 year old Calvados, produced by the Lemorton family. While Calvados is often seen as a mostly cider-apple-based spirit, Lemorton use a rather high percentage of pears in their expressions - not…  More info

Lemorton 20 Year Old Vieux Calvados

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