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Brandy Banter

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@paddockjudge
paddockjudge started a discussion

A number of Connosr members have expressed an interest in Brandy over the years. I, for one, indulge in Armagnac from time to time, the occasional Cognac too. There are some who fancy Calvados and other varieties. What is your pleasure?

2 months ago

20 replies

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

One of my favourite brandies, 1981 Bas-Armagnac Delord bottled in 2014. An LCBO Exclusive (they got this one right).

2 months ago 4Who liked this?

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@YakLord
YakLord replied

I keep at least one bottle of brandy open at any given time. Right now its a 1999/2018 Baron Gaston Legrand Bas Armagnac, which we opened for our 19th Anniversary back in 2018.

2 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

Good idea for a thread @paddockjudge!

I got a Baron De Sigognac 10 Ans Bas Armagnac at Xmas and I have to say I have been a bit disappointed with it. Very harsh and nippy (is that the style? I'd assume not but I don't know) on the nose and it follows through onto the palate with little flavour and a non existent finish.

The nose is quite nice, if you're patient - with lots of nuts, caramel and raisin and a little oak - but it tastes far too weak and watery with, as mentioned, that unpleasant nip.

I've decanted it and decided to leave it for a few months to see what happens.

Loved my last bottle of Carlos 1 Spanish brandy though - Very sweet, lots of vanilla and sherry notes (aged in ex-bodega sherry casks). Still weak on the palate but certainly quaffable.

2 months ago 2Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@RianC, my experience with Armagnac has taught me it often smells better than it tastes, especially the younger iterations. It needs time in oak to mellow, a long time. I find the transition from candied and bright, to rich and chewy, possibly with hints of rancio, occurring around the twenty-five year mark. This is not a hard and fast rule as the quality and condition of the oak barrels will be a determining factor. Every once in a while you may come across one where the palate exceeds the nose and the finish pleasantly encourages you to try another.

There are many fine young Armagnac to be found. Last year @fiddich1980 introduced me, as well as @Nozinan, and @crickelwood to a fine young cask strength release of Bas Armagnac Chateau De Bordeneuve 2008. A spicy little number at 49.2% abv. Good balance, a sweet and bright (a hint of nutmeg?) entry followed by oak tannins carrying through to a clean, honeyed, peppery finish. Good value for $80 - $90 CDN.

There are higher proof Armagnac, single barrel Armagnac, blended, single source, etc,. Each of these characteristics contribute to the overall quality of this particular style of brandy. Sharing information, and possibly a few pours, will help us all in our understanding of these intoxicating spirits.

2 months ago 3Who liked this?

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@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@paddockjudge I agree with your assessment of this young and rich Armagnac. I am (slowly) enjoying my bottle thanks to your alerting me to it. I was lucky to find a second bottle which I will give to my son one day, as it was distilled the year he was born.

No discussion of Brandy is complete without the mention of Fred's Spirit, which I tasted in Manas, in Xinjiang China, straight from the cask. Created at China's largest winery, by a Frenchman (Fred), I later received as a gift an unmarked bottle containing the cask strength liquid a little further on in maturation. I taste and share it rarely, but willingly.

2 months ago 4Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Nozinan, Fred's Spirit, from Manas, in Xinjiang China, is a beautifully crafted eau-de-vie. It is truly delightful and and a feelgood story about Fred who is a French winemaker plying his trade in China...and experimenting with brandy making. I think he's doing a great job! ...and...@Nozinan, thank you for sharing!

2 months ago 4Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@paddockjudge Having met him and his ascerbic personality, the idea of a "feel good" story gave me a chuckle...

2 months ago 1Who liked this?

@casualtorture

Unfortunately I never made it to Xinjiang during my time in China. I loved their restaurants. Like a mix of Chinese and Middle Eastern cuisine. A French winemaker in Xinjiang of all places. My wife makes it seem like western China is desolate.

2 months ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@casualtorture the capital was the most crowded city I saw. Even Shehezi was a “town” of a million. They produce more fruits and vegetables than anywhere in the world I am told.

And the food was awesome!

And the wine was exported to France. Apparently popular in ..... Chinese restaurants.

2 months ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@casualtorture I am not a wine expert, but the oak aged red was quite tasty, and the sweet white (my wife likes sweet wine) as well.

2 months ago 1Who liked this?

@casualtorture

@Nozinan I've not learned to enjoy wine like I do whisky. But I do like anything made with Dornfelder grapes. It's a German sweet red wine. That's about the extent of my wine knowledge.

2 months ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@casualtorture I visited a winery in Nova Scotia where they create wines in the Amarone style (grape drying). y favourite wine comes from there. It's 500 cc bottles but as the only red wine drinker in my home, I rarely get to taste it.

2 months ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

@paddockjudge - I have a sample of an older Armagnac from @cricklewood that I'm yet to try - it will make an interesting comparison. Cheers, mate.

2 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

Brandy is distilled wood-aged spirit made from wine. Wine is fermented fruit. There are vast universes within universes of experiences available in all of these types of spirits. I like them all. I've had some outstanding examples in several various categories of fruit spirits. It's a big world I intend to explore further. At this point I am not at all sure that I prefer grape spirits to spirits from other fruits, especially plums. Apples, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, they all make some outstanding spirits in the hands of a skilled operator.

@paddockjudge when next you visit my sister, try her 9 or so apple brandies. Or one of her 4 or so plum brandies/Slivovitzes. She and I have both become Slivovitz people. My general preference in spirits by category is: 1) whisky, 2) tequila, 3) Slivovitz, 4) Rhum Agricole.

2 months ago 4Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Victor I hope that invitation is flexible in terms of number of people invited....

2 months ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@Nozinan you are always included!

2 months ago 2Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Victor, I can't wait to visit! I am looking forward to sampling many Calvados and Slivovitz. Naturally I'll be travelling with @Nozinan, he recently purchased a new automobile.

29 days ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@paddockjudge The man who started me on my road to perdition / whiskey journey first gave me a bottle of scotch and a bottle of cognac. His second gift was Calvados. I have still not opened it. But I admit I remain curious...

28 days ago 3Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

One year into this pandemic and I’ve not done much other than work. My recreation targeted dollars were piling up, creating a conflict with my disposable income. Not to worry, I quickly resolved that situation by focusing on Independent Bottlings, Armagnac, Cognac, and Rum. It didn’t take long to balance the surplus.

This particular bottle is a bucket list bottle, a vintage from my birth year. Normally out of my reach yet more affordable than whisky of the same age, obtainable only because of an abnormal situation. I have not opened it, that will happen when I am able to enjoy it with family and friends.

15 days ago 5Who liked this?

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Liked by:

t@OdysseusUnbound@fiddich1980@RianC@YakLord + 2 others

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