Janneau XO Royal

Spirit Name:
Spirit Type:
Janneau XO Royal

 

Score:
92/100
3, medal, silver icon

ABV:
40%
Region:
Body:
Medium
Intensity:
Medium
Texture:
Medium-buttery
Balance:
Heavenly, almost perfect 
Best served:
Cask:
Aged: 
Distillation:

Neat
Predominately Limousin Oak
12-25 years
Single (80%), double (20%)
Theme(s):
Creamy vanilla, rum and raisin, dried fig, dates, chocolate shop, fresh, wood and oak, mild soft licorice, mild rancio, citrus blossoms, vanilla persimmon, mixed nuts, dried fruit  

Summary:
Armagnac in a glass, this brandy offers exquisite balance and pure harmony of flavours in a way that re-confirms the culinary genius of the French – some brandy may be too sweet or have an alcoholic “hot” twang, but the Janneau XO is “just right” with subtlety, balance, elegance and finesse.  
Tasting notes:
Readers of this website will know that Malt Mileage “blind” tastes and parallel tastes spirits so every effort is made to rate spirits without knowing what they are and side by side. Just like Goldilocks trying the chairs, beds and porridge of the three bears successively and discovering one one that is “just right”, at Malt Mileage parallel “blind” tasting reveals the subtle differences in spirits. On a parallel blind tasting of six VSOP and XO brandies, only the Janneau XO Royal was “just right”!
 
Elegance and finesse are two qualities that immediately come to mind when describing the Janneau XO Royal – an Armagnac that offers subtle sparks of artistry that dance on the tongue with panache and a silky smooth polished performance. I have only experienced a similar smoothness and balance with the finest XO and prestige cognacs – Hine Antique XO and Hennessy Paradis, to name a couple. 
 
The balance of this armagnac deserves special attention, because the oak influence acts as a counterbalance that moderates the sugars in a way that is very rarely seen with brandy and, in my experience, only brandies of the very finest quality. This is highly recommended for the malt lover because it has a delightful smoothness that is not interrupted,  as most brandies sometimes are, by the “hot” twang of alcohol and sugars that dominate and cloak the complex phenolic compounds imparted by the oak and maturation. This brandy allows the complex oak driven flavours to shine on the palate, lovely! 
 
Nose: The nose on this Armagnac is sweet, creamy, earthy, spicy and fruity, and, chocolaty. The Armagnac is sweet with raisins, preserved orange in syrup and dried figs, creamy with rum and raisin ice cream releasing notes of vanilla and gently milky sugars, earthy with pine and fresh green fields, spicy and fruity with orange peel, orange blossom and lemon based spices, and, chocolaty with chocolate cake releasing different shades of chocolate from the baked sponge to the more intense chocolate layering and sugary piping. This is magic.    
Taste: Smooth and slightly buttery, the oak weighs against the distillate and neither truly dominate – almost perfect! My grandfather grows fruit in his garden, which means that I am in the fortunate position of being able to identify vanilla persimmon and overripe blood plum, transplanted orange/lemon, orange blossom, grapes and fresh soft figs. Mouth filling, this brandy coats the tongue with a creamy layer of fruit goodness that is balanced with the oak – imagine a biting into dried fruit, freshly picked figs, persimmon, blood plums and grapes as the crunch of mixed nuts is followed by a sip of red wine, a block of dark chocolate and a worry free deep breath of fresh air by a blossoming lemon tree on a Spring afternoon. 
Finish: The finish lingers, with orange extract, lemon myrtle, thyme, cocoa and dates. The orange peel and citrus balances against the sweet dates, as the cocoa cuts through the creamy layer of vanilla that rests on the tongue. A slight red wine and rancio finish endures. 
 
Lemon blossoms in our garden

 

Likes:
Soft, subtle, creamy and balanced – beautiful!
Warning:
This is not so much a “dislike” but a warning. This brandy is elegant and gentle, with subtle nuances that deserve to be explored. 
Price:
£60 (UK), $100 (Aus)
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