DEAU Louis Memory

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Rating: ★★★★

ABV: 40%

Origin: Cognac, France

Try it with: Romeo y Julieta No 1 cigar (Cuba)

Romeo y Julieta No 1

DEAU is a cognac producer with a rich history spanning several generations of the Bru Legaret family. Despite such a rich history its eaux-de-vie was mostly used by other cognac houses in France until quite recently, but nowadays the Bru Legaret family produce cognac under their own brand: DEAU, in honour of Louis Deau who settled in the Cognac region of France during the reign of Louis XIV.

Malt Mileage has been extremely lucky to secure cognacs comprising the DEAU Cognac range, including the DEAU VS, VSOP, Napoléon, XO, Black and Louis Memory. In this post Malt Mileage reviews the DEAU Louis Memory.

Cognac Louis Memory is made from grapes grown in the much revered Grande Champagne region of Cognac in France, the oldest of which were harvested at the beginning of the 20th century and the youngest were harvested in the 1970’s according to DEAU. That makes the youngest cognacs in the bottle at least 35 years old and the oldest around 100 years old or a little more.

Perhaps the most striking quality of the DEAU Louis Memory in my tasting of it was how well its flavours matched a good quality cigar. On hitting the tongue, the cognac was fruity with waves of soothing vanilla creaminess and this washed away the aftertaste of the cigar, and with the palate refreshed the cognac began to emit bright shades of eucalyptus and mint amidst the fruity undertones as a nuttiness began to emerge towards the finish with hints of umami. It was that flicker of umami on my taste buds that signaled I was ready for another puff of the cigar, and with that puff the remaining nutty and umami notes from the cognac accentuated beautifully the smooth tobacco smoke of the Romeo y Julieta No 1 Cuban cigar. The DEAU Louis Memory struck me as a cognac that is – whether I am right or wrong – designed for cigars in mind because the shades of rancio evident in its flavour profile cleared the palate up to mid-palate but towards the finish the emerging nuttiness and umami notes accentuated the proceeding puffs of the cigar.

The bouquet is quite fragrant, fruity and floral with notes of lavender, menthol, licorice, cigar tobacco, coconut, red candy, ripe peach, perfumed soap and hints of ground coffee with undertones of peanut satay. On the palate shades of rancio shine brightly – fruit, waves of soothing vanilla creaminess and hints of earthy mushroom and soy sauce emerge on the entry, then brightening eucalyptus and menthol notes emerge at mid-palate only to fade into the finish, gradually replaced by a nuttiness and umami character.

DEAU Napoléon

DEAU NapoleonScore: 91/100

ABV: 40%

Origin: Cognac, France

DEAU is a cognac producer with a rich history spanning several generations of the Bru Legaret family. Despite such a rich history its eaux-de-vie was mostly used by other cognac houses in France until quite recently, but nowadays the Bru Legaret family produce cognac under their own brand: DEAU, in honour of Louis Deau who settled in the Cognac region of France during the reign of Louis XIV.

Malt Mileage has been extremely lucky to secure cognacs comprising the DEAU Cognac range, including the DEAU VS, VSOP, Napoléon, XO, Black and Louis Memory. In this post Malt Mileage reviews the DEAU Napoléon Cognac.

A Napoléon cognac is one that is aged in oak barrels for least six years, which means that it is aged for the same minimum time as an XO cognac. They are usually marketed however as the middle ground between a VSOP and XO Cognac. The DEAU Napoléon Cognac is taken from eaux-de-vie grown in the first crus of the Cognac region, Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Fins Bois and Bons Bois. This means that it is a blend of cognacs produced from grapes that are grown in these different parts of the Cognac region, so the distiller appears to be aiming for its own unique product that does not too heavily rely on the traits associated with eau-de-vie from a particular region.

The bouquet is quite rich and presents with the aromas of dried fruit, raspberry candy, spice, licorice and the vegetal burn of wasabi peas. On the palate the cognac has a smooth entry and bursts with rich dried fruit, licorice, blackberries and the brightening glow of mint with undercurrents of something lush and vegetal. On the finish the underlying fruitiness of the eaux-de-vie recedes, giving way to cherry liquor dark chocolate and transparent oak tannins that gently dry the palate.

Overall, DEAU Napoléon Cognac is a dangerously drinkable cognac that is vibrant, fruity, sweet and sensationally smooth with a balance that seems to err towards the eaux-de-vie over the oak. It is a cognac that I particularly enjoy sipping while being fixated on my favourite show, because it is extremely “more-ish”, flavoursome and yet simple.

Hine Homage

Hine homageScore: 87/100

ABV: 40%

Origin: Cognac, France (aged in the UK)

Price: $120

Hine Homage is a blend of “early landing cognacs” from three vintages – 1984, 1986 and 1987 – that were distilled from fermented grapes grown in the Grande Champagne region of Cognac, known as the best place to grow grapes for cognac due to its chalky soil. In an interesting twist, these vintages were matured in the United Kingdom together with some extra old cognacs that had already been aged in Hine’s warehouse in Jarnac, France.

An “early landed cognac” is a cognac that reaches British shores before it is two years old and is then aged. They have an interesting character that is different to their cousins that are aged in Cognac, France. The cold temperature in England means that the cognac absorbs the oak flavours differently than in France. The cold of England may tighten the oak pores and cause the alcohol to drop without much evapouration, which in turn means that cognac aged in England may not soak up the colours and flavours of oak barrels (and the cellars) as much as cognac aged in France. “Early landed cognac” tends to offer more crisp fresh fruit and grape but less wood influence than cognac of similar age matured in France. This one, for instance, offers crisp clean fruit but without the cheesy truffle notes commonly associated with “rancio” (a characteristic often seen in Cognac aged for at least 10 years). That pronounced fruitiness means that the aromas and flavours of the grape and particular vintage years can be explored.

The vintages – 1984, 1986 and 1987 – are important. Cognac is basically distilled wine, so the character of the wine is concentrated. If a year is particularly hot, then the grapes will be too ripe and this will result with cognac that is flat and lazy. The bad news is that 1984 and 1987 are recognised as poor years for brandy, so it is believed that grapes grown in 1984 and 1987 tend to produce cognacs lacking in depth and complexity.* That leaves 1986, and this may explain why Hine decided to make this a blend – the vintages may work better that way.

They do.

The bouquet offers orange, lemon peel, saffron, acidic white grape and hints of licorice. It is essentially what you would expect of an “early landed cognac” – lots of fruit, citrus, grape and some waves of oak but nothing compared to cognacs of the same age matured in France. This cognac is fresh and crisp, but somewhat lazy with only occasional surges of sprightly citrus. On the palate the entry is unspectacular, but then at mid-palate some magic happens – denser orange extract, licorice, burnt peel, chocolate and fruit emerge, fading into a finish that retains orange slices dusted with cocoa but introduces Sambuca and earthy undertones of mushroom.

Overall, Hine Homage is a crisp, fresh and fruity cognac with – as expected from cognac aged in the UK – less oak influence than most cognac aged in France and of a similar age.  It is somewhat of a slothful cognac on the nose and the entry, but then at mid-palate it tries its darnedest to redeem itself – a slow starter that gets there in the end. Hine Homage is a great example of an “early landed cognac” that is sure to please people who enjoy soft, fruity cognacs with some bite at mid-palate. I sure did, whatever they might say about vintages!

Buy up big, “early landed cognacs” will be illegal from 2020!