News flash: The Glenlivet releases its “Captain’s Reserve” Cognac cask finished single malt

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The Glenlivet is poised to add yet another single malt to its line-up of whiskies: the “Captain’s Reserve”.  Continue reading “News flash: The Glenlivet releases its “Captain’s Reserve” Cognac cask finished single malt”

Tasting three European brandies: Hennessy VSOP, Vecchia Romagna and Asbach Urbrand

Brandy, the quintessential staple for booze loving grandmas the world over, is pretty cool in my book.

Growing up, brandy was used to disinfect my wounds and it was sprinkled on my socks to ward off the flu. It added kick to home-made tiramisu and flavoured my grandpa’s espresso. Continue reading “Tasting three European brandies: Hennessy VSOP, Vecchia Romagna and Asbach Urbrand”

Maxime Trijol VS Cognac

Type: Brandy 

Origin: Cognac, France  

ABV: 40% 

Malt Mileage rating: Stars 3.5

Reaction: 😊 Continue reading “Maxime Trijol VS Cognac”

Maxime Trijol VSOP Cognac

Type: Brandy 

Origin: Cognac, France  

ABV: 40%  Continue reading “Maxime Trijol VSOP Cognac”

DEAU Black

deau cognac

Rating: stars 4.5

Origin: Cognac, France

Type: Brandy

ABV: 40%

Price: $US150-$200 (USA)

DEAU Black is comprised of eaux-de-vie made from grapes that have grown in the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne regions of Cognac. DEAU mature this eaux-de-vie in new oak casks, which, being untouched virgin wood, would likely infuse the Cognac with heavy wood flavours. DEAU then move the brandy to older casks, which impart less tannins into the Cognac but still serve to mature the spirit.  DEAU Black takes its name from the colour of the tasting glasses that were used during blind tastings of the Cognac, a practice which I can only imagine is used to ensure the tasters are not prejudiced by the colour of the Cognac and instead only rely on aroma and taste. 

Nose:

The aroma of tropical fruits is first noticeable, with lychee, pineapple and other tropical fruit in syrup being most prominent. The layers of tropical fruit are accompanied by creamy chocolate, spice, bay-leaf, eucalyptus, honey, soy, BBQ Chinese pork, sizzling sweet and sour with pineapple, pine nuts, pistachio baklava, hazelnut gelato, lemon curd, menthol Turkish delight, truffle oil, walnuts, old leather and Christmas cake with icing.   

Palate:

The tropical fruit notes move seamlessly from the nose, but the lychee is fresh and the pineapple syrupy and tinned. Refreshing menthol then emerges with orange peel, citrus oils, sweet infused tea, fresh flowers, cocoa and curry powder. Mild wood notes and rigid spice, similar to cracked pepper, develop at mid-palate when the Cognac is aerated and slurped. 

Finish:

On the finish the palate is prickled by mild spices which are softened by sugars, glazed cherries, mild nutmeg, the taste of a freshly opened cigar box and teas galore – watery rose gray tea develops into a raw sugar sweetened milky earl grey tea, and then mildly nutty Russian Caravan tea with milk.  The taste of milk chocolate, nuts and red gum honey lingers as the tea notes fade. 

Bottom line:

Buy it, if you can find it and it is within your budget. This is a Cognac that glows with delicious flavours often associated with very old Cognac – find lychee and tropical fruit, eucalyptus and other notes. This is a serious Cognac, for the serious Cognac aficionado. 

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Maxime Trijol Classic XO

Maxime Trijol XO

Rating: ★★★

Origin: Cognac, France

Type: Brandy

ABV: 40%

The Maxime Trijol Grand Classic range consists a blend of eaux-de-vie made from mostly Ugni Blanc grapes that have been been grown in various Cognac “crus”, and then matured in French oak.  Information about which “crus” make up the Grand Classic range are particularly difficult to find, which gives me the impression that this information is not available from official sources. Make of it what you will, but as the below tasting notes show, the Maxime Trijol Classic XO seemed a somewhat slumber Cognac that may not appease serious Cognac drinkers.

Nose:

Minty toothpaste, peppery spice, papaya, dried dates, pitted prunes, brandied orange, lemon peel and soft black licorice emerge in what is quite a sugary bouquet, which is occasionally broken up by the occasional sting of alcohol and whiff of powdered milk.

Palate:

Fruit, dried figs, raisin, mild spice, oak and milk chocolate are soon overtaken by a minty freshness, and the palate then sweetens again with the faint flicker of spices.

Finish:

The finish is Sweet and syrupy with notes of cherry jubilee, chocolate sauce and toasted marshmallow.

Bottom line: 

Consider buying it, if you like Cognac with a sugary sweet edge. Maxime Trijol XO was a very enjoyable Cognac, though it did strike me as somewhat one dimensional with an over emphasis on fruit and sugars. That is by no means a bad thing, because it just comes down to taste. If you are after a fine sipping Cognac with sweet sugary notes, buy it. If you are looking for a Cognac with more rigid wood spice and adventurous rancio notes, stay away. It did not really strike a chord with me, and I doubt this Cognac will entertain the serious brandy aficionado. For most of the population, though, it seems to be a good XO cognac.

Match with: 

This Cognac serves as a great palate cleanser, and it matched particularly well with more bitter or tangy desserts – dark chocolate, citrus or fresh raspberry based desserts, for example.

Croizet XO Gold

Croizet XORating: ★★★★

Origin: Cognac, France

Type: Brandy

ABV: 40%

Price: A$179 (Aus), $US100 (USA)

Croizet XO Gold is made up of eaux-de-vie made from grapes that have been grown in the Grande Champagne region of Cognac in France, which is probably the most sought after Cognac “cru” because the chalky soil in Grande Champagne is known to help produce grapes that can be made into brandy with qualities for which Cognac is famous – finesse is among them. Once the grapes are made into wine and the wine is distilled into brandy, Croizet place the brandy in French oak barrels for a minimum of 10 years so that it can mellow and draw out flavours from the oak.

Nose: 

Soft fig, dates, brandied cherries and almond sit beneath wood notes that waft up with spices – at first pine and cedar is most noticeable, and then varnished wood hits the nostrils as it tingles with a teasing sweetness and lashes of dryness that is almost Oloroso or Fino cask in character. As the brandy rests, mint notes develop with licorice – quite toothpasty, if that’s a word, but delightful all the same. The fruit then sweetens, and it morphs into raspberry confectionery as hints of cocoa, vanilla, ground coffee and cigarette tobacco liven up the bouquet. The spice is the star of the show, so subtle and yet so vivid with its fiery pepper undertones carrying cardamom, cloves and dried chilli. Something savory then flickers, similar to Worcestershire sauce but for the Mexican aficionados among you also resembling Chipotle sauce. Just when the aroma dims from an overtired nose, mushrooms sautéed in butter and some pepper leap out.

Palate:

On the palate the brandy is initially smooth with the crystalline sugary sweetness of marmalade, dried dates and glazed cherries, and then the oak hits at mid-palate with lots of spice. The ethanol progressively becomes more aggressive in-tandem with the increasingly prominent oak notes, with anise seed from the eaux-de-vie brightening up the palate with mint – this is a distiller’s dream, the alcohol itself is really interesting even without the oak influence.

Finish:

The finish is drying and bitter, with notes of vinegar and saffron intermingling with a mildly sweet pear salad with balsamic and salt.

Bottom line:

Buy it. Croizet XO Gold is an interesting, complex and entertaining brandy that offers a variety of flavours that marry together nicely. The oak is big and bold, but the fruity heart of eaux-de-vie softens it at the right times to make for a cognac that is extremely drinkable. This is not a boring Cognac. Far from it. This is a Cognac that kept me sniffing and tasting with interest, and with each sniff and taste new aromas and flavours would emerge. It is a bit steeply priced for an XO Cognac, but its price is not overly excessive and I think it offers decent – though by no means excellent – value for what you are getting.

Match with:

A mild to medium cigar, such as a Macanudo or a Romeo y Julieta compliment the Cognac nicely. As for food, this struck me as a versatile Cognac that went well with a variety of foods.

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.