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Armagnac

Armagnac is often referred to as the oldest and youngest brandy in France.  The oldest because it was first distilled in the middle of the 15th century in adapted perfume stills, probably brought over by the Moors. It is regarded as the youngest because the Armagnaçais are still arguing over how to distil it. The Armagnac region has always been a very special example of that exclusive concept, la France profonde.  It is located well away from the madding crowds, motorways and the industrial eyesores of modern France, about a hundred miles south of Bordeaux.  The gentle, fair and fertile countryside is a land of near perfect rural paradise and home to rich food such as foie gras and truffles. Countless small firms distil their wine here by using a single or continuous distillation method. The distillation range is between 52 – 72 % abv which allows a greater fruitiness in the spirit, although usually at the expense of smoothness and refinement of the brandy. The grapes used are similar to those grown for making cognac.  Armagnac is also aged in oak barrels for many years, until perfected, and then removed from the wood and kept in glass bonbonnes. Some very rare, old armagnacs may date from the 19th century.  Others still share the exclusivity with the fruitiness and rich, pruney flavours created in this land of rural bliss, known today as Gascony.

The armagnac vineyard area (around twelve thousand hectares) is only about a fifth of the size of its big brother cognac, to the north.  However, the individual skills of the many small producers have created a wealth of individual, aged armagnacs.   The range of vintages available from the twentieth and twenty first centuries is immense but the stock of each is rapidly dwindling as demand outstrips supply.  Here at Brandyclassics we stock a range beyond the reach of many collectors and connoisseurs and we specialise in those from the top cru, Bas Armagnac.

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  1. Castarède 1938 Bas Armagnac
    A rarity in the Castarede range, the 1938 is one of only a few of this vintage still available and precious few can be found with any other supplier.
    Aroma:
    Aroma: There are aromas of cedar, crystallised fruits and prunes but more complex smells of straw and nuts are also in existence.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: There is a richness of crystallised fruits in syrup flavour but also flavours of roasted nuts. These armagnacs have delightfully subtle flavours
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    Excl. VAT: £1,045.42 Incl. VAT: £1,254.50

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    A rarity in the Castarede range, the 1938 is one of only a few of this vintage still available and precious few can be found with any other supplier.
    Aroma:
    Aroma: There are aromas of cedar, crystallised fruits and prunes but more complex smells of straw and nuts are also in existence.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: There is a richness of crystallised fruits in syrup flavour but also flavours of roasted nuts. These armagnacs have delightfully subtle flavours
    Learn More
  2. Castarède 1940 Bas Armagnac

    This is quite pruney and has a deeper flavour than some of the other armagnacs in the Castarede range and probably distilled outside the normal Castarede range of distillers.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: This is quite pruney and has a deeper flavour than some of the other armagnacs in the Castarede range
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    Excl. VAT: £988.47 Incl. VAT: £1,186.16

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    This is quite pruney and has a deeper flavour than some of the other armagnacs in the Castarede range and probably distilled outside the normal Castarede range of distillers.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: This is quite pruney and has a deeper flavour than some of the other armagnacs in the Castarede range
    Learn More
  3. Castarède 1944 Bas Armagnac

    A good year for this armagnac. It is round and with good balance, flavours of crystalised and dried fruits but with a richness and slight mustiness of a true rancio.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: Very complex and pleasant, spicy aromas of vanilla and cinnamon, with old leather and touches of butter
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Crystallised and dried fruits. Rich, few tannins but they are still present. Very long Armagnac
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    Excl. VAT: £850.61 Incl. VAT: £1,020.73

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    A good year for this armagnac. It is round and with good balance, flavours of crystalised and dried fruits but with a richness and slight mustiness of a true rancio.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: Very complex and pleasant, spicy aromas of vanilla and cinnamon, with old leather and touches of butter
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Crystallised and dried fruits. Rich, few tannins but they are still present. Very long Armagnac
    Learn More
  4. Castarède 1952 Bas Armagnac

    Good armagnac with honey, prune and crystalised flavours. This armagnac is well aged and beautifully balanced with all the trappings of luxury.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: A rich prune and nutty aroma with some nutmeg
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Great depth and character to this well aged armagnac. There are prune and walnut flavours but the underlying richness provides a deep and fruity middle mouth and intense but satisfying flavour
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    Excl. VAT: £711.37 Incl. VAT: £853.64

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    Good armagnac with honey, prune and crystalised flavours. This armagnac is well aged and beautifully balanced with all the trappings of luxury.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: A rich prune and nutty aroma with some nutmeg
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Great depth and character to this well aged armagnac. There are prune and walnut flavours but the underlying richness provides a deep and fruity middle mouth and intense but satisfying flavour
    Learn More
  5. Castarède 1953 Bas Armagnac
    Only one bottle remaining

    A fine armagnac from a vintage producer. Well balanced with flavours of dried apricots, plums and honey, some almond flavours appear also.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: A well balanced armagnac with flavours of dried apricots, plums and honey, some almond flavours appear also.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £591.10 Incl. VAT: £709.32

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    A fine armagnac from a vintage producer. Well balanced with flavours of dried apricots, plums and honey, some almond flavours appear also.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: A well balanced armagnac with flavours of dried apricots, plums and honey, some almond flavours appear also.
    Learn More
  6. Castarède 1959 Bas Armagnac

    This Bas Armagnac comes from a blend of two cepages, the Ugni Blanc and Baco. Its fawn coloured robe with some red copper gives some rancio flavours reflecting its long stay in barrels.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: A spicy bouquet of sandal wood, vanilla, banana
    Flavour:
    Flavour: The mouth is soft and mellow but this eau de vie has kept the nervous edge of the baco cepage
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    Excl. VAT: £530.65 Incl. VAT: £636.78

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    This Bas Armagnac comes from a blend of two cepages, the Ugni Blanc and Baco. Its fawn coloured robe with some red copper gives some rancio flavours reflecting its long stay in barrels.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: A spicy bouquet of sandal wood, vanilla, banana
    Flavour:
    Flavour: The mouth is soft and mellow but this eau de vie has kept the nervous edge of the baco cepage
    Learn More
  7. Castarède 1962 Bas Armagnac

    This is one of Castarede's traditional styles, being a negoçiant styles can change but this represents the larger proportion of these great armagnacs. Crystalised fruits and honey.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: Complex nose, floral, candied fruits
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Crystallised fruits and honey. Soft attack, round in the mouth, balanced
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £329.73 Incl. VAT: £395.68

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    This is one of Castarede's traditional styles, being a negoçiant styles can change but this represents the larger proportion of these great armagnacs. Crystalised fruits and honey.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: Complex nose, floral, candied fruits
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Crystallised fruits and honey. Soft attack, round in the mouth, balanced
    Learn More
  8. Castarède 1963 Bas Armagnac
    More sweetness on the nose than on the palate.The armagnac has a noble austerity which gradually reveals a warm nature provided allow it to breathe out in the glass.
    Aroma:
    Aroma: Intense and majestic. Slightly intimidating. Cedar and exotic wood. Waxed floors
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Firm and lively, oak has the word but without dominating. There is an elegant interplay between wood and fruit. Dried apricot. Intense chocolate. With a long and very chocolatey finish terminating in soft spices.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £303.92 Incl. VAT: £364.70

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    More sweetness on the nose than on the palate.The armagnac has a noble austerity which gradually reveals a warm nature provided allow it to breathe out in the glass.
    Aroma:
    Aroma: Intense and majestic. Slightly intimidating. Cedar and exotic wood. Waxed floors
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Firm and lively, oak has the word but without dominating. There is an elegant interplay between wood and fruit. Dried apricot. Intense chocolate. With a long and very chocolatey finish terminating in soft spices.
    Learn More
  9. Castarède 1969 Bas Armagnac

    Unusually this is distilled at a lower range than most in the Castarede range and has a fine prune flavour. The style is unmistakenly Bas with its rich fruity flavours.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: A distinguished nose which gives some nice notes of crystallised fruits and rancio. A little herbal with some bay, nutmeg and prune.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Richer than some of Florence Castarede's armagnacs. This is much more nutty and has some toffee, prune and roasted walnut flavours.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £293.08 Incl. VAT: £351.70

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    Unusually this is distilled at a lower range than most in the Castarede range and has a fine prune flavour. The style is unmistakenly Bas with its rich fruity flavours.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: A distinguished nose which gives some nice notes of crystallised fruits and rancio. A little herbal with some bay, nutmeg and prune.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Richer than some of Florence Castarede's armagnacs. This is much more nutty and has some toffee, prune and roasted walnut flavours.
    Learn More
  10. Castarède 1965 Bas Armagnac

    Florence Castarede does not distil her own armagnacs and her style is probably best found in this vintage. Crystalised fruits, almonds and pecan nuts all combine to provide a style that Castarede has characterised in most of its vintages. Distillation of these armagnacs is at around 60 degrees which accounts for the drier fruit flavours and use of the Baco and Folle Blanche grapes.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: Prune is the aroma that you first notice but there is also some bay, nutmeg and candied fruit.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Richer than some of Florence Castarede's armagnacs. This is much more nutty and has some toffee and roasted walnut flavours.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £235.10 Incl. VAT: £282.12

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    Florence Castarede does not distil her own armagnacs and her style is probably best found in this vintage. Crystalised fruits, almonds and pecan nuts all combine to provide a style that Castarede has characterised in most of its vintages. Distillation of these armagnacs is at around 60 degrees which accounts for the drier fruit flavours and use of the Baco and Folle Blanche grapes.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: Prune is the aroma that you first notice but there is also some bay, nutmeg and candied fruit.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Richer than some of Florence Castarede's armagnacs. This is much more nutty and has some toffee and roasted walnut flavours.
    Learn More
  11. Castarède 1967 Bas Armagnac

    There are a number of gems in the Castarede range. The 1967 is a classic, with a darker and richer taste of prunes and roasted walnuts, it was hidden away in a dark cellar for many years.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: Charming nose with leather notes which reflect its old age, and some touches of vanilla.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Smooth in the mouth it is round but spicy, with prunes, spices, harmonious tanins and wood flavours. Well balanced with no acidity, this armagnac is voluptuous with an exceptional structure.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £222.55 Incl. VAT: £267.06

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    There are a number of gems in the Castarede range. The 1967 is a classic, with a darker and richer taste of prunes and roasted walnuts, it was hidden away in a dark cellar for many years.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: Charming nose with leather notes which reflect its old age, and some touches of vanilla.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Smooth in the mouth it is round but spicy, with prunes, spices, harmonious tanins and wood flavours. Well balanced with no acidity, this armagnac is voluptuous with an exceptional structure.
    Learn More
  12. Castarède 1968 Bas Armagnac

    Another gem from the cellars at Chateau de Maniban, the 1968 is distilled lower than most in the range and is probably one of the nicest from this particular distiller.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: A little herbal with some bay, nutmeg and prune
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Richer than some of Florence Castarede's armagnacs. This is much more nutty and has some toffee and roasted walnut flavours.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £222.35 Incl. VAT: £266.82

    Out of stock

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    Another gem from the cellars at Chateau de Maniban, the 1968 is distilled lower than most in the range and is probably one of the nicest from this particular distiller.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: A little herbal with some bay, nutmeg and prune
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Richer than some of Florence Castarede's armagnacs. This is much more nutty and has some toffee and roasted walnut flavours.
    Learn More

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