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The Bottle Story

  • Calvados & Whisky - An Unusual Blend

    Calvados & WhiskyScottish whisky blender, Compass Box, has released a new spirit drink comprising calvados & whisky.  The calvados, from the Christian Drouin distillery, has been blended with whiskies aged in French oak casks and Sherry butts. Compass Box’s founder said “We have been blending calvados and Scotch whisky at home for years, enchanted by their complementary qualities.  Although one of the world’s greatest spirits, calvados is also one of the most underappreciated”.  The result is said to possess ‘layers of apple character married beautifully with malty, vanilla and spice-like notes’.  Compass Box is not the only firm to recognise the success of this flavour combination, though.  Sweden’s Mackmyra distillery has just released a single malt whisky, finished in ex-calvados casks.  Perhaps such ideas will help calvados get the appreciation it so deserves?

  • 40 Years In The Making - Grande Champagne Cognac

    40 yearsWe have spent decades looking for a 40 year old cognac that is worthy of the Hermitage label and so we are very excited to announce that it is here at last, aged for 40 years.

    Aged with great care and expertise, this wonderful Grande Champagne cognac has been in an oak barrel for 40 years slowly maturing to its optimum condition. Flavours of plum and vanilla expand into lychee, pear, hay, plum and dried mandarin demonstrating complexity and individuality.

    A great cognac for any occasion but especially for those celebrating a 40th anniversary or 40th birthday.  Take advantage of its special price throughout July 2019.

  • The Bottle Story - Martell Blue Swift

    MartellDescribed as a ‘cognac-based spirit drink’ Martell Blue Swift is made of VSOP Cognac that has been matured in French oak casks and finished in Kentucky Bourbon casks. Far from ‘reinventing the cognac category’, it does not meet the regulations to be labelled ‘Cognac’.  Cognac must be aged in French oak casks and any finishing casks cannot have held anything other than wine or wine-based spirits.  Many cognac products with ‘a finish’ have been released over recent months so it is good to see the regulations being categorically defined.

  • Spanish Brandy Gaining Popularity

    Spanish brandy For many, Spanish brandy is something drunk on holiday, in its country of origin, but its quality can be just as good as any brandy in the world.  Made from a different grape variety (Jerez) and using the solera top up system, it is often aged in old sherry casks.  Spanish brandies can often provide better value for money than French brandies such as cognac and armagnac but they have a reputation for exclusivity which Spanish brandy has yet to earn.  Addressing this issue, Spain is beginning to focus on creating premium and ultra-premium brandies in the hope that they will be able to compete with the more famous varieties.   With consumer trends moving towards products that are legitimate, relevant, have a history and added value, Spanish Brandy could be the next big thing.

  • New Hermitage Cognac Vintages

    Hermitage Cognac VintagesWe are always looking for more fantastic, single estate cognacs with age-statements to add to our Hermitage Cognac Vintages range and these latest three are really amazing:

    Hermitage 1923 was produced in a year when Warner Brothers was established, Insulin was first used to treat Diabetes and the refrigerator became available to buy in Sweden.  This wonderful cognac is from Grande Champagne and has a fine and intense rancio, the result of more than 60 years in an oak barrel.

    Hermitage 1945 was harvested the year that marked the end of the second World War.  It is beautifully balanced with flavours of lychee, passion fruit, rosemary, cocoa and a long grapefruit tail.

    And finally we also have a new vintage from Petite Champagne; Hermitage 1969 is an unusually fine, balanced and well-aged cognac from the heart of this amazing, but lesser known cru.

  • The Bottle Story - Laguille 2010 Bas Armagnac

    Armagnac producers Domaine Laguille have just released a Limited Edition of 350 bottles of their Laguille 2010 Bas Armagnac finished in a  whisky cask.  Following the latest trend by cognac producers to give their cognacs a ‘finish’, Laguille wants to show that even armagnac, the oldest French brandy of them all can move with the times.  Strict regulations state that armagnac must be aged in French oak – the oak barrel used had previously been used to age a peated scotch from the Isle of Mull.  The result is an armagnac with many of the peated notes associated with Scottish whisky.  It is hoped that this will appeal to different, younger audiences.  Laguille’s Commercial Director said “It’s now or never for armagnac.  It’s a time when people are looking for smaller productions and everyone speaks about craft.  It’s a moment that armagnac must not miss.  The problem with armagnac has never been the product.  The product is wonderful.  The problem is how to sell it and how to market it."

    The youngest vintage armagnac we sell is almost 20 years old and makes a good comparison:

  • Hermitage 2008 Grande Champagne Cognac - Too Good To Miss ....

    2008A truly amazing cognac; Hermitage 2008 Grande Champagne Cognac is an extraordinary and totally unique one in a million find. It’s rich, spicy and full of intrigue.  There are flavours of dates, cinnamon, toffee and pistachio as well as exotic tones of rambutan, mango and passion fruit with a tail of sweet oranges.  A masterpiece of the distiller's skills and the cellar master's experience, it was aged in a small barrique which had previously aged some very old and rare cognac.  Smooth and full of rich flavours, that are undeniably worthy of a much older cognac, yet this is only 10 years old.  There are less than 200 bottles available.  Great balance, pure magic.

    "For anyone looking for a very fine and special gift  .... the smallest glass is a sublime treat."  Victoria Moore, The Daily Telegraph

     

  • Chabot Armagnac Limited Edition Single Cask 1998

    Chabot 1998Wow, that is an impressive name for an armagnac, but what does it actually mean?  The Chabot vintage, 1998 is the year the grapes used to make the armagnac were harvested.  By regulation, distillation of these grapes would have been completed by the following March (1999) when it became Compte (Aged) 0.  Therefore, on 1 April 2000 it became Aged 1 and so in 2018, this armagnac was Aged 19 years.  An interesting fact as it was released this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong Airport.  Vintage armagnacs will be aged in a number of casks (each usually holding 250 – 350 litres).  This Limited Edition of 210 bottles has been drawn from just one of the 1998 casks so the contents of each bottle will be identical.  Armagnac from the other casks of the same vintage will be similar but not necessarily identical.  Having taken 30 litres out of one cask, the remaining armagnac may continue to age in its wood for release as a more mature 1998 vintage at a later date.  A complicated explanation but it is always worth knowing what you are buying.  Indeed, some very good armagnacs were made in 1998, all of which are single estate, if not single cask.

  • This Really Is The Last Drop

    The Last DropHere at Brandyclassics we specialise in finding the very best cognacs available to sell under our own label, Hermitage.  We painstakingly search out those hidden gems, that have been ageing in cellars since the year they were made, for our customers to enjoy.  Sometimes only a barrel or two are available and when they are empty, the last drop of the vintage has gone.

    Four of these unique, vintage Hermitage cognacs have less than 10 bottles remaining so this is a fantastic opportunity to acquire an exceptionally rare, exquisite cognac from a bygone era.  These precious few bottles really are the last drops available of:

    Hermitage 1979 Grande Champagne Cognac

    Hermitage 1974 Grande Champagne Cognac

    Hermitage 1965 Petite Champagne Cognac

    Hermitage 1906 Grande Champagne Cognac

  • The Bottle Story - Comandon 2012 Cognac

    Comandon 2012 CognacThis is a very young, vintage cognac (aged for 3 years) but with an interesting history.

     

    It was produced to mimic the pre-Phylloxera style; that is using the single grape variety Folle Blanche from the Bon Bois cru.  It is also a single cask vintage with a higher that average alcohol content at 41.3% (although pre-Phylloxera cognacs were often left at cask strength).  The Folle Blanche today accounts for only 10% of grapes grown in the region as the majority were decimated in the pre-Phylloxera outbreak and the rootstocks now in use are better suited to cropping Ugni Blanc grapes.  Cognacs from Bon Bois are also now much less popular as even the big houses tend to look no further afield than Fin Bois.  That said, the Comandon 2012 Cognac is an interesting idea, which we will sadly probably never get to taste, as only 120 bottles were produced for the American market

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