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calvados

  • Avallen Calvados - the most sustainable spirit possible?

    Avallen CalvadosLaunched  last year, Avallen Calvados has been hitting the headlines as a ‘product with a purpose’.  Created by Healthy Hospo founder Tim Etherington-Judge and wine and spirits specialist Stephanie Jordan, they set out to make the most sustainable spirit possible and so chose calvados. Avallen means ‘apple tree’ in Old Cornish and is made without the addition of sugar, caramel or boisé.  It is packaged in a lightweight bottle with a label that sends the message ‘Bee-ing positive has never tasted this delicious’.  Its packaging won a Master medal and €0.50 from each bottle sold will be donated to organisations dedicated to restoring and protecting bees. Aged for only two years it is a pretty young spirit, but the sustainability message will surely resonate with many in the current climate.

  • US Tariffs on Wine and Spirits

    US TariffsSix months ago, the US imposed hefty tariffs on the import of some European wines, whiskies and liqueurs following a long running dispute over EU import tariffs and subsidies. Last December, the US government considered imposing similar US tariffs on other EU wines and spirits, including cognac, and raising tariffs by up to 100%. Fortunately for our industry, the situation remained unchanged but Scottish whisky and American whiskey have already suffered huge export losses. Spirits Europe and Discus (Distilled Spirits Council of the US) are now advocating free trade between the US and the EU as they are each other’s biggest spirits export destinations. The DG of Spirits Europe said “… amidst recent EU-US trade tensions, our sector has been turned into a hallmark example of the considerable, yet entirely avoidable economic risks and damage whenever free trade is interrupted by tariffs.”  As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it will have the opportunity to step away from these retaliatory tariffs but of course our much loved French brandies will still be affected.

  • Coronavirus Impact On Trade

    CoronavirusThere cannot be a soul who has not been affected by the current coronavirus pandemic but the On Trade has been hit particularly hard. With pubs and restaurants closed worldwide their future is uncertain. A bitter blow, especially as the ONS recently reported that the number of pubs and bars operating in the UK rose last year for the first time in a decade. Here in the UK staff have been furloughed and emergency legislation has given all commercial properties a 3 month rent reprieve. In other attempts to keep the industry afloat, the WTSA called for the collection of alcohol duty to be suspended for 6 months and denounced the timing of the Scottish government’s move to introduce a bottle deposit return scheme. UK duty did not get suspended, but the government did add off-licences to the list of businesses deemed “essential” during the lockdown.  One trader in Maryland is trying to keep service going by using its pet boxer dog to deliver orders to the public in the carpark.  This follows the WHO advice that pets cannot carry the virus. We have certainly seen some ingenious ways to keep businesses running recently. We are all grateful to the many spirits producers who have turned their skills and equipment to making alcoholic hand sanitisers.  Who knows how long the demand for it will go on!?

  • FREE DELIVERY on all UK Orders over £100

    free deliveryWe are open for business as usual so you can send a special gift or birthday present to a loved one you cannot visit or treat yourself during this particularly difficult time at home. We have wonderful French cognac, armagnac and calvados for every year of birth from 1928 to 2002 and we are taking all the recommended hygiene precautions when handling bottles and packaging.  If you have any questions please call the office number (01225 863988) as usual.

    To make your life a little bit easier we are giving FREE DELIVERY on all UK orders over £100 including VAT, until restrictions are lifted.  Please be aware that although we are able to process orders within 1 working day, Parcelforce are not able to guarantee their normal delivery times at present as they are prioritising delivery of essential medical and food items to the most vulnerable. Our deliveries to America may also be delayed, by up to 10 days, due to a shortage of flights.

  • World And UK Spirits Alliance Formed

    UK Spirits AllianceAn international group has been formed to tackle issues experienced in the complex and changeable spirits industry.  Brexit, trade wars, counterfeiting and debilitating taxes are just a few of the problems that the World Spirits Alliance (WSA) is looking to address.  Comprising spirits companies and trade groups the WSA will represent the industry in front of international organisations such as the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization and the United Nations.  Just last month the UK launched its own Spirits Alliance with the aim of “protecting and nurturing the growth of UK spirits”.  Its immediate campaign is to stop any further increase of duty on UK spirits.  Currently the government states that spirits duty will go up by the retail price index (RPI) in this year’s Budget.  This is extremely disappointing as 65% of the nation’s distillers have reported increased sales of spirits since chancellor Philip Hammond froze spirits duty in the 2018 Autumn Budget. Spirit duty rates in the UK have increased from £21.35 per litre of pure alcohol in 2008 to £28.74 in 2019, the fourth highest rate in Europe and one of the highest rates in the world. The price of a bottle of cognac sold at 40%abv, such as Hermitage 2005, therefore includes £8.05 duty.  A spokesperson for the UK Spirits Alliance said: “From Inverness to Penderyn, spirits producers across the country are joining up to back the campaign to fix duty”.

  • 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?

  • Calvados - Apple Brandy - The Forgotten Treasure?

    calvados is apple brandy Calvados really is the finest example of apple brandy so it is a mystery that it isn’t more popular.  Traditionally rustic, being based on the common old farmyard apple rather than the noble grape, perhaps it is too old fashioned for the influential trendsetters?  And what about geography?  Normandy is poorer and more rural than the elitist areas of Champagne and Cognac. The region staged countless wars and its fields are the final resting place of thousands of young men.  But the trend is gradually changing.  New calvados embassies are opening across the world. Indeed, official figures show that in 2017, 57% of the 6m bottles of calvados sold were exported.  Its popularity as a cocktail ingredient has certainly helped.  One of London’s most stylish and up-and-coming bars, Coupette, puts calvados cocktails at the very heart of its menu.  What is a surprise though is that mixologists are using not just calvados from the top cru, Pays D’Auge, but aged and more expensive vintages too. Calvados is a delicious, versatile and refreshing spirit. It goes well with food, tastes good neat, and can be the base for sophisticated cocktails.