Google Supersonic Cognacs, Part Deux

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

June 5, 2022


Supersonic Cognacs, or another verticale, Part Deux

The first part of this session, last Sunday, had been totally glorious, with all older ones marked 90+. We had stopped the madness in 1970, time to tackle older vintages. In theory, very old ones might have become 'a little less great' in my book, unless they had been transferred to dames-jeannes/demijohns before any excessive oak or even oxidation would have done any harm to them. Now, we're only talking organoleptics here, not poetry, philosophy or even History (Serge! You Philistine!) So after 1970 there's … (picture, magazine ad for Camus, 'in the manner of Picasso', 1946)




Prunier 53 yo 1967/2021 (51.9%, WineForYou for The Purist, Grande Champagne, 54 bottles)

Prunier 53 yo 1967/2021 (51.9%, WineForYou for The Purist, Grande Champagne, 54 bottles) Four stars and a half
Fantastic strength for such an old cognac. We've already stumbled upon quite a few glories in this Belgian series. Colour: full gold. Nose: starts a little empyreumatic, with notes of warm pinewood (or say a forest in coastal Spain) as well as touches of mushrooms, goes on with a little sugarcane juice, really, and marmalade, with even a drop of amontillado. And perhaps a little PX? With water: gets straighter, that is to say more on an old cognac, with raisins, preserved peaches and apricots, prunes and honey. Mouth (neat): lovely bitterness, with a lot of liquorice wood, rosehip tea, strong black tea, tobacco… Bits of tobacco coming out of your untipped Gauloise. I'm sure the distillers used to smoke that back in 1967, while distilling… Other times for sure but I do also remember some Scottish Distillery (no, no name) where you would spot rather many cigarette butts on the floor of the stillhouse, only two or three decades ago. With water: this time it remains rather bitter, again in a great way, piney, liquoricy, with indeed all the bitterness that's to be found in an old amontillado, which would include old walnuts. Almost brandy de Jerez, without all the added sweetness. Finish: very long, still bitter and tobacco-y. Comments: this one's a little more challenging, perhaps, certainly tighter and more rustic, but I'm fond of this style too, you just won't down a whole bottle on the spot.

SGP:371 - 89 points.

Vallein Tercinier 60 yo 'Rencontre 62' (42.6%, Jack Tar & Lux Coin, single dame jeanne, 100 bottles, 2022)

Vallein Tercinier 60 yo 'Rencontre 62' (42.6%, OB selected for Jack Tar & Lux Coin, single dame jeanne, 100 bottles, 2022) Five stars
It is said that the final owners did decide to add a few centilitres of cognac 1762 to this demijohn, as they had sourced a bottle of Gautier from that vintage quite some years earlier. I know, crazy... Colour: light amber. Nose: house style! Tropical jams, ripe mangos, manuka honey, very ripe williams pears, bergamots, blueberries, then terrifyingly huge notes of mirabelle jam, plus a tiny slice of cep (mushroom). Incredible nose, with an incredible freshness. Mouth: it was impossible that the palate would be as fresh, but it is still wonderfully fruity at first, tropical indeed, honeyed, only then more on oak spices, tobacco, cloves, cinnamon, black tea… Since this was a demijohn, I would be interested in learning when this baby was transferred from oak to glass. Finish: long, with menthol and camphor coming out, and tangerines dancing in the aftertaste, to the sound of Elvis Presley (1962)... And Josef Haydn! (1762). Comments: incredible experience and as almost always at Vallein Tercinier, what a nose!

SGP:651 - 91 points.

Jean-Luc Pasquet 'Lot 57' (41.7%, Swell de Spirits, Field Trip #1, Grande Champagne, 70 bottles)

Jean-Luc Pasquet 'Lot 57' (41.7%, Swell de Spirits, Field Trip #1, Grande Champagne, 70 bottles) Five stars
It is to be remembered that people in Cognac would often disgorge casks only partially, and so release several subsequent smaller bottlings from the same barrel, whenever there's demand. A wonderful salamander on this label, let's remember that the salamander was the emblem of king of France François 1er (1494-1547). Colour: deep gold. Nose: this time things are kicked off with some not-too-ripe bananas (which is just as well) and beeswax. We would then find kumquats and bergamots (especially bergamot sweets from Nancy, France) as well as honey drops and quince paste and jelly. Lovely nose, rather tight and focused, with something that would remind me of old Balvenie. Really! Mouth: lovely mentholy and tobacco-y oak, walking on its toes. That would rather bring many herbal teas and soft spices, mint tea indeed, thyme and linden, cinnamon rolls with raisins (just a sin), once again a wee feeling of old amontillado (lovely oxidation), and just more herbal teas. Forgot to mention liquorice, but it's true that there's almost always a little liquorice in these old cognacs. Finish: medium, with the tobacco being back in the front. Comments: this rather wonderful moment when fruits and wood are tied.
SGP:461 - 90 points.

Jean Fillioux 1955+1960/2022 (45.5%, Wu Dram Clan & Kirsch Import, Grande Champagne, 354 bottles)

Jean Fillioux 1955+1960/2022 (45.5%, Wu Dram Clan & Kirsch Import, Grande Champagne, 354 bottles) Five stars
Jean Fillioux own the 24-ha Domaine and Château de La Pouyade, but I'm not totally sure they only mature and bottle their own production. That's my fault, it would be easy to just ask (which would be another stroke of genius, S.!) Colour: deep gold. Nose: some are just evident. Mirabelle pie, acacia honey, dandelions, mango jam, golden sultanas, quinces, drop of white Bourgogne, then tiny drops of herbal liqueurs, chartreuse et all, beeswax… Indeed, there's something totally obvious to this one, even the most diligent taster won't have to rack his/her brain. Awesomely easy. Mouth: no fruit vs. oak fighting at all this time, once again this is easy, hassle-free, obvious, with a perfect three-step development, first teas, then spices, then fruits, especially dried ones, and walnuts. It might also be a tad sweeter than others, with punchy honeys, such as chestnut. Finish: this is where herbs would chime in, parsley, mint, pine needles… Jams and fruitcakes in the aftertaste. That delicacy that we call 'florentins' (chocolate topped with bits of candied fruits). Comments: another glorious old cognac. What was particularly spectacular is that it started a tiny wee tad woody on the palate and then never stopped becoming fruitier, whilst the opposite's usually happening with very old spirits. I mean, in most cases.

SGP:551 - 91 points.

Mauxion 'Lot 56' (45%, OB, Petite Champagne, Belgian import, +/-2022)

Mauxion 'Lot 56' (45%, OB, Petite Champagne, Belgian import, +/-2022) Five stars
Wood-fired distillation and a very old family house that's into cognac since 1743. They're located in Houlette in the Charente, not very far from the city of Cognac. Colour: gold. Nose: an even easier one, starting with raisin rolls and custard, getting then fractally complex, with myriads of various cakey and yellow-fruit aromas, Turkish delights, rose petals, Monbazillac, dried litchis and jujubes… It is all extremely soft and delicate; we would have said 'feminine' in the old days. The usual preserved peaches and apricots chiming in after a minute or two. Mouth: fruity, almost tart, on citrus jams and syrups. That's coming unexpected given that this was harvested almost 70 years ago. I remember an old Grand-Marnier 'Cuvée du Centenaire' now… Tangerines, oriental pastries, orange blossom water, elderberry eau-de-vie… Another one that's absolutely glorious, and even more so when mint and liquorice are kicking in with tastefulness and restraint. Finish: medium, incredibly fresh. Mangos, bananas and williams pears. A stunning mossy earthiness in the aftertaste, yet another dimension (and 1 more point, there). Comments: I'm remembering an old Lochside 1966 at this point. Several, in truth.

SGP:641 - 92 points.

Fins Bois 1954 'Lot N°5 et 14' (43.3%, Jean Grosperrin, 872 litres) Five stars
Two casks blended together, but not too sure when this was bottled, what the label tells us is that the house Grosperrin could acquire those two casks in 1999. Colour: gold. Nose: probably the freshest, and also the grassiest of them all. Gooseberries, apple peel, white currants, chamomile, even grapefruits, a faint vinosity (chardonnay), rubbed herbs (lovage, parsley, coriander), chalk… There's even a smoky touch, mind you, which would further ring my Highland-Park bell. Well, this one too is just wonderful. Mouth: stunning fruity, citrusy tightness. Gooseberries and grapefruits, pretty uncommon in such an old cognac I would say. It would then become a little grapey, in a wonderful way, nervous, grassy peely, extremely fresh, while a wonderful liquorice would also appear this time again. It's even becoming a tad sour, which is just as wonderful. A limey '54 cognac? Finish: wonderfully tight, lemony, with no thickness and, what's more, almost no obvious oak. Comments: another one that's rather extraordinary. I'm not sure we could have found its old age. Mind you, 1954, that was 67 years ago. High-class fins bois for sure.

SGP:551 - 91 points.

Time to try some older bottles…

Camus 'Hors d'Âge Réserve Extra-Vieille' (OB, La Grande Marque, Japan, 1960s)

Camus 'Hors d'Âge Réserve Extra-Vieille' (OB, Japan, 1960s) Five stars
According to a very knowledgeable source, this is a vintage 1914, kept in wood for 45 years, then transferred to demijohns, that's then been bottled in two steps, in the 1960s and in the 1970s, while this would be the 1960s edition (or it would have displayed the ABV anyway, no?) It is a Japanese bottling that's just reached back France via Australia (don't tell our dear Green party 'Les Verts', thanks). Colour: deep gold. Nose: lovely old style, much less on fruits, much more on meats and oils. Some OBE should have occurred too. Marrow, chicken soup, mocha, engine oil, roasted pecans, smoked ham, raw chocolate, old cigars, pinewood smoke, old toolbox, old coins, even old banknotes… This is another world and another time, a 'blast from the past', as they say. It it's well a 1914, it was harvested more or less two months after the outbreak of World War I (July 28, 1914). Very moving… Mouth: this is incredibly fresh, and sweeter than the 'new old' ones. Granted, they may have sauced it up a wee bit back in the days, but this avalanche of raisins and syrups is just impressive. Arrack, mead, caramel sauce, fig jam, very old Sauternes, prune juice, praline and nougat, very old Port… Finish: not even shortish, with the sweet bouillons and meads back in full form. Some meaty greasiness and some gentian in the aftertaste. Gentian, at that! Comments: absolutely great and organoleptically superb – I mean, without taking any stories or data into account; well, as little as we could. Many thanks Deni.

SGP:641 - 93 points.

That's seven. Didn't we say 'eight'? No, we did not, but indeed we've had eight of them last time…

Chivas Brothers 60 yo 'Old Liqueur Cognac' (24.7 u.p., OB, 1940s)

Chivas Brothers 60 yo 'Old Liqueur Cognac' (24.7 u.p., OB, 1940s) Four stars
Most certainly pre-sale to Seagram (1949). 24.7 under proof translates into 75.3 UK proof, which is 43% A.B.V. The company Chivas Brothers was founded in Aberdeen in 1858, after having been named Stewart & Chivas from 1841 on. As far as I know, there had been a grocery store before, settled in 1801 indeed (as widely advertised, including on this old cognac) but the first Chivas, James, only joined in 1838, while John Chivas joined his bother in 1857 to later form the new company Chivas Brothers. This Cognac could be even a little older, as far as vintages go, than the very first Chivas Regal, which was a 25 years old launched in 1909. It was surely from 19th century harvests and possibly from pre-phylloxeric vines. The label is bearing the Scottish royal coat of arms and the Stuart kings' motto, 'Nemo Me Impune Lacessit' (No one provokes me with impunity) as well as the mention 'by appointment to his majesty the king'. All that on a French product, phew, all right, let's try this old wonder…

Colour: amber. Nose: but no! Why is it this much alive? We've mentioned brandy de Jerez before and indeed, some aspects are reminiscent of brandy de Jerez, especially these notes of coffee and chocolate liqueurs, but there's also some amazing earthy, mushroomy, meady notes, absolutely terrific. It is almost like some extremely old white wine that would have been fortified at some point to keep it fresh for posterity (ideas ideas, no?) Mouth: what's this sorcery? Granted, the Camus was a tad fresher and cleaner, and this one is a notch syrupy (it may have been a little cloying when it was bottled, back in the 1940s) but it's still firing on all six cylinders. Triple-sec, raisins, PX, yellow chartreuse, more sweet mead…. Good, it really is a little 'liqueury' on the palate, but it's still impressively full of stamina. Finish: long, sweet, liqueury. This time we're totally on brandy de Jerez. Comments: very impressive indeed, even if you do feel that a part as done 'in the lab'. I would have loved to let it be analysed by a friendly lab, but that would be a.) stupid, and b.) we drank it all anyway.
SGP:730 - 87 points.

(Thank you Deni, thank you Ivo, thank you Nicolas, thanks everyone)

More tasting notesCheck the index of all cognacs we've tasted so far







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