Armagnac - Castarède V.S.O.P.
Castarède V.S.O.P. Armagnac
Armagnac Castarède s.a. Mailèon d' Armagnac, France
Imported by: Domaine Select Wine Estates, LLC, New York, New York
PROOF: 80 (40%)
TYPE: Armagnac, VSOP
AGE: 10 Years Old
PRICE: $75.00 750ML
Notes: This is the older sibling to the Castarède Selection so I won't repeat all the information about the house here (but please read it in the other review for background if you haven't already). A older, more dry and delicate expression of their armagnac. There are also many vintage years available from this house for that special gift (for someone's marriage or birth year for example) in stark contrast to cognac, which has few vintages years available.
First Impression: Apricots, persimmons, vanilla, caramel, and oily nuts and some oak. A sweet, almost sherry or jam-like smell to it. Very distinctive, somewhat heavy nose to it.
Appearance: Attractive red/ gold amber color, leaves thin coat on swirling. Could be mistaken for older bourbon in color.
Taste: Very light almost ethereal body, intense oak, tobacco and char entry with dark fruits, leather,saddle soap, notes of vanilla, citrus, and a long drying, oaky, almost walnut-like, and pleasantly astringent woody/peppery finish . More complexity and wider palate of flavors than one would encounter with a cognac of similar age.
Drinks: I would suggest proper brandy glass only. Also works as a nice variation on scotch for drinks calling for a drier type of scotch.
Cigars: Something relatively light but complex. Ashton or Davidoff Connecticut shade corona size or smaller.
Bottle: Simple cylindrical clear glass cognac/brandy bottle with simple paper labels and graphics - very much in the French style - the money was spent on the production of what is on the inside of the bottle - not on the outside.
Other: This spirit is part of remarkable portfolio of the Domiane Select Classic and Vintage Artisanal Spirits Collection along with the following spirits we have already reviewed Averna Sambuca , Averna Limoni , Deaths Door Vodka , G Vine Floraison , G'Vine Nouaison , Rhum J. M. Blanc , Rhum J. M. Gold ,Rhum J. M VSOP , Rhum J. M. Vieux ,Stranahan Colorado Whiskey,Suprema Grappa along with others we have not yet reviewed but hope to in the future, given the quality of what we have already reviewed.
We applaud Domaine Select in spearheading a conscious decision to assemble a portfolio of artisanal spirits and to provide distribution and access to such a group of spirits to the trade and consumers. If only other companies did such a thing we would all be drinking in a better world.
Final Thoughts: A very nice dry and balanced armagnac. Much less fruit than their Selection with a much drier taste and finish. If you like XO cognac you will love this one, spare,subtle, charming, and half the money.
An excellent armagnac resource can be found here: http://www.armagnac.fr/index.php
A quick-loading, informative website with large amounts of history, pictures, etc. Straight-forward and easy-to-navigate.