A rare and different XO cgnac from a very distinctive growth area.
Notes: Camus is a rather interesting house, founded in 1863, it uses grapes from one of the smallest growing regions in the Cognac region, Camus only uses grapes grown from the Borderies Cognac area for this, their XO cognac and their other offerings. Quite well known in virtually every other country other than the U.S. it seems, Camus was in the States in the 1960’s through the 70’s if memory serves, then disappeared from the scene for a bit. Now they are relaunching in the U.S. and making more of a push to gain a foothold again.
Distilled in small classic alembic charentais copper stills the resulting eau de vie is then aged in Limousin oak barrels with fewer tannins to let the personality of the original eau de vies shine through rather than be subsumed by the oak.
Camus offers a number of different cognacs to fit ones taste and/or budget within their portfolio. They are the only house that I know of that do a number of distinct Borderies releases. Three of their other release that we are reviewing are the V.S., V.S.O.P. distilled from their Borderies growths, and the Camus XO which are drawn from a number of vineyards, while XO Borderies are from single growth, private family reserves and distilled on the small lees giving it a very signature and characteristic bouquet and flavor.
First Impression: Subdued floral, violets, vanilla, nuts with some understated oak.
Appearance: Lovely high grade baltic amber gold/red color, leaves thin coat on swirling which develop slowly into thin legs. Could be mistaken for a older whisky in color.
Taste: Pleasantly dry and floral entry with a light body, and a fair amount of violets, nutty with whispers of fruit notes. Not a lot of the usual oaky notes, a bit more understated, making for a relatively light, pleasant drying finish.
Drinks: Very subtle and lovely nuances to any cognac drinks. Tailor your drinks as this has less wood and is and quite a bit of violet and nut notes. Makes for a lovely accent for an Aviation by replacing the Crème de Violette.
Bottle: Clear glass in that classic or signature XO and above bottle shape with ribbed top and bottom (like gathered or waisted fabric) in this expression they have frosted this area to distinguish it from the Elegance XO. Since we only have a smaller bottle we can’t comment on any other points.
Final Thoughts: A nice light to medium bodied cognac, fruity and subtle, with a minimum of oak impact. A good value in terms of price/quality ratio and getting easier to find.
A somewhat slow loading,with large amounts of history, pictures, recipes, etc. Relatively straight-forward and easy-to-navigate compared to some but loaded with information. Code of ethics document is a interesting addition to the usual website info.