Jan 17, 2018

Domaine Boingneres Cepages Nobles...

Domaine Boingneres Cepages Nobles (48.0%): Time to switch to brandies in our whisky-alternative January... I have a no age and also a no vintage statement Armagnac from Domaine Boingneres. Domaine Boingneres is founded in 1807 by Jean Boingneres and run by the same family till today for six generations. They grow their own grapes, distill their own mash and age the spirit on their own land using casks made from new Gascogne wood only.

Color: Polished copper, dark orange with an amazing clarity. Very impressive color I have to say...

Nose: A little thin... Light and young. Hyacinths, tarte tatin, spiked cider and pear compote. Diner style banana cream pie, sugar cookies and aged aquavit. 

Palate: Way more textured than the nose suggested. Honey syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toasted oak, white pepper and crystallized ginger. Nothing is more that the other... Incredibly well balanced. It also taste older now in spite of the young alcohol aromas I got on the nose. Quince paste, candied orange peel.

Finish: Long, very long... White pepper, burn of sweet candied orange and baklava syrup. Cinnamon and cloves.

Overall: It's a very easy drinking and amazingly well blended Armagnac. It is young and a little thin on the nose but at the end it delivers a full spectrum of flavors with an impressive balance. I quite enjoyed it. Thanks to Derek Kendzor for the sample.

Price: $95

Jan 10, 2018

Cadenhead's Classic Rum...

Cadenhead's Classic Rum (50.0%): The third rum in a row for the whisky-alternative January is a blended one bottled by widely known and respected independent bottling company Cadenhead's. Although the front label doesn't reveal too much information except stating that it is a product of The West Indies the back label says that it is a five year old blend of column and pot still rums from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama and Trinidad. (Thanks to Mark Watt for the warning...) It is a permanent label of Cadenhead's but the components of this particular blend vary from batch to batch. It doesn't contain any coloring agent and/or added sugar.

Color: Dark amber, copper with a blood orange hue. Thick but rather quick legs.

Nose: Carrot cake, dark muscovado sugar and nutmeg. A little mold, fresh mushrooms and black damp dirt. Fennel, dill and toasted oak staves. Way more impressive on the nose than I expected... Adding a few drops of water thins out the earthy and foresty aromas and adds more sweet spices: cinnamon, cloves and garam masala.

Palate: Hot and warming... Brown sugar, milk chocolate, cinnamon and cloves. Adding water brings out stewed fruits, prunes and ripe damson plums. Thick and mouth covering texture. Very enjoyable... Black peppercorns and roasted macadamia nuts. Late edit: I figured out that it also benefits immensely from airing. After letting it sit for quite some time it calms down, gets sweeter and mellower.

Finish: Long but soft. Nutmeg and cinnamon.

Overall: Absolutely loved it... I admit that it is a tad pricey but the liquid in the bottle totally justifies it. A good rum to offer to a whisky lover who is so convinced that he hates rums... It's totally good to sip neat and for my two cents its 50% abv is spot on. I probably won't use it in cocktails because but if you do who am I to judge..? It definitely will do great in any cocktail. At the end long story short it is highly recommended.

Price: $50

Jan 6, 2018

Pusser's Rum Gunpowder Proof...

Pusser's Rum Gunpowder Proof (54.5%): When I first started to hit the London pub scene in late 90s as a young kid I was blown away with the amazing culture embedded in it. I wanted to learn more and wanted to spend more time around without drawing too much attention. I simply wanted to blend in... So I started to pretend to be a regular or rather an experienced pubgoer by mimicking other cool cats around me. One of the first things I learned was ordering a glass of Grant's or a Pusser's Blue Label to accompany my pint... So, that's how I first met the brand Pusser's in late 90s. It is a classical brand with an iconic bottle and label design... Hard to miss when you see it on a store or a bar shelf. This particular expression I will be tasting is blended from Guyanese rums only as the label indicates.

Color: Dark amber, mahogany with almost a red hue. Quite satisfying oily (sugary?) legs around the glass.

Nose: Brown sugar, molasses and nutmeg. Pungent... Cooked prunes, dates, hot tar and new car tires. Pretty young and raw distillate aromas... Hint of struck matches, powdered ginger and mold. Forest floor after a heavy pour.

Palate: Sweet but not overwhelming. Baklava syrup, zante currants and burnt molasses. Almost like tasting leftover pot scrapings after a homemade caramel cooking attempt which slightly went wrong... Vanilla, grilled pineapple rings and whole cloves. Orange peel jam, wet tobacco and tar again. 

Finish: Medium long with sugar burn and molasses. It leaves an odd plasticky and sugary aftertaste...

Overall: Way better than I was remembering actually. I liked it... I think (to my surprise) I can even sip it after adding a few drops of water. Definitely will do great in cocktails and highballs but I really enjoyed it sipping as well. Only thing that threw me off was that plasticky aftertaste.

Late edit: Today while I was editing my tasting notes after scribbling them down on a piece of paper almost two months ago and I can say that the bottle is long gone... It is kinda amazing how fast we killed it at home after we opened it. We must have liked it... Well, it looks like I will be getting another bottle soon.

Price: $40