Chateau De Leberon Solera 2001 (43.2%): After a long and busy week finally I am having some time to sit down with my notebook, pen and tasting glass and to start to go through some pretty exciting Armagnac samples I received from PM Spirits a few days back. I want to start with the bottle that piqued my curiosity the most when I first opened the box... It is produced by Chateau de Leberon using a big Solera cask of 5,500 liter capacity which was first charged in 2001. Every year 10% of this cask got bottled and topped up with three years old Armagnac. This sample vial is filled from the 2019 batch making the Armagnac in the bottle between 3 - 18 year old. It is distilled from 65% Ugni Blanc and 35% Colombard grapes and bottled at 43.2%.
Color: Medium amber, wildflowers honey color with a continuous string of tiny teardrops around the glass which are turning very slowly into oily legs in time.
Nose: Dried apricots, quince paste and orange marmalade. Fir wood, pine honey and dry leaves on the forest floor. Warm see breeze, sage and herbs de Provence. A couple of drops os water opens it up more: Wet wool, dried figs and dried flowers.
Palate: Very summery... Pine needles, sea salt and crunchy oatmeal raisin cookies. Chamomile tea, rosemary leaves and pine honey. A little tannic: Grape seeds, over-brewed green tea and oak. After letting it air for some time it also gets tad bitter. Pomace brandy, preserved grape leaves and stewed currants. I was pretty much ok with it but water solves the bitterness... It's creamy now. Apricot cream, Mexican flan and ground coriander.
Finish: Medium long with white pepper, green tea and ground ginger. Dry oak and salt.
Overall: I like spirits on the drier and more bitter side and this one suits me just perfect. A very good balance of the fruitiness of older spirits and piny and tannic character of the younger components. If you feel like it's a little too bitter for you in the beginning let it air for a while and add just a few drops of water. It's fairly priced as well... In the end I quite liked it. Thanks to PM Spirits sending me this sample for review purposes without any strings attached. The review, all notes and opinions above are my own.