Bhakta 50yo Batch #3 and #4...

Raj Peter Bhakta is one of the most polarizing and controversial characters in the spirits world. While his style of conducting business is often seen opportunistic and mercenary to say the least by so many in the industry he is also appreciated by many others as an unorthodox and innovative entrepreneur who dares to bend the rules. Sometimes till they snap. A man of action, so to speak... His new enterprise he started right after selling his shares and walking away from Whistle Pig is called Bhakta Spirits and the very first spirit released in consecutive batches under the label is a blend of different vintages of brandies sourced from Armagnac region in France. They are finished in ex-Islay whisky barrels for two weeks first and then transferred into bigger ex-Armagnac casks for an additional week before being bottled in Vermont and distributed nationwide. I have samples of batch #3 and batch #4 to taste today which were generously shared with me by a friend who originally received them. Batch #3 is named "Pendragon" and Batch #4 is named "Galahad".

Bhakta 50yo "Pendragon" Batch #3 (45.0%): This batch is a blend of Armagnacs distilled in 1868, 1897, 1939, 1946, 1952, 1963, 1964 and 1970. After being married and going through the two stages of cask finishing I described above the spirit is bottled on August 20th, 2020 and named after King Arthur Pendragon.

Color: Medium amber, old copper color with an orange shine and thin but pretty persistent and oily legs.

Nose: Old, damp hardwood floors, raisins and fruit cake. Cinnamon, grape molasses and burnt rubber.

Palate: Bone dry... Hardwood vintage furniture, dry soot and campfire smoke. Black soil, green almonds and ground cardamom. Old cork and medlar.

Finish: Medium to short but fades out after soaking up everything liquid in your mouth. Tart with yellow grapefruits and as dry as pencil shavings.

Overall: A little too dry and earthy for my taste... I would love to get more fruits even if they are dried and dusty. For what it is worth peated whisky barrel finish is hardly recognizable.

Price: $325


Bhakta 50yo "Galahad" Batch #4 (47.7%): Batch #4 is named after a knight from King Arthur's round table this time, son of Lancelot... It is a blend of vintages 1868, 1904, 1933, 1947, 1951, 1959, 1964 and 1970 and bottled on September 13th, 2020.

Color: Medium amber, almost the same color with batch #3 but just a touch darker. Now since I can compare the legs between the two I can tell that this one has slightly thicker ones.

Nose: Good sign: Less wood, more fruit compared to batch #3... Canned peaches and baked apples and pears. Aged Calvados, grape seeds and whole cloves.

Palate: Quite different... Kumquats, tart clementines and soft peat smoke. Still tart but way less dry. Dark chocolate, plastic food containers and chamomile tea. Burnt ends, skillet pie scrapings and old cardboard boxes. Dusty and chalky...

Finish: Medium long and dry with lemon powder, ground ginger and baking powder.

Overall: I liked this batch better than batch #3... It's less puckery and less dry. There are more fruit notes to pick even though they are all in the background and mostly citrusy and tart.

Price: $350