The Saint Christeau Armagnac was varying from 1990 back to 1938. I initially planned to stretch that time span further, between 1995 and 1934. Unfortunately these two were not available anymore and I settled for the others.
Whichever way you put it, a 1930s Armagnac either from the fourth or the eighth year of the decade is ancient. It’s from before the last world war. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the time this liquid has spent in oak. If I’m correct my grandfather wasn’t even of drinking age back then.
The other one in this review is from just after the war. It’s interesting to taste that one too, since what I remember from my history lessons is that the quality of products was fairly low in that period, since everyone was focused on rebuilding as soon as possible. Maybe the south of France was spared a bit. They did surrender fairly quickly, and Operation Overlord started a bit further to the north.
Saint Christeau 1938-2007, 40%
Initially it’s a tad thin, a bit tired. Even though it’s fairly intense still. The oak influence is lighter than the 1940 and the others. Fruity, but quite different than I expected. I expected bigger flavors. Slightly too light on the spirit, the oak, the fruit and all flavors.
The palate makes up for the slightly lacking nose. Slightly hot pepper. Oak, dry and some red fruits. Slightly acidic too, and some bitter chocolate late on the palate.
Very dry on the finish and peppery. Slightly one dimensional though. Oak, and some fruit flavors.
It takes quite a long time before this one brings the flavors you expect. Even when it does, it stays a tad thin. It’s a shame. I’m not saying this is a bad drink, far from it, but the 1940 cannot be topped by two years earlier in oak and one year later to be bottled.
So, a good drink but not good enough. Quite harsh, right?
Saint Christeau 1950-2008, 40%
The nose is very light. There’s quite some oak, but not comparable to whisky of the same age, so quite light. Some fruit cake, some light spices. Chocolate. Lots of old European oak and dates.
The palate, surprisingly, has a lot of oak. Old wine and heavy spiced cake. Slightly ‘over aged’. A tad thin, but still intense and peppery. Lots of fruit, red fruits, cherries and blackberries.
The finish is dry with lots of fruit and lots of oak. Long and some balsamic vinegar.
While this is still not as nice as the 1940, it is a close call. This one has big flavors with lots of oak, but it being a 40% drink and an old one at that still make it quite light. The chocolate on the nose is a nice addition, and the balsamic vinegar on the finish too.
A great one, this Armagnac. Big flavors, nicely balanced against each other. The oak is fairly forward, but that’s what you expect after almost six decades in a cask. Good stuff, and ‘affordable’ at not even € 250.