The ninth and final Armagnac from the bottle share is another Bas Armagnac, like the Laballes and the Tariquet from a couple of days ago. I didn’t overly like those drinks, even though Bas Armagnac is supposedly the better terroir for distilling the various grapes used in Armagnac production.
This Gaston Legrand brand is a fairly big one at the shop I was at. They have lots and lots of vintages which are still available and affordable, albeit slightly more expensive than the Saint Christeau that was the focus of the share.
First, the last review:
Baron Gaston Legrand, Bas Armagnac, 1995, 40%
The nose is slightly sharper than the older versions. Rich, full and fruity. Some chocolate as well. It lightens up quickly to a level that it’s almost ephemeral. It’s nicely balanced with even some grassy scents.
The palate is slightly dry and sharp. Young oak and pepper. Sweet, but also volatile again. Slightly spicy and not really fruity as I expected. The chocolate flavor makes a show as well, but is very late.
The finish is dry, fruity and sweet. Grapes. Not very long and more like cocoa than chocolate.
This is a quite nice Armagnac. Not as nice as the ridiculously epic 1940, but that’s not fair competition either. I think it’s on par with the Saint Christeaus from 1990 and 1987. The Laballes, which I hoped to compare to this one are a lot less nice.
This one is more complex and slightly more mature than the young and spirity Laballe Armagnacs. The lightness of this Legrand spirit is the most surprising bit and makes for a nice change of pace compared to the big and chocolaty older versions.
I think what should happen next (not the wrap up below) is me getting some older Legrands, and maybe an older Laballe to see whether they correct themselves with age. I know Legrand does since my buddy Henk brought a 1964 to the Blog Birthday Bash in 2014.
Now for a complete wrap up, ranking and such.
By now it should be clear the 1940 vintage is my overall winner. I really loved that one and it had the right combination of idiotic age, punch and richness. But, let’s make a list.
- Saint Christeau Armagnac 1940
Big flavors, very old age and the appropriate magic happening
- Saint Christeau Armagnac 1950
See above, just toned slightly down a bit
- Saint Christeau Armagnac 1990
Young and fresh compared to the previous two, but lots of interesting flavors and more punchy.
- Saint Christeau Armagnac 1938
In a way the flavors were great, but it was all a bit too thin compared to what came earlier. I expected more.
- Baron Gaston Legrand Bas Armagnac 1995
Younger, interesting flavors. More spirity without it being like raw alcohol.
- Saint Christeau Armagnac 1987
Comparable to the 1990, but the less interesting one. So, in a way it’s skippable.
- Laballe Bas Armagnac 2006
The tail end. This was the best of the worst.
- Laballe Bas Armagnac Réserve
This one didn’t make any sense to me. I see no reason why you’d bottle this, except if the goal is to have something really cheap on the market. Even though it wasn’t that cheap at all.
- Chateau Tariquet Blanche Armagnac
Well, this just sucked. Raw brandy. Not development, no layers.
Armagnac is cool but cannot and will not replace whisky in my book. Although I can imagine spending some more money on this in the future. A bit like the final result of the Mezcal bottle share early in 2014.
I might be on the look out for some slightly more mature ones than half of what we had here, although I won’t be spending anything in the hundreds of euros to get the 1940 vintages or anything. You know, the eighties or seventies were fine too, and quite affordable. Ridiculously affordable compared to what whisky from that era costs.