Last week there was an unexpected delivery of some Cognacs. A personalized letter came with it, but no sender was stated. I had to do a tiny bit of digging in my ‘network’ to find out it came from Kirsch Import. Of course, that was on the labels of the samples, but I didn’t know that one of the Wu Dram Clan (Sebastian Jaeger, to be precise) members works there, so I had to tie some things together.
Anyway, Kirsch Import, to me mostly known for whisky, some private bottlings and such, will release some new Cognacs.
The Cognacs that I received are from very different vintages: 2006 and a mix of 1941 and 1943. Let’s try them, starting with the younger one!
Jean-Luc Pasquet 2006-2021, Organic Cognac, 50.1% – KIRSCH
This Cognac comes from the Pasquet family’s own vineyards, from hand-picked grapes, and distilled by themselves. In Cognac it is not rare to have a blend of grapes from different vineyards, distilled by a shared distillery. That’s not so in this case, this is as ‘single’ as it gets.
The first thing that happens when pouring this, is the sensation of there being a lot of very ripe fruit in the room. When actually assessing the aromas there’s a bit of fresh wood, molten butter and a fruity scent. I normally find the fruit in younger brandies quite harsh, but in this case it’s very gentle. The oak brings some vanilla, and a bit of sweetness. It’s quite dessert-like.
The palate does bring that 50% ABV with it. There’s quite a peppery bite, without being harsh. The oak, its vanilla and that buttery note I got before are here too, and more noticeable than the fruit. There is fruit of course, warm mango, papaya, baked grapes.
The finish continues down the same line as the palate, but does add that slightly sharper note of fruit that I normally get. A bit of copper, fresh grapes, a very light acidity.
This is described as a wild Cognac, and I think I agree with that. It’s very unlike what I know about Cognac and I love it. It offers a new perspective on something familiar, without being unfaithful to the category. The range of flavors is amazing.
Vallein Tercinier, Small Batch 1941/1943-2021, 48.2% – KIRSCH
So, this is a very special one. Of course, there’s the ‘sort of’ vintage. A distillated from the midst of the Second World War, distilled in very difficult times, and kept in French oak barrels until 2006. Since then it was blended and put in glass Dame Jeannes until recently when it was bottled for Kirsch.
Apart from that, it also is the first Vallein Tercinier release completely from their own stock. In Cognac it is common practice to blend from different houses, but this one is completely from the Bon Bois vineyards of Vallein Tercinier themselves.
This is different. There are more minerals than there were on the earlier two, but there’s a definit note of iron, and therefore (in my mind) apples. Lots of oak, and lots of grapes. Fruit alcohol too. Strangely the wood isn’t overpowering, but it does smell like you’re at a sawmill.
The palate is very gentle, but also very dry. Lots of oak shavings, lots of pepper, almond flour. A grape-seed bitterness as well as white grapes themselves. Even though there’s a note of white grapes, there’s also a note of very oaked red wine, with that rich and dry fruitiness that goes with it.
The finish suddenly has lots of red fruits with blackberries, raspberries and grapes. Lots of oak and a bit of a petrol flavor too. The finish is very long, and the combination of the oak and fruit lingers awesomely, and (I know, weird) that note of petrol really adds some complexity.
Damn… This is something else. The notes are all over the place, but it makes for insane complexity, and not for inconsistency. The unexpected notes, first of iron, almond flour, and later of unexpected red fruits and petrol make for a sublime drinking experience.
The entire fact that it is from war era France only adds to being blown away by this one. Such a family treasure to be shared with a German importer is not a common thing.
Both of these awesome Cognacs are going to be available at KIRSCH from tomorrow!
Thanks for sending samples! I guess I’m going to be more ‘into’ Cognac from now on…
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