With Wu Dram Clan and Kirsch Import getting a bit of an increasing focus on Cognac, it’s not too surprising there’s a separate brand for these bottlings. And, with Grapediggaz being that brand, they’ve chosen a rather epic name, if I may say so.
What I’ve seen so far from Wu Dram Clan, and now Grapediggaz they’re in, what I call, ‘whisky drinker’s Cognac’. These Kirsch bottlings from a while ago, the 1967 for Wu Dram Clan, that 1967 one for Wu Dram Clan and Passie voor Whisky (not yet reviewed) and this one are definitely Cognac, but in their specific style they’re not the smooth, oak focused drink that I know from my father in law.
The style is a little bit more sharp, a bit more rustic and rugged, and has more of a bite than ‘old fashioned’ Cognac. In short, I love the stuff.
The premise is to make Cognac, and Armagnac later on, more available to whisky drinkers. With a plan to release a new cask every few months and bottling it as naturally as possible. No sugar, no boisé, no caramel.
On a personal note: A few years ago I dabbled in Armagnac, Mezcal and last year seems to have been the year of rum. I somehow expect to have a bit more of a focus on Cognac this time around. No idea how that has kicked off…
Today sees the release of the first Grapediggaz bottling. A Lot 75 Vallein-Tercinier from the Petite Champagne subregion of the Cognac area in France. Bottled at 51.7% (also very un-Cognac-like) it brings a bit of punch, even at some 45 years of age. These ‘lot 75’ statements mean that it was from the 1975 vintage.
This is rather timid on the nose. There’s soft notes of pound cake although I guess that’s more a whiff of vanilla than anything else. A hint of milk-chocolate, and some ‘old wine’ notes too. The age is noticeable, and the ABV is nowhere to be found on the nose.
The palate gives us dry oak, mediterranean fruit like grapes and candied orange, some charred mango, with the fruit sugar being caramelized. Hot chocolate with a buttery note.
The finish continues with the buttery caramel notes, together with some charred tropical fruits. Hot chocolate, oak, vanilla.
Once again, it’s not a very typical Cognac, although the smoothness on the nose was rather surprising. The notes of chocolate and fruit work very well together and make this dangerously drinkable!