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Cadenhead's Distillerie Charpentier 30 Year Old Cask Strength Cognac (700ml)
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- ABV 52.4%
Quite extraordinary: It's Cognac, it has an age statement, possibly drawn from a single barrel, it's bottled at cask strength and has no caramel colouring. Sourced from Denis Charpentier's inventory, who started in the wine business in 1984 and founded the house that bears his name several years later. His wines, Champagnes, Cognac, brandy, and Scotch whisky have all received numerous gold medals and trophies in international competitions.Serge from WhiskyFun (one of the most prolific spirits reviewers on the planet) rated this 90 points in Sept 2015 (see below review, and yes, 90 points is a huge score from this man).
In Cadenhead's words, "A big nose from this single cask Cognac. Sweet toffee; quite oily with bananas, liquorice, brown sugar and coffee beans. Palate Sandalwood; stewed fruits with soft spices; white pepper, cinnamon, star anise and then toffee and faint kiwi fruits. Amazingly rich and rather complex as one would expect after 30 years in the cask. Finish Growing toffee and spiced oak with waxy orange notes and candied ginger. A sit back and relax cognac. Dare we say this would make a fantastic gift for anyone who's looking for an alternative to buying a whisky." Tasting note: Brilliant polished copper / brass colour. Spirity but doesn't sting, in fact the aroma is surprisingly harmonious given the ABV. The opening phase releases notes of dried fruit and roasted nuts, followed by banana cake, brown sugar, brandy cream and hazelnut chocolate. Five minutes emphasises dried fig, raisin, vanilla and cedar wood plus more. Punchy and full bodied with a concentrated fig and smokey cardamom delivery; finish adds drier notes of cigar box, cinnamon, pepper and late fruitiness. Solid length and balance, closing slightly acidic, spirity and more restrained than the mid-palate stage. An unadulterated gem. 52.4% Alc./Vol. Other reviews... I hope these Scots won’t teach us lessons! I do not think that Charpentier are distillers, so this might be a merchant’s merchant bottling, so to speak. Let’s try it… At least, the strength is right! Colour: gold. Nose: malt whisky! I’m not joking, they’ve managed to select one cognac that smelled pretty much of malt whisky. Well, it smells much less of cognac than all the other cognacs we’ve just tried (which is why I never taste spirits as singletons, without any comparisons). So overripe apples, hay, barnyard, burnt wood, a little paraffin, and even a very remote smokiness. Plus stewed tropical fruits, perhaps guavas. With water: seriously! It’s quite great, it’s just… malty. It’s well known that the old Scots used to add brandy to their whiskies for improving prior to selling them, but the other way ‘round? Now indeed, these very fine notes of peaches… Mouth (neat): a Scottish cognac indeed. Starts like a malt, and develops like a malt. Vanilla and barley. Oh, did it spend a little time in an ex-whisky cask of some kind? That would be illegal – so we’ll never know, ha-ha – but it feels a bit like that. Apples, green melons… And very, very little raisins. Perhaps one tiny raisins? With water: same feelings, but it really gets complex. Herbal teas, menthol, citrons… And peaches. Finish: long, fresh, parfait. I mean, perfect. Comments: metanoical spirit or cross-genre distillate, I don’t know how to call this. What’s sure is that I find it quite superb. The Scots teaching the French a few lessons, this obviously isn’t rugby ;-)
90 points - www.whiskyfun.com