Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brandy Friday: Kelt Cognac - Exciting and New

Kelt is a recent entry into the world of Cognac (founded 1987) with a unique twist on aging. Claiming that in days of yore, spirits "developed in an astonishing way during the long sea voyages from Europe to the new world," Kelt has created the Tour du Monde, an ocean voyage for its barrels. That's right, each of Kelt's barrels is sent out on a three month luxury cruise around the world. (Kelt VSOP, please report to the Lido Deck.) As the Kelt website puts it:

During Kelt’s tour du monde OCEAN MATURATION the spirits move constantly with the rolling of the ship. Every molecule of the liquid is in contact with the oak wood repeatedly each day. There are huge variations in temperature, and often extreme heat. The high temperatures persuade the wood to impart the finest of its lignin into the spirits. The constant changes in temperature and air pressure also enable the wood to expand and contract, thereby varying the oxygenation of the spirits. The evaporation increases considerably as does the quality. The edges are rounded off and the spirit becomes much more mellow and subtle. This is reflected in both the nose and the taste. Due to the constant movement, temperature and air-pressure variations the molecular structure is rearranged, marrying the blend in a formidable way.

Hmm, molecular restructuring due to sloshing about...sounds sort of sci-fi, like the Cognac version of The Fly. I'm not sure I buy it, but hey, let's taste.

The designation V.S.O.P. or Very Superior Old Pale, indicates that the youngest brandy in the bottle has been aged at least four years, though Kelt says it is, in fact, older.


Kelt Tour du Monde, VSOP, Grande Champagne, 40% alcohol ($50-60).

Hmm, smells like whiskey. Tastes similar to a grain whiskey, but lighter. In fact, if you gave it to me blind, I might guess a Scotch single grain; when you hold it in your mouth, you begin to get the more brandy qualities. The finish is where the brandy really comes out, with sweetness and fruit, though I detect more pears than grapes.

Interestingly, Kelt also makes a whiskey, a vatted malt whiskey made from 37 Scotch single malts which also takes the Tour du Monde. It would be fascinating to try, though it does not appear to be available in the US.

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