Monday, January 14, 2013
Daniel Bouju Cognac
Having done a number of Cognac reviews in the past, I've been focusing on Armagnac during this series, but I did want to feature one Cognac that has piqued my interest and seems to be highly regarded. Daniel Bouju is a small grower/producer in the Grande Champagne region of Cognac. It seems that much of their Cognac isn't available in the U.S. or is very hard to find, but I was able to get some samples from a friend. Like many of the Armagnacs I tasted last week, the Bouju Cognacs exhibit a bolder flavor profile than the typical syrupy sweetness that we find in many Cognacs.
Bouju claims that they don't use any additives or caramel, but these things are all as black as night which certainly makes me suspicious. They don't carry any age statement, but I'm told that the Royal is 15 years old, the Extra is 35 years old and the Tres Vieux is 40 years old. The Royal and the Tres Vieux are cask strength (brut de fut).
Daniel Bouju Royal, 60% abv
The nose is dry and a bit musty. On the palate, there's an initial sweetness yielding to a dry palate, some spice and some of the mustiness from the nose as well as some medicinal notes. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. The finish is peppery. This tastes like some kind of Cognac concentrate, thick and rich and syrupy.
Daniel Bouju Extra, 40% abv
The nose is quite spicy with fruit underneath. The palate is sweet with freshly dried prunes, raisins and ends in spice which joins the prunes in the finish with just a touch of bitterness.
Daniel Bouju Tres Vieux, 50% abv
The nose on this is dry and woody, more like a bourbon than a Cognac. On the palate, it comes on astringent, though not in a bad way, with a fair amount of acid as well as spicy tobacco notes, yielding to some fruit, then menthol. The fruit comes back for the finish, mixed with some spice, then trails off with a palate numbing menthol.
After all of that Armagnac, I had to adjust to the sweetness of these, though they are not as sweet as most Cognacs. Of these three, I most enjoyed the Royal, with it's concentrated flavor, but also liked the Tres Vieux which had a lot going on but may not have had as many high notes. I didn't care as much for the Extra, which was overly bitter on the finish. All of these are very intense such that a little goes a long way.