Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Three More K&L Armagnacs: Domaine D'Ognoas 2000, Domaine de Lassaubatju 1989 & Domaine de Baraillon 1985
Today I'll be tasting my final three Armagnacs from K&L's exclusive barrel series.
Domaine D'Ognoas is a prestigious producer in the Bas-Armagnac that is part of a state funded school teaching brandy production. The 2000 Domaine D'Ognoas offered by K&L is one of the lowest priced bottles in their series. It is a blend of 30% Folle Blanc and 70% Ugni Blanc grapes.
This has a really nice nose with apple, pear and some floral notes. The palate is a massive spice box with cooking spices, earthy notes and a bit of oak. It turns nutty on the finish and ends with a touch of bitterness, though not in a bad way, more like you get in a Campari.
This is really wonderful stuff at a great price. There's a boldness of flavor that is hard to find at this price point. If this was cask strength, I bet it would be unstoppable. This is one I would definitely recommend. (Note: per K&L's David Driscoll in the comments, there are only a few of these in the stores right now but more on the way).
Domaine de Lassaubatju 1989, 44.2% abv ($80)
On the nose this is quite spicy with pepper, fresh cut wood. On the palate, this is perhaps the driest of the Armagnacs I've sampled so far with the spice taking on almost a chile like hotness and then fading into wood. The dry spiciness might appeal to rye whiskey fans. This was very good, but I'm not quite as excited about it as either of the other two in today's review.
Domaine de Baraillon is a small grower in the Bas-Armagnac region that makes only about two barrels of brandy per year. This bottling is a 1985 vintage made from ugni blanc and baco grapes.
This has a fantastic nose with fruit but also earthy notes, like a forest after the rain. That same earthiness shows up on the palate along with some sweet sherry or port notes and some of the lovely damp mildew you sense when visiting a winery. The finish is slightly spicy and very earthy.
This is just lovely stuff. In fact, I think it's my favorite Armagnac of the K&L series. It actually reminds me of some of the old, dusty bourbon I've had which has a certain earthiness to it. If you're interested in Armagnac, it would be hard to go wrong with the Domaine de Baraillon.
Note on disclosure: Someone asked in the comments yesterday if I am getting these brandies for free from K&L. The answer is no. While I rarely get free samples, it does happen occasionally and if I'm reviewing something I received from someone in the industry, I will always disclose it. Later this week, I will have a review based on such a sample, and I'll let you know, but the vast majority of the spirits I sample are things I have bought myself or that non-industry friends have kindly shared with me. As always, though, I am happy to accept anything for free, including bottle sweaters, key chains, distillery trips, pharmaceuticals or cash. Of course, none of these will impact my reviews, except the bottle sweaters.