Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Three Michel Huard Calvados
There are really only two American retailers that matter when you're talking about French brandy: K&L in California and Astor Wines in New York. Now each of them have an exclusive from Calvados producer Michel Huard so I thought I'd compare them along with one Huard's general releases. These come from star importer Charles Neal.
Michel Huard Hors D'Age 90-92-99, 40% ($60)
This is a general Huard release that is a blend of brandies from 1990, 1992 and 1999, ranging from 16 to 25 years old. It has a big apple nose. On the palate, it's quite sweet with apple and spice notes. The finish has cinnamon and baking spices. This one's a bit sweet for me, and not particularly complex, but it's certainly drinkable.
Michel Huard Vieux (K&L), 43% abv ($53)
K&L's entry (pictured) is a blend of seven and 17 year old brandies. The nose is dry with apples and spice. Those notes continue on the palate - apples and spice, along with some new make type notes, and followed by a medicinal note that lingers into the finish where it grows stronger. This is decent but not particularly complex, and the finish is a bit overly medicinal for me.
Michel Huard 1999, (Astor) 16 yo, 43% abv ($80)
This is Astor's pick, a vintage 1999 16 year old. The nose is dry brandy without a lot of distinctive apple. The palate is spicy with light apple that leads to a medicinal finish.
These were three very different Calvados. None of them blew me away, but between the three, I liked the 1999 from Astor the best. It was dry and refined. The 90-92-99 had a totally different character - sweet and apple forward; it was very drinkable. My least favorite was K&L's Vieux which was raw and medicinal compared to the other two.