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 2000, 46% abv ($56)

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 1985, 48% abv ($116)

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.


David D said...

We might also want to add that while we did not give you any free samples, we did pay you $100 in cash.

Thanks for writing these up SKU. See that world? I'm not just a one man hyperbole machine!!

There are more of these on the water, so don't worry if you wanted one and didn't get one in time. Pellehaut, Baraillon, and d'Ognoas brandies are not single cask so we can keep reordering. Problem is they don't have a delivery truck in CA, so we have to send a boat and it takes a while.

sku said...

Great news that there are more coming! I updated the post with the info.

Matt L said...

Loving the brandy stuff Sku and David. So, David, can you get more of the same vintage or will the year be different next time?

David D said...

Same stuff. Same juice. We are going again in March however to look for new stuff.

sam k said...

A hundred bucks? Seems like you'd have done better with a bottle sweater, David!

Great work on the reviews, Sku! Never had an Armagnac, but this makes me want to give it a shot.

Matt L said...

Great to hear! Thanks David. Looking forward to reading about the next trip.

tanstaafl2 said...

I see you note this is your final review of K&L exclusive Armagnacs. Will any of your reviews in the future be for bottles that are available from somewhere besides K&L? I am sure they have lovely stuff but I don't live in California and that aren't able to ship to me. I would love to hear about bottles of Armagnac that might be more readily available in other parts of the country or from other major internet shippers. For example Castarède Sélection Armagnac was recently suggested as a young but good "starter" Armagnac. Any thoughts on that one or similar options?

sku said...

tanstaafl2, patience Grasshopper, there is a whole world of Armagnac out there and we're just scratching the surface. The Pellehaut Reserve that I posted about earlier this week is widely available. We will have another one today that is on the east coast and may expand. I haven't had the one you mentioned, but I intend to keep tasting, so hopefully there will be more to come.

tanstaafl2 said...

Patience is not one of my best virtues but I wll do my best. But even if I can't get it, it makes for an interesting read. Carry on!

Alex said...

Sku, any plans to try the new 1998 Baraillon armagnac from K&L? My bottle is on the way, but I was interested in your take on it.

Like many younger armagnacs, it's made from 100% Folle Blanche. I know you liked some of those in the past, but you weren't enamored with the Tariquet. I like the Tariquet 15yr--it is less bold and spicy, but I like the apple cider and soft cinnamon notes I get from it.