Monday, March 11, 2013

Chateau de Laubade Armagnac

Chateau de Laubade is one of the giants of Armagnac, one of the largest producers is the Bas Armagnac region. Laubaude sent me a sample of their XO, so I thought I would try that along with a sample of the higher end Chateau de Laubade Extra that I picked up from a friend.

The XO expression blends brandies from 12 to 25 years old and includes a mixture of Baco, Colombard, Ugni-Blanc, and Folle Blanche grapes. In the world of Armagnac, Laubade is one that most everyone hears about from the moment they get interested in the spirit. 

Chateau de Laubade XO, 40% abv ($60)

The nose is thick with fruit, apricots, raisins, apples, you name it.  The palate opens quite sweet with just a bit of spice kicking in mid palate, then fades into a nice fruit spice.

This is perfectly pleasant but not very the same way that Glenlivet is to Scotch.  Comparing it to the two other Armagnacs I've tried at this price point, I'd say the Chateau du Tariquet XO is sweeter while the K&L Domaine D'Ognoas is spicier, but both of those are more interesting than this Laubade.

Chateau de Laubade Extra, 40% ($350)

The nose on this has a sweet, woody quality with some maple syrup notes.  The palate starts very sweet with fruit juice; it's followed by pleasant, tannic, woody note and then some spice.  The spice picks up a bit more late palate and into a fairly short finish.

I have to say, I'm not overly impressed with this one.  It has some nice spice notes but a bit more sweetness than I would like on the front palate.  It's fine, but it doesn't strike me as anywhere near a $350 spirit. I found it to be pretty average.

Others really like this, so I would encourage everyone to check out the review of our frequent commenter Numen on the Cognac Forum for an alternative view. 


Numen said...

Hi Sku,

The Extra has been a bit controversial in my tasting sessions, so I appreciated your take. Some people, especially those preferring bourbon/whisky drinkers, tended to be less enamored of it. This is definitely a sweeter old-style French brandy (cake frosting type notes) and candied almonds, also found in the Tesseron Lot 29, which I liked a lot.

Having said that, I haven't been able to revisit this spirit in a while; the cork is stuck! The fancy cork apparatus broke apart, and the rest of it is thoroughly lodged in there. Or at least it's too tough to grip to pull out.

Of the last three times that I had it (and it's been five or six months), I adored it once, liked it a lot once, and was disappointed once.

I don't know whether the cork wound up being the problem because the last few times I tasted it was clearly oxidized or oxidizing. The first few pours from the bottle were amazing, but the few pours that I was able to get out of it before the cork finally got lost in the bottle were a bit more bitter (and with more notes of rubbing alcohol on the nose).

The Maison Surrenne Tonneau no. 1 was also controversial in that a few people loved it (or some batches of it) and others came away much less impressed.

Unknown said...

Labaude XO not very interesting? That's interesting, I find it exquisite. I had many drinks 3 times the price (scotch, cognac), that were not as good. But I am new to armagnac, so maybe I will still find better ones. I'm sold.