L’Encantada – Les Bidets – 35 Year Old – 1982 – Cask No. 003 – K&L Selection – Bas Armagnac – Review | 47% (94 Proof)
Color/Appearance: Orange-ish red. Standard amber for Armagnac. Though for thirty-five years old this is sort of light looking. Maybe moved to less reactive casks at some point. Lets talk about the big numbers here, Thirty-five and 1982. Wow it sure is nice to be able to afford something distilled only a year after my younger, and less handsome, brother was born, Hi Jim. This is one of the best parts of getting into Armagnac and brandy in general, affordability is much higher than scotch, and Bourbon, well forget about it, I have to fight to secure any bottle over ten years old. In 1982 I was nine and this stuff was already aging away in some dusty French barn. At least that is what I like to imagine. Lets see if older is better. I sure hope it is because as I age, that is what I keep telling myself.
Nose: Jolly Rancher green apple candies morphing into the grape variety. Bright and very fresh smelling. Sweet tarts candies, bottle caps candy. Apparently I am detecting lots of different hard candies, interesting. Then underneath emerges some soft leather, caramel, apple blossom, and polished wood. At first the candies and richer deeper tones seem quite separate, but given some time they merge and the affect is amazing.
Palate: Calvados with its tart apple, leather, and funk. Sandalwood which I taste as a spicy complex oak that I adore, grape skins, and honeysuckle. This honeysuckle note is not what I would call floral, but more something that a provides fragrant lift. The taste is soft, complex, and chewy.
Finish: Cotton candy, Apple Jacks cereal, cloves, peach skins, and tart green apples this time real ones and not hard candy. Very light on the oak here, which is rather nice because it would have destroyed the lighter fresh character of this.
Overall: This is such an interesting cask. Very different from some other Armagnacs that I have had, but I really appreciate that. At first I was surprised by its apple notes and bright freshness, but as I work through the bottle and give each pour its due time, I find myself really digging this stuff. If you are to follow the one minute of air time per year of aging rule you should wait thirty-five minutes for this stuff to fully express itself. I find that theory holds true for this cask. Also as the bottle has been open for a few months the brighter acidic notes have receded a bit and the richer deeper more traditional Armagnac notes are becoming more expressive. Thankfully these two things together produce a spirit that is well worth seeking out. Just give it some time and patience and you will be rewarded.