L’Encantada – Le Frêche – 29 Year Old – 1988 – Cask No. 22 – Lincoln Road Package Store Selection – Bas Armagnac | 52% (104 Proof)
Color/Appearance: Much darker than amber. Like your amber deposit got burned and charred. Now we are talking. Almost thirty years old this was certainly aged in new oak for much of that time. Not sure exactly where this was produced, as the “Le Frêche” Domaine is really a pseudonym. There are a select few who know, but they aren’t telling. Fine by me, I only really care about what their stuff tastes like. This barrel, or part of a barrel, was selected by Jamie Farris owner of Lincoln Road Package Store, which as you may well know, is known for selecting some great barrels of bourbon. Lets see if they have the same skill at picking Armagnac.
Nose: You can easily smell it across the room. Pancakes with deep maple syrup, bananas foster, or are they flambeing cherries too. Light incense, black licorice, fresh unlit tobacco. A nose you never want to stop.
Palate: Dark fruit with black cherry and prunes. Deep spice with clove, coriander cinnamon, black pepper and star anise. Some tobacco, leather, and then nicely, root beer barrel candy, Powerful oak. It certainly is a lot of oak, but every time I sit with a glass it opens up more and more. As has the bottle. The oak feels appropriate for all the other dialed up to eleven flavors.
Finish: Long, long, long. Old fruit, raisins, cherry, black grapes, are fading out with a cascade of exotic spices, and a floor of deep oak. Eventually getting herbal with sage and rosemary.
Overall: This is a special pour. It does have a lot of oak, but if you are a fan of older bourbon this is still well within tolerances. It’s rich, deep and tastes amazing. This is the kind of Armagnac that makes bourbon fans become Armagnac fanatics. It tastes old. There is no way you are getting anywhere close to this depth of flavor in less than twenty-five years or so. A glass of this demands your attention. This is some heady shit. Take your time and you will be rewarded. If this had slightly less oak it would be an all time pour, its that good. Oh and if you are reading this and thinking, gee I should try some Armagnacs, Don’t! Go back to paying $150 for a bottle of Weller and leave all the yak for me.