Interstellar SESSION #1
Grosperrin Petite Champagne 29-47 + Pre-Phyllo
We’re back in Grosperrin’s cellars, this time for something quite old. It’s a venerable assemblage of 1929 and 1947 with a little part of pre-phylloxeric cognac. Even if this Petite Champagne is in demi-John for years, the ABV is under 40% (around 37%, which is not the case for all the batches if I’m not mistaken). This sample comes from the L406-28 and was made in 2021).
Colour: Dark amber, orange lights. Irregular medium tears.
Nose: Very honeyed tones at first. Subtle light patine (or palepatine for those from the dark side). Powerful rancio on stable scents and rotten wood. Oaky/herbal shades then. Oxidated notes, something between old Sauternes and tawny port wine scents. A tad of heady smells on verbena and orange blossom.
Mouth: Sweet/oily texture with acidulous aftertaste. Full of citruses juice at first. Astonishing youngness on pink Grapefruit. Stunning mouth length regarding the ABV. Nice acidulous rancioted notes on umami aromas (white mushrooms, soy sauce) and yuzu juice. Probably a tad too oaky in the aftertaste.
Last Notes: Still heavy honeyed tones (hydromel) surrounded by hints of candied fruits (mainly rhubarb marmalade). Nice dash of herbal notes on fresh tarragon and basil. Strong licorice rancio. Still, some stable scents too, but less powerful than the previous impression. Back on the palate, you find fruity acidulous shades on blackberry and blackcurrant juice. Great nutty and pastry notes on dry chestnut and marzipan. Still a tad too oaky aftertaste on linseed oil and sandpapered oak plank.
Unfortunately a tad too unbalanced. A true piece of cognac history that has to stay in a library. In terms of taste, it feels quite young for its average age, but its unique patine reminds you that this P.C is quite old (youngest eau-de-vie is 74 yo). I remember that I preferred the same blend without the pre-phyllo part, more elegant with distinct rancioted notes (no sample of this one unfortunately).
Andre Petit Petite Champagne L14 40%
Well, here is another unique piece of history. Back in 1914, vines that have provided this cognac were located in Petite Champagne, but they’ve been downgraded for politico-economical reasons, and now they’re Bons Bois vines. This one has been put in demi-John probably more than a decade ago.
Colour: Mahogany, amber lights. Regular medium tears.
Nose: Stunning heady rancio at first. Full of citruses and fresh leather scents. Rhone Valley red wine notes, typical red fruit/berrie scents of Cote Rotie wines. Very tobacco-y too. Full of balsamic notes in the background. Hints of oaky scents arise, mainly on burnt wood. Delicious spicy shades of cinnamon and bourbon vanilla. Light fruity notes of vine peaches and litchis. And now you get a creamy ranch on apricot yoghurt and creme brulee.
Mouth: Oily texture carrying roasted notes of bitter chocolate and roasted hazelnut. Still, some balsamic notes, but a bit hidden by heavy oaky aromas. Liquid spruce. It seems that the wood had eaten a great part of this venerable PC. Too bad, because its nose has undeniable qualities. But could it be better with more air?
Last Notes: Full of dried prunes and raisins now. Gentle honeyed notes on beeswax. Burnt scents of roasted sesame seeds and roasted black pepper. Back of the palate, it’s nicely balanced fruitiness (plum liquor) and honeyed tones. Nice notes of white Burgundy wine on buttery and nutty aromas. Raisins and prunes are here, matching the nose impression. It ends on dry chestnut and walnut oil.
Well, I have to admit that I was expecting a bit more of this one. It evolves nicely with air, providing great dried fruit notes and a delicious rancio, but it feels like it has spent too much time in its cask (event if it has been poured in demi-John years ago). But it remains a very moving experience to taste a 1914 cognac, for all the historical facts that it implies.
Prunier Lot 40 G.C 55%
First Prunier on Hors d’Age. And what a first one. Lot 40 means 1940. Yes. 81 yo Grande Champagne, bottled in 2021 at 55% for Whisky Mercenary (42 bottles). No other word needed here.
Colour: Mahogany, orange lights. Heavy irregular tears.
Nose: Very heady scents of orange liquor at first. Full of bitter chocolate and various spices. Very dense nose, it needs air for sure. Heavy rancio on wet undergrowth and old leather scents. Still very heady on orange blossom and earl grey tea. A tad of saltiness on olive oil and anchovy. Nice bitterness and roasted notes on cocoa and coffee beans. Light appearance of fruity notes (mainly tinned peaches), but I think this Prunier Lot 40 still needs some air to be at its fullest.
Mouth: Sweet texture with a tad of acidity. Great balance between fruitiness and tannins at first. Still, some delicious chocolate tones. The extreme ABV finally seems very relevant here. Way spicier now with hints of paprika and caraway. Nice balance between fruity aromas (overripe plums, mango) and tannins (black pepper, pine bark, rotten wood). It ends on peach liquor, raisins and typical nutty P.X notes.
Last Notes: I added two tears of water for the end of this tasting. Full of candied citruses now. A tad of sugariness in the background on toffee and caramel sweets followed by delicious nutty scents on nougat. Light acidulous tones of blackcurrant and strawberry juice. Back on the palate, you find tea-ish and spicy shades. Breakfast tea melted with fresh notes of cardamom and white pepper. Still fruity on strawberry and grenadine syrup counterbalanced by a light saltiness (again) on meat juice and green olives. Gigantic mouth length on various herbal notes: tarragon, infused bay leaf, cooked basil and a great dash of black pepper.
Mesmerizing quality here. Great balance between tannins, spiciness and fruitiness. The ABV is surprisingly at the right high, but it also works with a little dilution. Maybe a little lack of something, this extra-touch that I found in the Bons Bois N°38 (unreal freshness) or Le Cognac de Regis (incredible balance between acidulous P.C notes (even if it’s a G.C) and various types of rancio). But 92+, well, that’s the 2nd best G.C ever on Hors d’Age (before the next Interstellar session?).
Vallein Tercinier Grand Rue 34 42%
So here is the famous Grand Rue 34. One of the true gems from V.T’s cellars. This Grande Champagne distilled in 1934 has been aged for 80 yo and bottled in 2014 at 42%. I tasted it 2 times: a first time alone (after 1cl of Grosperrin Cepages to calibrate my palate), a second time in comparison with the G.C 35/41 (80 yo GC,) and Le Cognac de Regis (62 yo G.C, 40,5%).
Colour: Dark amber, gold lights. Irregular heavy tears.
Nose: Wow! Very rum-like beginning. Full of exotic fruits (banana, passion fruits). Ample recited notes on speculoos and caramelized chestnut. Great wave of freshness on mint liquor. Magnificent cigar box scents. Seems that it can’t stop changing. Still very fruity on banana and rhubarb stew. Full of pastry notes, especially on nougat and marzipan. Darker than le Cognac de Regis (I heard this Grand Rue 34 comes from Criteuil too, but it’s only a supposition), less tinned fruits and more leather/cigar tones. Nice flowery shades on orange blossom and jasmine.
Mouth: Stunning acidulous texture. Heavy fruity notes on watermelon and overripe strawberries. Delicious fresh ground coffee and liquid cigar aromas. Great rancioted notes on goat milk and herbs (rosemary and parsley) followed by strong nutty notes of dry walnuts and roasted hazelnuts. Still, some exotic fruits shades, mainly on papaya and mango.
Last Notes: Nice blackcurrant and date scents now. Even more fruitier on tinned plums and kirsch cherry. Dry tobacco notes surrounded by fresh licorice smells. Still very rancioted on overripe melon and wet cellars scents. Stunning come back on the palate. Very acidulous texture again. Great banana stew and watermelon aromas surrounded by the bitterness of ristretto notes. Appearance of subtle spicy notes on Sichuan pepper and cardamom. You also get umami shades on truffle oil and sugary soy sauce (even if serious people prefer salted soy sauce, just saying). Magnificent au-revoir on fig marmalade and candied cedar.
Utterly delicious. Yes, it’s already another 93 in 2022… Everything is here. Extreme fruitiness, elegant floral and tea-ish shades, infinite type of spice notes through the tasting. A cognac that is constantly evolving when poured into your glass. Interstellar quality for sure.