Interstellar SESSION #2
And here we are. 2 years of Hors d’Age. 2 years of tasting notes, 2 years of discoveries, 2 years of visits through cognac and armagnac areas. 2 years of meeting producers, merchants, amateurs, and experts. 2 intense years that feel like a decade.
Thank you all for your support. Thank you to those who are sharing their passion with me. Thank you to those who have sent me samples through these past 2 years. Thank you Luke, Maxime, Bastien, and Maxime for your unfailing trust.
Well, with that said, it’s now time to get back to the point Valentin. Here is Interstellar Session #2!
Vallein TerCINIER WU DU DRAM CLAN G.C N°67 47%
And we start with a 53yo G.C bottled for the famous german IB. A rare gem, with only 156 bottles available when it has been released. Let’s start with this first one.
Colour: Amber, gold lights. Irregular heavy tears
Nose: Full of tropical fruits at first. Banana yogurt, mango juice. Peach liqueur, pineapple juice. Bang, what an entrance! Heady flowery notes on lemon flower scents. A tad of nutty shades on hazelnut cream and fresh walnut. Generous fruitiness with a great evolution into the glass.
Mouth: Sweet texture. Still a great dash of tropical fruit, mainly passion fruit and mango juice. Delicious latte macchiato shades combined with hazelnut cream (again). A nice amount of various spices (cardamom, carraway, ras el-anout). Wild rancio on cheesy notes, mainly well-done brie. Lingering roasted/ smoked notes on astray notes.
Last Notes: More floral and fresh notes now. A great mix of menthol and jasmine. Still rich exotic scents, more on banana stew now. Wave of tobacco notes surrounded by an opulent fruitiness. Aside from some new tea-ish shades, back on the palate, you still get yummy fruity notes on passion fruit and banana yogurt. Kinda herbal in the background, mainly on tarragon and bay leaf. It ends on great umami notes, especially salted soy sauce.
Exceptional quality here. A funky G.C with a generous rancio. May I ask for another glass please?
Veuve Goudoulin 1959 40%
And we move on with an armagnac. And not the everyday one. I’ve been to Courrensan this summer, and my visit to Goudoulin was quite fabulous, so I’ll publish soon a vertical of various armagnacs that I particularly love from them. And today, let’s begin with this 1959!
Colour: Amber, gold lights. Regular medium tears.
Nose: Sweet honeyed notes followed by nutty notes on hazelnut cream. Here is another heavily rancioted spirit. Huge exotic notes on dried bananas are melted to subtle spiced notes, mainly on cinnamon. Hints of violet sweets combined to smooth oaky and toasted shades remind me a lot of Bourbon scents.
Mouth: Oily texture. Still heavily rancioted, full of licorice aromas. Great dried exotic fruit notes in the background. Pineapple juice. Extreme elegance here. Nice balance between fruitiness and spiciness. Reasonable oakiness on pinesap and linseed oil.
Last Notes: It gets a sweet finesse with air. Jasmine, tinned peaches. What a heady perfume for something reduced at 40%. A tad briny on salted butter scents. Lingering heady notes, progressively on fruit eau-de-vie, something between fine de champagne and plum eau-de-vie, and maybe a little calvados-y to some extend. Back on the palate, you find a tannic structure on nutshell and precious wood. I miss a bit of the fruitiness previously perceived. It ends with nice spiced notes, mainly gingerbeer and black pepper notes.
Not the easiest score to give. If we speak only about the nose, I’ll tell you something like 90/90+ (very elegant, multiple shades). But the palate could be richer, and it could only get something around 88.
Veuve Goudoulin 1934 40%
25 more years (a bit less in terms of aging, because it has been poured in demi-john years ago). 1934, that’s right. But I can hear some suspicious guys tell me that Veuve Goudoulin was founded in 1935, and actually, they’re 100% right. But as a merchant, the compagny has bought many old things through its history, including some pre-WWII rarities.
Colour: Dark amber, gold lights. Regular medium tears.
Nose: Bang! It’s a maelstrom of tropical fruits, with heavy mango, pineapple, and passion fruit juice notes. Mind you, that’s a 75yo armagnac! Incredible rancio made with melted scents of sherry cask whisky (raisins, peanut butter) and ample fruity shades (prunes, dried figs) that are usually found in 40yo+ Grande Champagne cognacs.
Mouth: Oily texture, kinda juicy in the aftertaste. Still has great sherry bomb notes, with a tad more acidity. Oaky notes, maybe a bit too much. Smooth vanilla and roasted hazelnut aromas in the background. Great mouth length regarding the ABV.
Last Notes: Warm spices with more air. Few floral scents too, especially on lavender and potpourri. It’s also full of heavy rancioted notes, something very close to what you find in an MMC3 (nutty shades, fat aromas, PX shades). Walnut oil. Back on the palate, it’s way more refined with air. Delicious chocolate aromas, roasted notes, and a tad of creaminess. What a nice surprise! It ends on orange peel and cocoa powder.
Not my favorite 1934 spirit (haha Val, very funny), but it doesn’t feel like an old armagnac eaten by wood. Yes, oak has its great part in this Veuve Goudoulin 1934, but you have a bunch of fruity and delicate notes in this venerable brandy.
GROSPERRIN GRANDE CHAMPAGNE 33/39 47,4%
Back in Groperrin’s cellars, this time for a masterpiece that I’ve tried 3 or 4 times but for which I can’t manage to do a proper review until today. 33/39, unlike the Fins Bois 52-22, isn’t an assemblage of 1933 and 1939, but this specific name means it is at least a 1939 cognac (so something distilled between 1933 and 1939 in this particular case). Let’s go!
Colour: Amber, old gold. Irregular medium tears.
Nose: Huge fruity and leathery notes at first. Nice malted notes fighting with heady tea-ish scents (black tea). Well, no doubt here, that’s a major Grande Champagne. Quite camphory with air, but it’s constantly evolving. Blackberry jam underlined by truffle oil and freshly cut basil scents. Quince jam, orange zest chocolate, peppermint. This pornographic combination of fruitiness and freshness seems to have no equivalent.
Mouth: Oily/acidulous texture on raspberry and mango juice. True delight. Ample fruitiness again, but now dealing tobacco-y tones and badian/anise notes. Almost liquid tobacco in fact. Still a vivid freshness on cardamom and menthol. Stunning old malt aromas in a second time, reminding me a bit of the Speyburn G.M 1977 tasting during the latest Whisky Live, with its beautiful balance between old malt notes and vegetable (yes Sir!) shades. In fact, this particular malt patine is quite obvious now. Incredible.
Last Notes: Full of blackberry and blackcurrant jam. Still a great freshness in this magnificent nose. Ample leathery notes again. Lingering tea-ish scents, mainly on breakfast tea this time. A tad of warm spices, especially cinnamon and paprika. Back on the palate, this is a subtle acidulous texture carrying blackberry juice and licorice syrup aromas. Infinite mouth length. Full of resinous shades and roasted notes. Ristretto, charcoal, roasted herbs. It ends with menthol and some astonishing medicinal notes.
That’s an absolute banger. Multiple shades in various ranges of aromas, very precise, and generous mouth length. Truly love this one. A bit like Hendrix’s first album: never feels old, essential, and provides unforgettable notes. And you, are you experienced with this kind of incredible G.C?
GROSPERRIN FINS BOIS N°26 44%
Let’s dive deeper into cognac history, and this time with quite an uncommon cru for this kind of age. Even if it’s stocked in demi-john for years, this is nothing less than an 80yo+ Fins Bois.
Colour: Mahogany, orange lights. Irregular medium tears.
Nose: Full of sunny shades at first. Heady overripe melon scents. Very charming nose on candied citruses. A tad briny on green olives. Heavily honeyed, and I’d add precisely on acacia honey. Nice fruity shades on plum liqueur and kirsch notes. Nice violet syrup/sweets scents in the background.
Mouth: Oily texture with a generous acidulous aftertaste on blackcurrant juice. Full of red fruit aromas at first. Cherry symphony between kirsch, maraschino, and jam shades. Lingering oaky notes on sawdust and freshly sanded wood. A tad of floral/herbal notes on honeysuckle and rosemary. A little lack of body but a very acceptable mouth length.
Last Notes: Full of honey, and I’d even say hydromel scents with a tad of fermented notes. Darker than previously perceived, with roasted notes (charred oak, cooked/grilled tarragon) and licorice syrup. A little of citruses with tangerine and yuzu juice notes in the background. Back on the palate, it’s even oakier than before, hiding a bit of the richness of this Fins Bois gem. It remains fruity, mainly on fig and blackberry jam, I still find that there is a lack of body to carry the whole structure of this 1926 beauty. It ends with rosemary and blueberry juice.
A stunning venerable Fins Bois. Another part of cognac history tasted, but as I said, I miss a stronger structure to carry the richness and delicateness of this old spirit and avoid an excess of oak influence. To be fully honest, I tasted it 3 times. One time with no comparison (91/91+), one blind tasting but as a tricky one in an armagnac session (91+) and a last one in perfect tasting conditions (90+).
HERITAGE RENE RIVIERE BORDERIES 1911 39,5%
And let’s close this feast with something older, and again, from another cru. I’ve to tell you that if I have got a sweet spot on 60’s Petite Champagne, I’ve got another one on very old Borderies. And with Heritage Rene Riviere, we’re talking about very old Borderies.
And about this specific year, 1911, you have to know that it was one the warmest year of the century, with a constant heatwave from July 5 to September 13 (I was not able to find precise data about Cognac, but concerning Bordeaux, July and August 1911 are amongst the 10 warmest months ever recorded). Extreme weather conditions that are quite reminding us this current year, probably implying high-degree distillation wines and early harvests.
Colour: Mahogany, gold lights. Medium irregular tears.
Nose: Wow. Unreal fresh notes of orange juice melted to an ample floridness. Full of fig and rhubarb tart scents too. Undeniable old Borderies DNA. Great creamy notes of goat cheese followed by generous violet blossom shades. Everything is slightly honeyed, a bit like the patine you find on old white Burgundy wines. Delicate sugariness, something on tangerine jam and peach syrup. I can easily spend hours on this fabulous nose.
Mouth: Oily texture. Ample fruity notes, a full spoon of honey, and licorice syrup. Many types of aromas at the same time. And now it’s time for herbal tones, and you get delicious parsley and cooked basil notes. 39,5%? No f*cking way! My palate is a dancefloor. Great spices aromas. Safran, caraway, starred anise, badian. It remains quite fruity, mainly on fig jam, but the best part is dedicated to this splendid herbal/menthol/spiced mix.
Last Notes: Full of red berries scents now. Blackberry jam, grenadine syrup, and blackcurrant juice. A little leathery on brand-new shoe notes. Lingering cooked herbal notes, on basil (again) and fennel. Raspberry liqueur scents in the background. Obvious red fruits/red berries DNA with air, but well underlined by creamy notes, you now get well-done buffala camembert notes. Back on the palate, you still have a nice oily texture, but you feel that it has lost some strength. However, it has not become watery at all. Still balanced between herbal and fruity notes, maybe a bit less precise than previously perceived. It ends on dried bay leaves and nutmeg aromas.
Do I have tasted something similar before? Of course not. This very old Borderies has kept a lot of character and gave me a sensational tasting time. Some minor shortcomings, but 1911 and 39,5%, so I can be a bit forgiving for this rarity.
It’s already the end of this second Interstellar Session. But there are many interesting things ahead, including some fresh releases. And about the next Interstellar trip, I can only say that I’ll probably taste some pre-phyllo things…
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