Navarre Souvenir Imperial 40%
The Imperial Strikes Back
Another path in Le Renclos Estate. This Navarre Souvenir Imperial is a 50yo+ G.C bottled at 40%, which is supposed to be cask strength, but there is probably a slight reduction before bottling here.
Colour: Dark amber, orange lights. Medium regular tears.
Nose: Deep flowery nose on violet blossom and rosewater. You find back this very specific rancio delivered in the Vieille Reserve, but more polite this time. “May I bother your nose with my rancio?” or something like that. So rancioted creamy notes on creme brulee and candied fruits cake. Great scents of gingerbread too. Waves of freshness on mint leaves, anise, and fennel. Delicious fruitiness on tinned peaches and marasquin cherry.
Mouth: Oily/acidulous texture on peach/grenadine syrup and tobacco leaves. Full of old leather notes. Strong rancio with a little astringence in the aftertaste. Heavy cigar aromas melted to braised chicken and caramelized tarragon notes. More refined than the wild and barking Vieille Reserve, but still a strong rancioted and revolted G.C. Not punk, just a 50yo old man with Sex Pistols vinyl at his side but now prefer to play Kind of Blue or So What on his turntable. A tad briny on green olives tapenade by the way.
Last Notes: Ample creamy notes, mainly on hazelnut cream. Full of herbs like thyme and rosemary. Still some spicy/herbal notes on bay leaf and cloves. Delicious caramelized apple scents. It reminds me a bit of some old white Burgundy wines that are about to pass away with their typical honeyed and oxidated notes.
Back on the palate, it reminds some Tawny port wines, still with this very « oxidated » tone. Ample rancio on walnut oil, licorice syrup, and blackberry juice. Incredible mouth length regarding the ABV. Still, some meat juice aromas melted to various cooked herbs (tarragon, parsley, thyme). The very end calls me back a few memories of some old pineaux and their thick rancio (like the Grosperrin MMC3 first batch or some other very old ones that you’ll see on Hors d’Age in 2022).
Splendid Grande Champagne in Navarre’s very own style. More refined than the Vieille Reserve but you still get a fantastic funky cognac. If only this Navarre Souvenir Imperial could be bottled at 41 or 42%, it would be like a Platini free-kick, a kind of soft killing shot in the top corner.
My very subjective note: 90+/100