Berrys’ XO Armagnac

Review 2017-041 «Specifics» Armagnac • Matured for ±20 years in French oak casks • 40% Alcohol • Non-chill filtered • Natural colour • Sourced from J. Nismes Delclou (Nerac, France) • Bottled by Berry Brothers & Rudd • London • United Kingdom • Difficult of ind (only at their website) • Price €80

STORY. Nismes Delclou is the oldest armagnac house, founded in 1832 by Baron Haussman (who also instigated the  renovation of Paris into the famous grand boulevards), and is baring the name from the marriage of Pierre Nismes and Elisabeth Delclou that were both from prominent families in the region. Currently the vineyard and distillery are run by Florence Casterede, the sixth generation of the original family. Delord makes use of the four grape varieties, which are Folle-Blanche, Colombard, and Ugni-Blanc. Berry Brothers & Rudd has adopted Nismes Delclou as their house armagnac, and describe them as “wonderfully rich, perfumed and smooth Armagnacs which are amongst the finest in the region”.

TASTING NOTES

 

APPEARANCE. Berry’s standard classy design, colour of the contents appears like amber and I think it has retained its natural colour.

NOSE. Like entering a candy shop, enchanted by the scent of nougat and orange, citrus-, and raspberry-flavoured candies. Wait, is this armagnac? At first nosing it goes very much towards a bourbon cask-matured single malt whisky. Silky sweet. Soon we move to the coffee house. Caffè latte, chocolate cake with cream, candy-glazed pastry, while the waitress has just put some fresh flowers on the table. Lovely! (water) Cherry pecan pie, cherry liquor, more acidity. Some spices appear with curcuma, cardamon, and some ginger. Then the sweetness resurfaces with more caffè latte, cream, marsh mallows and hints of vanilla.

TASTE. Very fruity, and the armagnac comes finally out of the closet. It remains pretty sweet with caramelised orange skin, Turkish delight, and nougat, but the sweetness is in balance with a slight acidity (citrus, orange skin). Creamy, milk cream, cacao powder, chocolate milk with cream and a raspberry on top (a tasteful combination). (water) More bitterness, some varnish, yes this seems more like a genuine armagnac. Cherries, flowers, marshmallows, fresh milk directly from the cow, lemon merengue pie, lime skin, hints of lychee, and some spiciness with nutmeg on the back of the tongue. Oh and much more acidity.

VERDICT. Different take on armagnac, but I quite like it. Very sweet, but the moment that almost bothers me, the acidity offers a refreshing balance. I would not say it is the most characterful or complex armagnac, but very much recommended nonetheless.

Recommended for people who like single malts fully matured in bourbon casks or some of the sweet Irish whiskeys.

Thanks to Norbert for the sample!

«What others say»

  • @winellama: “This is a sumptuous and richly complex spirit” Score: Very good plus
MY SCORE
Nose
86 %
Taste
85.5 %
Balance
86.5 %
Depth
83.5 %
Price
85 %