Review 2017-034 «Specifics» Calvados • Matured for 15 years in French oak casks • 42% Alcohol • Non-chill filtered? • Natural coloured? • Sourced from Domaine C. Drouin (Coudray-Rabut, France) • Bottled by The Alchemist • Glasgow • Scotland • Limited availability • Not available anymore (price was ±€75)
STORY. The Alchemist started bottling independently in 2005 under the supervision of Gordon Wright, an experienced force in the whisky industry with familiar connections to the owners of Springbank Distillery. He had also some involvement in the re-opening of Bruichladdich. Besides single malt whisky, the range also included some Armagnac and Calvados. The Alchemist stopped as an independent bottler in 2013. Luckily, the original distillery bottlings from Domaine Drouin are still widely available, and quality-rich for sure.
APPEARANCE. Original and alchemy-like design, colour of the contents looks like caramelised apples and contains hardly any artificial colouring, if any.
NOSE. Incredibly fruity! I find apple compote, apple pie, flambéed apple on Alsatian flammkuchen. Civilized, not that spirity and reasonably sweet. Some pears, cinnamon-coated apples, apple juice (any more apply things I can think off?), pear juice, hints of vanilla and wood spices. (water) This makes it even fresher with fresh apple juice or apple cider. The spices come much more to the front after adding water with sage, mint and aniseed. Add to that fresh vanilla, chicken soup and citrus fruits. Very complex and with water everything intermingles beautifully.
TASTE. Sweet and sour apples with some spices, a bit silent after the nose, but let’s try to add some water. (water) Sweet, friendlier now, and more fruity with a whole basket of different sorts of apples, apple juice, and some wood spices. It can take quite some amount of water. The development goes to more freshness, and it become slightly drier. Apple pie with spices (cinnamon, aniseed, cardamon) and pear ice cream. Finishes with spicy apples.
VERDICT. Very good Calvados, and a good malternative too. Compared to the Groult, the extra maturing has certainly helped to increase complexity and reduce the grittiness I found there. Very much recommended (well the official bottlings then as this independent spirit is very hard to find).
Recommended for people who like spicy and fruity highland whiskies.
Thanks to Norbert for the sample!
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