Friday 7 May 2021

More Malternatives - Super old Armagnac and Cognac from Wu Dram Clan [Tasted #514 - 517]

If it seems like there's been a bit less content here over the past year, it's true, but it's also partly because there's more going up on our Facebook page, and especially our Instagram. The site hasn't been forgotten (far from it), but more timely content will typically be found over on our Instagram account @TimeforWhisky (if you already follow us, thanks! If not, give us a follow - there might even be some prize giveaways soon).

One of the things I love about Instagram is the whisky community - and how a simple like, comment or story reply can spawn a great friendship, or the discovery of something entirely new...which is exactly how I discovered Wu Dram Clan (@wudramclan.official), an "Independent bottler of high quality single malt whisky, cognac, armagnac & gin" run by two blokes from Germany and one from Japan. 

I think it was an Instagram story I'd posted of Wu Dram Clan's 1967 Vallein Tercinier (a stunner I'd tried at the excellent House Welley Bar), which prompted Boris (aka @the.whiskykingLagavulin collector-extraordinaire and half of the German side of Wu Dram Clan) to reach out about a few more brandy releases they had coming up, and kindly offer to send me a few samples. Next thing I know, I had 3 generous samples of the following:


Just a casual ~58yo Armagnac Chateau de Gaube 1962/2020, a ~54yo Armagnac Aurian 1966/2020 and a ~41yo Armagnac Aurian 1979/2020! Whilst my Armagnac knowledge is well behind my whisky knowledge, I always welcome the opportunity for further education, and this seemed like a good way to do it...

Armagnac Chateau de Gaube 1962/2020 (48.6% ABV, ~58yo, Ténarèze, One of 144 bottles)
Orange copper.

Nose: Fruity and musty, with some cereal notes. Intriguing. Old leather-bound books but with an undertone of overripe mango. A slight hint of sulphur, marmalade and coffee beans. 

Palate: Slight sulphur at first, but then more old leather and oak. Rainins, almonds, and a slightly "farmy" funk.

Finish: Long, old oak and vintage books, with a residual nuttiness.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100.

Armagnac Aurian 1966/2020 (53% ABV, ~54yo, Armagnac, $2,880HKD / AU pricing not available)
Colour: Coffee-copper.

Nose: Fresh, floral and esther-y (nail polish), followed by a sherbet sweetness. With water came berries, lemon and after time, caramel-coated apples. 

Palate: Big on the esthers, initially, followed by nuts and pine needles. With water, some caramel apples.

Finish: Long, meaty and creamy. 

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 88/100. Suggest giving it a bit of time for the initial esthers to dissipate. Unique, but enjoyable.

Armagnac Aurian 1979/2020 (49.6% ABV, ~41yo, Armagnac, $1,980HKD / AU pricing not available)
Colour: Red coffee-copper.

Nose: A bit more youthful compared to the others - red fruits with slight esthers, and with water, an intriguing grassy herbaceous note. 

Palate: Strong oak influence - wood varnish, leather, and bitter orange. With water, a lot more sweetness with jelly babies (green and yellow!) and lemon.

Finish: Short to medium in length, with oak and some orange peel towards the end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 86/100. 

Thanks to the generosity of a friend in the HK whisky community, I also recently had the pleasure of sampling another Wu Dram Clan cognac - their 1962 58yo "Cognac Jean-Luc Pasquet" bottled at 40.4%.

Cognac Jean-Luc Pasquet 1962/2020 (40.4% ABV, ~58yo, Cognac)
Colour: Dark copper orange.

Nose: Huge berries and an underlying earthiness/mustiness.  Camphour wood, acetone, milk chocolate and cocoa. 

Palate: Camphour, resin, varnish, then pineapple and peach! Chocolate-coated strawberrries, big mik chocolate and finally some big raspberry notes.

Finish: Long and slightly tropical, with peach, and dark bitter chocolate.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. So much going on here. Great stuff.

A huge thanks to Boris (aka @the.whiskyking) and Wu Dram Clan for the samples - if you're looking for a fun and delicious Malternative, definitely give these some consideration (if you can still find them). Remember too that old, vintage brandy isn't (yet) priced anywhere near old, vintage get in while you can!


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