Tuesday 23 August 2022

Old Master Spirits' 1982 39yo Baron de Sigognac Bas Armagnac [Tasted #582]

Just over a year ago, I wrote about new Aussie independent bottler "Old Master Spirits", started by two whisky (and brandy) lovers Deni & David. Since then, I've been lucky to taste almost all their releases (including a 1957, 63yo Cognac - not bad for an inaugural product!), and more recently spent an evening with the gents in the comfort of Deni's incredible whisky room, enjoying great spirits and even better chat until the early hours.

The gents were kind enough to pass me a pre-release sample of their upcoming release - again grape-based, but this time an Armagnac - specifically a 39yo 1982 Armagnac from producer Chateau Bordeneuve (better known by the name "Baron de Sigognac").

Old Master Spirits continue their label theme, with scenes from the distilleries / Chateaux by the talented Fai

I won't profess to be an expert on any grape-based spirits (or anything, really), so won't attempt to coverall the complexities of how Cognac & Armagnac differ (for that, see herehere and here), but in a nutshell - in addition to being produced in a different part of France and often using alternative grapes, Armagnac is most commonly distilled in a single Alembic / column still, employing continuous distillation. In the case of Baron de Sigognac, said still is over 100 years old!

The Domaine matures stock in a warehouse from 1840, in a mixture of first fill and (mostly) refill casks - all strictly Limousin oak. Importantly (for Old Master Spirits, and for us) the House has an all-natural, no additives policy - no water, sugar, colouring or any of that nature...and everything is bottled at cask strength!

All grapes are pressed, fermented and distilled at the Domaine exclusively for the production of Bas-Armagnac. In the case of this 1982, those grapes are 65% Baco, 25% Ugni Blanc & 10% Folle Blanche.

So that's some quick background on how it was made...but I'm sure what you all want to know is how does it taste?

Old Master Spirits 1982 39yo Baron de Sigognac Bas Armagnac (47.6% ABV, 39yo, 1 of 122 (500mL) bottles, France, $249AUD (available 25th Aug 2022))
Colour: Orange copper.

Nose: Cherries, rich fruit compote, peaches & cream, with a hint of funky old leather and rum'n'raisin dark chocolate.

Palate: Mouth-coating, warming yet very refined. Raspberry jam, oranges, mandarin, and then soon after, a noticeable earthy funk. I'm somewhat hesitant to say this, lest one of the keyboard warriors on my Facebook page claim I'm "biased" or "paid" again (I'm neither)...but f*ck it - the funk here genuinely reminded me a little of a good Springbank. This is a spirit you can sit, savour and soak up the complexity, but it's also one you can just sit back with a tumbler and enjoy.

Finish: Long and sweet, with more rum'n'raisin notes.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. This score seems to be becoming a theme amongst some of Old Master's releases...but in my view it 's justified. I tried this alongside a different, older Armagnac (more on that soon), which to me was much more of a "typical brandy". Very very good, but instantly a Brandy. This 1982 though, to be this is, in my opinion, a whisky drinkers' Armagnac. 

Old Master Spirits 1982 39yo Baron de Sigognac Bas Armagnac will launch this Thursday (25th Aug 2022) at an RRP of $249 through oldmasterspirits.com.au. I’ll be buying a bottle. 


Thanks to Deni & David who provided the sample of this 1982 Bas-Armagnac (with absolutely no expectations that I write about it, or if I do, what I say!)

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