Sunday 25 September 2022

Old Master Spirits' 1972 39yo Baron de Sigognac Bas Armagnac [Tasted #585]

When I caught up with Deni & David from Old Master Spirits recently, they didn't just hand me a sample of their beautiful 1982 Armagngac, they also passed me a sample of their 1972 39yo, from the same Armagnac producer Chateau Bordeneuve (better known by the name "Baron de Sigognac")

The 10 year age gap also means this 1972 was distilled under the previous ownership, by then owner and distiller Monsieur Rambach (the distillery was sold to current owner Mr. Jean-Claude Gausch in 1974, and is currently run by his son Thomas). Comprised of 80% Baco 20% Ugni Blanc grapes, it was distilled in the same 100+ year old alembic still, and was aged in Limousin wood like all Armagnac produced at the distillery.

The eagle-eyed amongst you might note that whilst this is from a decade earlier than the 1982, it's also listed as a 39yo (the same as the 1982). The simple reason for that is the age is only counting the years matured in Oak, noting the extra 10+ years it sat in a glass Demi Jeanne (Demijohn) separately.

As mentioned in the previous article, 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 (this one coincidentally right on 46%)!
Let's dive in...

Old Master Spirits 1972 39yo Baron de Sigognac Bas Armagnac (46.0% ABV, 39yo, 1 of 151 (500mL) bottles, France, $299AUD (available 20th October 2022))
Colour: Orange copper

Nose: Rich vanilla wood spice, Madagascan vanilla essence, with hints of stone fruits - apricot, peach, then some leather and wood polish.

Palate: Initially quite "desserty" - vanilla ice cream, flambéed banana, then a hint of cherry after time. There's some funk (less so than the 1982), and some grape jam to round things out. 

Finish: Long, vanilla wood spice.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100. A complex, well-made and thoroughly enjoyable Armagnac. For me, the 1982 slightly edges it out, but in my view it's more of a "whisky drinker's Armagnac", whereas this is more of a "brandy drinker's Armagnac". A little more traditional, but very, very high quality. I spoke to Deni about this, and he said opinions from those who've tried both were split - some preferring the '82 (including some whisky-loving friends), and some the '72. Isn't that the beauty of spirits though?

Old Master Spirits 1982 39yo Baron de Sigognac Bas Armagnac will launch on 20th October 2022, at an RRP of $299 through Get in quick as these never last long!


Saturday 24 September 2022

Ben Nevis 1996-2020 (The Whisky Agency) TWA Spring 2020 Release [Tasted #584]

If you follow us on @TimeforWhisky on Instagram, you might know I'm a massive Ben Nevis fan, especially casks from the mid to late 1990s. For some reason I haven't posted many on the blog, but when reading through some old tasting notes (at least 400 of which I've never gotten around to posting!), I came across this 1996 Ben Nevis from The Whisky Agency, which ticked all the right boxes for me.

TWA releases are usually pretty high quality (sadly with price tags to match on the secondary market), so I was pretty confident this 1996 Ben Nevis (from a Hogshead) would be too, despite the lower ABV of 47.6%.

I wasn't disappointed...

The Whisky Agency Ben Nevis 1996-2020 (TWA Spring 2020 Release) (47.6% ABV, 23yo, 1 of 264 bottles, Highlands, Scotland, no longer available)
Colour: Light yellow gold

Nose: Oooh yes, this is what I love in a Nevis. A tropical fruitbomb (or "Tropic Thunder" / "TT") Nevis! Peach, pear, rockmelon, overripe apples and bananas. Just awesome.

Palate: Passionfruit, peach and plum. A slight herbal-spiced earthiness, with some waxed Apple. Very much a typical 1996 Nevis, with a good dollop of tropical fruit on top.

Finish: Passionfruit and peach continue, with a residual vanilla cream. No residual oak tannins.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100. Just absolutely delicious.

I really need to get onto these as they're released more often...


Monday 12 September 2022

Jack Daniel's Bonded [Tasted #583]

The Bottled in Bond Act was introduced in 1897 in the United States to guarantee that a bottle of whiskey the consumer was buying was really whiskey. So what does this involve? In order for a whiskey to be regarded as a "bonded whiskey", distillation must be completed by a single distiller during a single season, matured in a government bonded warehouse for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof.

While we have never doubted Jack Daniel's whiskies are true whiskies, Jack Daniel's latest release - Jack Daniel's Bonded is a release that has been produced in the true letter of the law. Not only has it been "Bottled-in-Bond" at 100 proof, per the bill but it has also been packaged similarly to the original design of the 1895 Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey bottle.

Jack Daniel's Bonded is also built on the same recipe of its flagship Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey. Based on a mash bill of 80% corn, 12% malted barley, and 8% rye and undergo a seven-day fermentation. The mash is distilled in copper column stills and filtered through 10-foot-long columns of charcoal, made out of Tennessee sugar maple wood.

Chris Fletcher, Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller commented:

“The Jack Daniel Distillery has been making American whiskey to the highest standards for generations, before and after the Bottled in Bond Act, dating back to the days of Mr. Jack himself. Jack Daniel’s Bonded is a nod to our heritage with a touch of innovation and craftsmanship."

Bonded will be the first permanent expression in Jack Daniel's new Bonded Series. The Bonded Series will honour the whiskey-making excellence of the iconic Jack Daniel and will be a permanent extension in the Jack Daniel’s Family of Brands.

Jack Daniel's Bonded (50% ABV, NAS, Tennessee, USA, A$87.99


Big, bold and good quality Tennessee Whiskey at 100 proof with layered notes of sweet honey, raisins, dried fruit, rich oak, and spices giving way to a pleasantly smooth lingering spiced finish.

Nose: Fresh, floral, rich, vanilla, lemon, lime, and honey with an overlay of sandalwood and oak

Palate: Big, bold, with lots of grains and spices from nutmeg to cardamom followed by a cinnamon bun covered with honey and some raisins.

Finish: Long and smooth, spices remain for a long while.

Rating: 92/100 


Thanks to Adrian from Different and Jack Daniel for providing us with a sample to review.