Wednesday 29 March 2023

Old Master Spirits Extra Extra Old (XXO) Bas Armagnac Garreau [Tasted #626]

For a whisky blog, I've covered a few #malternatives recently, but as I always said at the start of this blog, I've got no qualms featuring the occasional aged brandy/rum/whatever, if it's goodOld Master Spirits have certainly met that brief so far, with a number of quality Cognac and Armagnac releases, and even a rum, sherry and whisky, so when the Aussie outfit recently sent me a sample of their latest release Bas Armagnac, I had high expectations it would follow suit.

The Armagnac in question (officially "Extra Extra Old Bas Armagnac Garreau XXO") is founders' Deni & David's first non-vintage Armagnac, and is being released in response to many of the XO Brandies from various luxury houses you see on shelves today. i.e. deemed rare and luxurious, but often watered down to the minimum strength legally allowed of 40% ABV, flushed through a system of filters, with added sugar, caramel colouring & even wood flavouring, to make it appear and taste old.

Deni explained this release represents the opposite - a natural/unadulterated product from a passionate producer. A better experience...and for less money.

Deni explained:
"We want consumers to put our next release to the taste test and compare it to their usual XO at twice the price, or whatever their usual brandy tipple is. We know that this is far older, but for once we want to put age and vintage aside completely, to show Australian Armagnac and Cognac drinkers that natural purist brandy is what they should be buying. It's red hot in Europe for a reason and prices have already started to rise so it's now or never."

Produced by Chateau Garreau and distilled using a 100+ year old still, the eau de vie uses 100% Baco grapes, and was matured in French Oak casks from Gascony in the Chateau's underground wet cellar (nicknamed "the burrow").

Old Master Spirits recommend pairing it with a favourite Cigar - which is definitely something I'm going to have to try soon. As for how it tastes on its own though, read on....

Old Master Spirits "Extra Extra Old Bas Armagnac Garreau XXO" (44.8% ABV, NAS, Single Cask, France, One of 170 bottles, $159AUD)

Colour: Ochre sunset.

Nose: An initial big fruity hit, though it's hard to pin it down to a single fruit. There's definitely apricot and peach, but also some sultanas, red grapes and after time, red jelly babies.

Palate: Sweeter than the nose suggests initially, with some choc-coated caramel chews, more peach, and chocolate orange slices. After time, more dark chocolate. The ~45% ABV keeps it super drinkable, but it doesn't feel lacking in anything. Moreish, easy-drinking & delicious. 

Finish: Long and full of raisins, figs and peach.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 92/100 (Martin). For the price ($159AUD) you'd expect this to be an easy drinker - and it is. What I wasn't expecting was the complexity though...lots of complimentary flavours all working together, in an easy-drinking, well-rounded package. Another great cask pick.

Extra Extra Old Bas Armagnac Garreau XXO goes on sale tomorrow (30th March 2023) at If previous releases are anything to go by, it won't last long.

Thanks Deni & David for the sample.


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