Monday 22 May 2023

Old Master Spirits 1978 Domaine de Papolle Bas Armagnac 44yo [Tasted #637]

It's getting to the point now where we could almost call these posts "Monthly #malternatives" (and I'm OK with that)! This month's comes once again from Melbourne-based bottlers Old Master Spirits, and like their "XXO" reviewed in March, is another Bas Armagnac - though this time it carries an age & vintage statement - being bottled from a 44yo single 1978 cask, ex Domaine de Papolle.

(You can read my thoughts on several of Old Master Spirits' previous releases here, including why I love what these guys do, and how their #malternatives are very much made for whisky lovers.)

Distilled from 100% Baco grapes, the spirit matured for 44 years under the watch of master distiller Bernard Piffard, who now manages the estate, vines and production along with his son Frederic Piffard.

Old Master Spirits' previously releases have all been high quality, but does this (their 8th) continue that trend? Let's dig in...

Old Master Spirits 1978 Domaine de Papolle Bas Armagnac 44yo (40.3% ABV, 44yo, Single Cask, France, One of 132 bottles, $249AUD)

Colour: Deep, dark rich mahogany.

Nose: Fresh and fruity at first, with cola chews & red jubes, turning into sherry-soaked apricots, raisons and some almond oil. With a little time in the glass, coffee grounds and a hint of furniture polish emerge.

Palate: Super balanced - there's oak, raisins, peach, vanilla chews and caramel all playing nicely together. Then some milk chocolate, cigar box and more of the almonds from the nose (though more of an almond nougat this time). Super drinkable and moreish.

Finish: Long, largely following the palate with some more oak towards the end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100 (Martin). Complexity and approachability, in a delicious package. The guys have done it again.

Old Master Spirits' 1978 Domaine de Papolla Bas Armagnac 44yo goes on sale this Thursday (25th May 2023) at With only 132 500mL bottles (each selling for a very reasonable $249AUD), I can't see this one lasting too long on the virtual shelves...

Thanks Deni & David for the sample.


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