Saturday, October 20, 2018

Darroze Unique Collection Reviews - 1977 Domaine De La Poste, 1980 Domaine De La Poste, and 1982 Domaine De Jouanchicot

Here is a trio of Armagnacs from the Darroze Unique Collection. My area doesn't get a lot of vintage Armagnacs but Darroze is one of the few that can be found. Unfortunately because it's next to impossible to try them before buying and the prices are so incredibly high I've never pulled the trigger. Lucky for me though a nice fellow in the Serious Brandy group arranged a large group buy of these last year and the price was hard to resist. I didn't know much about any of them so I just made some wild guesses based on vintage and price.

1982 Domaine De Jouanchicot

Bas-Armagnac; Bottled in 2015, Aged 33 years; 42.5% ABV; $119
Color-wise this is by far the darkest of the three. Nose is very caramel and raisin forward. On the palate the caramel sweetness falls off and it's mostly tannins and grapes. The tannins get stronger as it goes as the finish is rather bitter. It's rather weak on impact on all fronts, the low proof is certainly evident. Overall this is too thin and over-oaked for my tastes. Rating: C-

1980 Domaine De La Poste

Armagnac; Bottled in 2016, Aged 36 years; 48.3% ABV; $142
This is by far the lightest in color of the three. The nose is funky and not in a good way, it doesn't really smell like Armagnac. Its very molasses and sweet forward, almost like a rum. I don't like rum. The palate is just as bonkers - there are minimal lush raisin / dark fruit notes I look for in grape distilled sprits. There is a fair bit of a distilled malt type sweetness, like a Highland Scotch that was finished in Armagnac barrels. It's really thin on the wood depth too and the finish is pretty flat. This is really bizarre and blind I would have never guessed it's as old as it is or that it was even Armagnac. Rating: C-

1977 Domaine De La Poste

Armagnac; Bottled in 2017, Aged 40 years; 49% ABV; $144
We are back in a good place here on the nose. Rich dates, figs, and sweet caramel goodness. Palate is a knockout compared to the previous two. There is a lot of wood depth and a lot more of those caramel glazed date / prune notes from the nose. The finish has a lot of wood but also a lot of sweet and fruit to keep it from being an oak monster. This tastes like a proper, hyped aged, classic Armagnac. I've had richer, more intense experiences but this has every bit of the profile I chase after. It it was a little higher in proof I could see this being up there with the hyped Lous Pibous type stuff. Rating: B+
For shits and giggles I blended equal parts of the 82 and 80 as I did not want to finish the pours. It turned out surprising well as the oddball sweetness of the 80 balanced out the overly bitter 82 and gave it a nice proof bump. I'd give it a C+.
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.

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