Adrien Camut 6 (Calvados)

Adrien Camut 6 (Calvados)
Camut is perhaps the most famous and renowned of all the Calvados houses. As per Charles Neal, the family has been making Calvados for seven generations now and Adrien Camut was instrumental after the 1960s in the promotion of Calvados as a spirit to be taken seriously. He also apparently made a number of technical innovations in the production process that led to other producers asking him to make stills for them. (He passed away in 1989—the domaine is now run by his grandsons.) But Camut is not just important historically; their Calvados has a very high reputation. In fact, when I began to express an interest in Calvados, more than one person—Sku among them—urged me to try Camut as one that I would be sure to like. I’m now finally getting around to it. I’ll be curious to see if the pride of the Pays d’Auge challenges my current preference for the pear-heavy Calvados of the Domfrontais. My understanding is that most producers in the Pays d’Auge use far less than the 30% poire content that is the maximum allowed for the Pays d’Auge appelation—and given the fact that pears are mentioned not at all in Neal’s entry on Camut in his otherwise comprehensive book, I suspect that Camut might be one of the producers who use no pear at all. If you can confirm or dispute this please write in below. 

Florin, the inventor of Pokemon Go, had actually sent me a sample of this 6 yo a long time ago. This was before I’d become interested in Calvados in its own right. My plan initially had been to save it and taste it when I finally opened my bottle of the Springbank Calvados Wood, so I could gauge the apple influence. By the time I got around to reviewing that whisky (from a sample) I’d forgotten all about this plan. I then figured I’d save it and taste it alongside its older stablemates when I got the chance (Camut puts out a 12 yo and an 18 yo plus some older expressions). That plan got scuppered when I discovered how expensive Camut’s Calvados is. This 6 yo runs $70 and up, their 12 yo runs $100 and up and their 18 yo runs north of $140. While not at the level of the one-off Beudin/Bordelet release, this is quite a bit more than is asked for similarly aged Calvados from other well-known houses—the Camut 18 is more expensive than the Lemorton 25. Part of me is therefore hoping that I will not find this to be dramatically better than the other Calvados I’ve tried so far.

Adrien Camut 6 (40%; Pays d’Auge; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: A big butyric wave right off the top—as it burns off it’s replaced by tart apple and cider and a lot of both. There are sweeter notes below (pastry crust, vanilla, cinnamon, toffee) but the tart apple is front and center. Not too much change with time.

Palate: Less tart here but also very appley. Think apple pie with cinnamon. Some oak too but not very much. Nice mouthfeel. With time there’s some lemon peel as well and some icing sugar. Not much development here either but also no deterioration

Finish: Long. The sweet and spicy notes keep going.

Comments: That pukey top note was a first for me with Calvados but it disappeared quickly enough. This is also the most appley nose I’ve yet encountered—by far! While the nose was quite tart the palate is pretty sweet. I’d say this is a Calvados to drink as dessert, not with it. There’s not a whole lot going on here—hence my relatively brief notes—but it’s very well integrated and has a good intensity and I did quite like it. Too bad about the price. I wouldn’t pay $20 more for this than for the Lemorton Réserve, but if it were priced similarly I’d get a bottle. I wonder if Camut are now not akin to Macallan, a well-known name with a very rich and important history, a premium brand whose prices are not quite justified by what’s in the bottle: a solid, even quintessential but finally not terribly interesting spirit. I suppose I should taste more of their line before making up my mind.

Rating: 84 points.

Thanks to Florin for the sample!

5 thoughts on “Adrien Camut 6 (Calvados)

  1. In my own annoying opinion, with respect to Calvados in general – and Camut in particular – you need to explore older expressions in order to appreciate what the fuss is about – at under ten years it will still come across as spirity and apple-ly to a whisky palate. Camut is not cheap but once you understand their production process and orchard management vis-a-vis commercial producers, the price is well justified, and reflected in the quality of their Prestige bottling which is a minimum 18 years of age. And no pear trees in their orchard so none goes into their Calvados. As for a more reasonably priced Calvados producer of high quality I highly recommend Christian Drouin, their Hors d’Age clocks in at ~15 years of age.

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    • I hope I haven’t given the impression either that I didn’t like this Camut or that I am not appreciating the fuss about Calvados. To take the latter first, my favourites so far are a 18 yo (the Beudin-Bordelet), a 25 yo (the Lemorton 25) and another that’s a blend of 16-25 yo’s (review coming soon). That said, I do like the apple-forward nature of young Calvados; the trick seems to be to find those that are appley but not (too) spirity. Hubert aside, the younger ones I’ve had so far have been quite nice.

      As for Camut, the “problem” is that at their price point I might as well be buying overpriced single mat whisky of the same age.

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  2. Good review. I’ll have to snag a bottle of this if I ever see it at a reasonable price but the going rate around here seems to be $80+. The only Camut I have tried is the 15yo Exclusive that K&L brought in a few years ago, which is like apple pie in a glass. I just had some a couple nights ago and your notes for the 6yo above could easily be for that 15yo bottle.

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  3. On the fuss theme, these were my notes for this Calvados:

    “Disappointing. Amidst the apples there is a flavor I don’t like – apple seeds? Somewhat muddled. I don’t see what all the fuss is about! ~75pts”

    That flavor I mention is probably what you called the pukey note, which may or may not be a defect of this particular bottle. I’ll have to try another Camut before I decide if, like Macallan, I just need to leave it alone. But it’s not going to be my purchase.

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