Delord 25 (Armagnac)

Delord 25
Last week I posted my first Armagnac review, of the 30 yo Domaine de Baraillon bottled for K&L in California. That one is long gone. I remarked that at $80 a bottle it had seemed like an unthinkable value for someone like me who is reeling from the sharp increase in single malt whisky prices over the last few years. (Truth be told, it has been a very, very long time since any officially bottled 30 yo single malt whisky has been available for less than $100, leave alone any that were actually of high quality.) Well, today’s Armagnac is slightly younger, but only slightly at 25 years old, but it is an even better value on the face of it: it is available for close to $60 in a number of markets. Unlike the de Baraillon, it’s also widely and seemingly continuously available. As such I am hoping that I will like it a lot too.

Given the fact that they have a very snazzy website Delord is obviously not a small-scale farm producer. I have to admit I have a knee-jerk inclination to favour the idea of farm producers when it comes to Calvados and Armagnac—I have to constantly remind myself that almost no Scottish distillery fits that bill. Anyway, let’s see what this is like. 

Delord 25 (40%; Bas-Armagnac; from a sample from a friend)

Nose: Rich, sweet notes of raisin and plum with some cinnamon and oak behind; something leathery too maybe. There’s not much change to speak of with time (the oak gets a little polished maybe) but also no drop-off.

Palate: Oakier here and less sweet but otherwise more or less as promised by the nose. The mouthfeel is a little too thin but it’s very drinkable indeed. As it sits it’s a little spicier and just a touch more tannic but nothing even close to offensive.

Finish: Medium. The oak hangs around the longest, getting a little spicier still as it goes with some clove joining the cinnamon..

Comments: This is very mild and very nice. I don’t know that it checks too many “older spirit” boxes for me, especially on the palate, and it’s not particularly complex but, on the other hand, it doesn’t have any flaws and is quite well balanced. The nose is fruitier, and will appeal to drinkers of sherried malts and bourbon alike; the palate is oakier (though never too oaky) and will probably appeal more to bourbon drinkers. All in all, this seems to be in the sweet spot between bourbon and sherried whisky. Definitely worth the price, I’d say.

Rating: 82 points.

Thanks to Florin for the sample!

12 thoughts on “Delord 25 (Armagnac)

  1. As they teach my 1st grader in school, “this is not my favorite”. Besides the cough syrup profile, what stands in the way of enjoyment, in a major way, is the sweetness. “Most likely with additives, especially sugar. 73pts” say my notes.

    I got to test my hypothesis, using the hydrometer method. According to my measurements, it has 7%±1% sugar added. This amount is not outrageous, say, for a rum, but it does make an important difference to my taste.

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    • OK, I need to retract and correct. Clearly 7% sugar would be a crazy high amount, and it’s incorrect.
      I mixed up % with g/L.
      What I meant to say is: my calculations show 7±1 g/L of sugar.
      At 40% ABV 1L = 915g, so 7 g/L = 0.8% – one order of magnitude lower than what I stated.
      The French law permits “4° obscuration” from sugar and additives which, without going into detail, for a 40% ABV spirit translates into 15g/L, or 1.64% by weight. (That’s mighty sweet, but not a liqueur.)

      So, to be sure, my measurements indicate that Delord 25yo is well within the legal limits, at about half the admissible rate of sugar+additives.
      However, they had the highest sugar measurement from among all my tests, confirming my tasting experience.

      In conclusion: Delord, I apologize. I don’t like your Armagnac, but I did not mean to imply that you’re breaking the law.

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    • Aha, cool! May it be that it comes from someone called Delord in the group?
      At least it’s common enough a bottle that others can do their own measurements.
      And maybe it’s good news that we got the attention of the Armagnac producers when it comes to being able to test for additives.

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        • If you have a chance please forward my response to the group. That was a silly mistake on my part, and if someone else did it I’d laugh them out of the room.

          The details of the French law can be found here. It is interesting that they define the amount of allowed additives in terms of the difference between the measured ABV by hydrometer and the real ABV (“obscuration rate”). The 4° difference translate into 15-17g/L of sugar, or 1.6%-1.9% by volume, depending on the ABV. That’s where the 2% rule comes from, which is a very good rule of thumb.

          The other very interesting thing is that the same law applies to additives in Armagnac, Cognac, Calvados, even Martinique Rum.

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        • Thanks! If people keep dumping sugar in their spirits, I’ll dump a hydrometer in the same. It seems fair. The less I need to do it, the happier it will make me.

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