Baraillon 33, 1984


More Armaganac. At the end of January I had a review of a 33 yo Baraillon distilled in 1985 that I thought was just okay—drinkable but nothing special. After reviewing that sample I realized that I actually owned a bottle of another 33 yo Baraillon, this one distilled in 1984. I’d purchased it about a year ago along with some other Armagnacs and forgotten all about it (and the others too). I have to admit the 1985 did not make me feel very enthusiastic about opening the 1984 but, as you know, I am committed to positivity. And so here we are. Unlike the 1985, which was a K&L exclusive, this 1984 was a general release. Or so I think anyway. I bought it from Astor in New York and I don’t remember the listing trumpeting it as an exclusive cask. Will this bottle restore my confidence in Baraillon or will it shake it further? Let’s see.

(It strikes me that I am going backwards in time with my Baraillon reviews. The very first one was of a 1986 cask—that was also a K&L exclusive. Alas, I don’t have any 1983 casks lined up and nor do I know of any available in the US.)

Domaine de Baraillon 33, 1984 (46%; from my own bottle)

Nose: Rich notes of orange peel, marmalade, apricot and just a bit of oak. Lovely stuff. Gets stickier and sweeter as it goes and then a bit cloying. With a drop of water it brightens back up a bit and there’s some pastry crust and vanilla.

Palate: As promised by the nose with a bit more of the oak and some cherry mixed in as well. The texture is just a bit thin. The oak expands with time. The citrus gets brighter and the whole gets juicier here too with a drop of water.

Finish: Medium. The oak emerges again at the end and with time there’s a hint of aniseed as well. Longer with water but it gets sweet again at the end.

Comments: This is very good, very enjoyable but also a bit simple. There isn’t much development and it’s a bit too sweet. On the other hand, it’s eminently drinkable, a true dessert brandy. I’m glad I have most of this bottle left but not disappointed I don’t have another.

Rating: 87 points.

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