Monday I had a review of an armagnac; today I have a review of a cognac. Lheraud is a family business with a long history. I don’t know very much about them and am not going to try to give you the impression that I do. I can tell you that it is a house with a very fine reputation and prices to match. Lherauds of similar older vintages as Vallein-Tercinier etc. are available but they cost quite a lot more. Meanwhile, a number of cognac aficionados rave about them. The gents at Plebyak have made the comparison to 1960s Bowmore both in terms of profile (heavily fruity) and quality. That is a heady comparison indeed. But on account of the aforementioned high prices of Lherauds it was not enough to convince me to take a flyer on a bottle. However, when a chance recently arose to participate in a bottle split of a quintet of Lherauds I leapt at it. As a bonus, the quintet covers five of the six crus of Cognac. First up, a Fins Bois which also happens to be the oldest vintage in the set.
Lheraud Fins Bois 1970-2007 (48%; Cognac; Fins Bois; from a bottle split)
Nose: A fine fruity nose filled with orange, apricot and raisins. Some polished oak as well. Gets sticky very quick with the orange turning to marmalade and some fried plantains, dark honey and light maple syrup joining the party. One to pour over hot, buttered pancakes. Just a couple of drops of water but it seems to thin out a bit too much, with a slight metallic note joining the fruit.
Palate: Comes in a little thin texture-wise on the palate but everything from the nose is there and all of it expands as I swallow. The texture is richer on the second sip and there’s some prickly oak to frame the fruit. With time there are richer, more tropical notes beyond the overripe plantains: a hint of passionfruit, maybe a bit of mango. The oak is joined by some cinnamon. Okay, let’s see what water does. It makes it brighter and knocks the oak back a bit.
Finish: Medium-long. The oak and fruit hang out together. Brighter here too with water and longer and the oak comes back at the end.
Comments: This is a lovely fruity brandy. As with the Vallein-Tercinier Lot 70 this is right in that late ’60, early ’70s Caperdonich, Longmorn, Glen Grant zone. As noted above, Lheraud is not quite the value that Vallein-Tercinier is but if you compare it to what you’d have to pay for the equivalent profile in Scotch whisky there’s no competition. If you like that profile and feel like you missed out on it when prices were reasonable maybe consider something like this as your splurge buy.
Rating: 90 points.