I reviewed a pretty old Armagnac last month, a 40+ yo Le Sablé a Lagrange 1974. That was from a very small producer and bottled by the respected indie outfit L’Encantada. Today’s armagnac is a bit younger, though not very much so at 33 years of age, and was also distilled in the 1970s. It is from an altogether larger producer, Delord, who have a fairly established presence in the US. I’ve previously reviewed their 25 yo, which I found to be just okay. Like that one this 33 yo is also bottled at 40%. As to whether that’s because they diluted a parcel of casks down to stretch the bottling or because they vatted some lower strength casks up past 40%, I have no idea. I do hope at any rate that this won’t taste too washed out. There is no reason, of course, that it should. I’ve had some older malts at similar strengths that were underpowered but I’ve also had others that were quite pleasurable anyway. Where will this fall? Only one way to tell.
Delord 33, 1978 (40%; Armagnac; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Rich and fruity: brandied raisins, fig jam, fried plantains, cherries. Below that is some leather. Perfumed notes begin to emerge as it sits. No development with time. A touch of water makes the fig expand.
Palate: A very watered down version of all the above, dominated by a simple sweetness. Thin texture. On the second sip there’s more oak (not tannic but a lot of menthol). The oak expands as it sits. Could a drop of water pull anything interesting out? No, not really, though—as often happens with older spirits at low strengths—it does improve the texture.
Finish: Medium. It gets even more syrupy sweet as it goes, even as some oak begins to emerge. Oakier here too with each sip. As time goes by there’s nothing really here but watery, sweet oak extract. A little less oaky perhaps with water.
Comments: A very nice nose that promises a lot but the rather basic and indistinct palate does not deliver. If you want a sweet after-dinner drink then this would be okay, I guess.
Rating: 80 points (pulled up by the nose).
Thanks to Michael K. for the sample. See the inimitable Randy Brandy’s review on his blog.