After Monday’s Old Crow, not-malt whisky week continues with the first of two cognacs that were bottled for the Facebook group, Serious Brandy. Serious Brandy was set up by Sku some years ago and has been his primary spirits focus since he regrettably shut down his blog in 2017. It’s a very good resource on brandy. Earlier this year Steve announced the group’s first exclusive pick. I should say picks, rather, as there were two of them: two casks of cognac sourced by the Pasquets (their own distillations are a bit younger). Not sure who the producer was but this is from the Petite-Champagne region and made from the ugni blanc grape. These are both casks that were filled in 1962 and bottled this year—making them 57 or 58 years old. At that age most malt whisky would long have turned into oak extract, but cognac takes to extreme aging a lot better. Cognac’s pricing for 58 year old spirit is also a lot better than whisky’s and so, despite having backed away from expensive whisky purchases a while ago, I decided to put my money down for a bottle of each of these. Orders were finally able to be placed in early August and after a few weeks of anxious waiting, the bottles were finally in hand last week. I’ve opened and tasted both a couple of times since arrival. Here now is my review of Cask 1.
Pasquet Lot 62, Cask 1 for Serious Brandy (40.1%; Petite-Champagne; from my own bottle)
Nose: Red fruit (cherries, berries) along with some lemon up top and damp earth and oak on the side. On the second sniff the fruit is richer and a touch tropical and there’s some softer pastry crust notes as well. As it sits the oak becomes more pronounced—it’s not tannic though. Water emphasizes the fruit.
Palate: Comes in with the oak in the lead. Just as I’m thinking this is a bit too thin the fruit explodes—berries with a bit of passionfruit mixed in and after a while some peach. The texture improves with each sip and the fruit and oak meld nicely. With more time there’s some apricot jam and plum sauce as well. A few drops of water emphasize the darker fruit and improves the texture as well.
Finish: Long. The fruit and oak hang out for a while. The fruit expands first but the oak comes back for the last word. As on the palate with water.
Comments: I had a couple of smaller pours of this in the evenings leading up to this review. I will say that I was not hugely impressed by the first pour and only a little more with the second: the texture and flavour both seemed a bit too thin. But after a few days of the bottle being open this has really hit its stride in both areas. Looking forward to Cask 2 which is apparently even fruitier.
Rating: 90 points.
Thanks to Steve and the Pasquets for organizing this cask pick!
My understanding is that Cognac is often moved into demijohns and so 58yo doesn’t necessarily mean 58 years in oak (unlike Scotch). Happy to be corrected if wrong – or even just to learn more about the maturation.
I asked Amy Pasquet if she’s be willing to comment and this is what she said about this cognac (and the second cask too):
“[i]t has been in wood since distillation. It was transported to a new cellar about 10 years ago, when road construction caused the owners to sell their land and, thus build a new cellar. Fortunately for this cognac because it would have been lower than 80 proof otherwise. We brought it to our house in June and it was still in the barrel until the day of bottling.”
Thanks for the additional information.