Well Ive been back at the tasting this week. After what seems like ages when Ive had some form of Anosmia due to a sinus infection that didnt clear up very well (not helped by my not going to the quack!). Im still not 100%, but its as close as dammit for now.
So the week started off with David Baker of Brandy Classics dropping by with a few old cognacs for me to taste. We started off with a 32-35 year old Grand Fine Champagne from Jubart & Guerry a negociant. It was quite rich and spicy but thats about all I can read from the notes.
Then we moved on to the really good stuff. A 1935 Hermitage Grand Champagne. The Hermitage label is Davids own label. He buys the cognacs from various merchants and negociants and has them bottled himself. This comes from one of the larger negoces in the region, Merinville, whom David has been working with for a while. This one had a very fine nutty - praline and walnut - aroma with candied citrus peel and a hint of chocolate, coffee. Very smooth on the finish.
Hermitage 1900 Grand Champagne. Very complex on the nose, roasted walnuts, caramelised praline, a touch of coffee, well matured medlars. On the palate I found more sultana fruit with a slightly minty freshness about the finish. The length seemed to last forever, mingling spices with a kind of xmas fruity cake like flavour. Im not really a cognac drinker but I liked this one. Unfortunately the price I didnt like, and it is unlikely that this one will make its way onto our list. (It would end up at £200 for 50ml).
1893 Tres Vieille Grand Champagne. David tells me this was bottles around the middle of the last century by one of the big established London wine merchants. He wouldnt say who it was because they had incorrectly labeled it as a Grand Champagne when it was clearly a Fin Bois. It has a much lighter, candied almondish nose about it, which David assures me is typical of Fin Bois. The guy really knows his cognacs and Im going to take his word for it. Hes only got three bottles of this one, and again the price was a bit too rich for our liking.
And that was pretty much it from David. Most of those cognacs had been shown a few weeks earlier at a big tasting hosted by the Lanesborough hotel in London. I had been planning on attending, but in the end, events here overtook me and I was unable to attend. But it was very good of David to allow me the chance to see some of what I had missed, and all being well, Im hoping to list the 1935, so it wasnt a complete waste for him either.