1981 Hine Early Landed 40%

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numen
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1981 Hine Early Landed 40%

Postby numen » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:03 pm

from a purchased sample

Nose: Much deeper and more dense than the Homage and Antique. There's less tropical fruit. Oranges stewed in thick brown sugar syrup, but it's got that watered down feel. Iris flowers, vanilla, and wax. Date compote, quince, cinnamon, sultanas. A little spicy oak (not tired). Nectarines and lightly buttered and bitter orange muffins. Not a bad go so far. Nicely honed here with traces of the same fruit base as the others.

Palate: Ah! The best of the bunch by a healthy margin. Light, giving a hint of sugar water, but it turns nicely to toasted orange zest, brown baking spices, and sweetness from the wood, and gingery-like spice. The wood has a softer bitter edge, well-used and not tired. Well integrated to keep it fairly well balanced.

Finish: Again, a bit light and quickly fades with the residual sweetness and tired wood, and really almost on orange liqueur and some overbaked pie crust. It's nice and pleasant enough. Flashes of something very nice, but also falls into the category of a little of the weak stuff. C+

Pierre
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Re: 1981 Hine Early Landed 40%

Postby Pierre » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:50 pm

Seems like someone's been ordering from Master of Malt :D
Thanks for the notes, I got a sample from the Rare VSOP, it was not unpleasant, maybe I didn't get so much fruit on the profile but I recall a bit of cinnamon, pie crust and a beginning of that orange liqueur profile (I didn't write down anything for this one). I agree it was kinda light... I was curious about these "Early landed", what kind of a profile it would give to them to age in England but you didn't seem to notice anything special.

numen
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Re: 1981 Hine Early Landed 40%

Postby numen » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:21 pm

There's a strong possibility that my Master of Malt order finally arrived earlier this week! I also had one or two older notes that I just had never gotten around to posting.

I wonder whether early landed would have made more of a difference if it were at cask strength rather than brought down to 40%. After all, the virtue of being 'early landed' is that the environment changes (significantly with the evaporation rates). In general, it just reminds me again why I tend to shy away from a lot of the bigger producers who are bringing their already young spirits down to 40%. It's just painfully weak, and the additives stand out. As you noted in the other thread about 'black' cognacs, I can accept that the Boujus use additives. I wish that they'd admit it if they do; I don't know that it'd dissuade people from drinking their cognacs. Still, I'm not as bothered by their use because it doesn't stand out in the same way that it does in these really light cognacs.

Pierre
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Re: 1981 Hine Early Landed 40%

Postby Pierre » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:18 am

Yep, good point... I notice you're at 499 posts, did you plan something special for the 500th ? :mrgreen:

numen
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Re: 1981 Hine Early Landed 40%

Postby numen » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:44 pm

Hmm, I'll have to think about it ;)

françois
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Re: 1981 Hine Early Landed 40%

Postby françois » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:49 pm

Hi guys, I still haven't tasted this specific vintage in the Early Landed line-up, so I won't be able to comment on this specific expression.

What I've done however, is compare both the Hine 1978 (i.e. Jarnac-aged) and the Hine 1978 Early Landed (i.e. aged in England) cognacs during the same tasting session a couple of years ago. This is the sort of comparative tastings I really enjoy, and while I didn't take notes at that time, I do remember the Early Landed was a "flower bomb", with a very refined flavor, almost feminine in nature. On the other hand, the Jarnac aged expression was a bit more austere, alcohol seemed more present but at the expense of some of the floral notes that were no longer there. A good point is that there were hints of rancio, however the finish was somewhat weaker than Early Landed's, and all in all, a disappointment.

How to explain such a discrepancy between expressions from the same vintage year and producer? Well, one has to remember that ageing conditions are quite different in England. Jarnac cellars are much drier than those used by Hine for Early Landed, and 4 to 5 degrees Celsius hotter in midsummer. This is due to a number of factors, essentially climate and the depths of the cellars themselves (FYI there actually is a lift to get access to their English cellar).

During the ageing process in England, alcohol will get out of the spirit at the near usual rate, but non-alcoholic components will get a harder time to evaporate from the cask, due to the cellar's air being almost saturated with water. On the contrary, in Jarnac those components evaporate at a steady rate due to both the higher temperature and lower humidity, so that at the end of the ageing process (for instance 20 years), the spirit obtained in Jarnac will have a higher ABV ratio than the same spirit aged in England.

So in order to obtain a final product at 40% ABV, the cellar master will have to add quite a lot of distilled water to the Jarnac-aged spirit, while the one from the English cellar will be naturally very close to 40% ABV, and will require only minimal dilution. This is why Early Landed cognacs tend to be mellower, richer and fruitier than those aged in Jarnac.

In the end, it all depends on what one prefers. Those who want wood, body and rancio will be delighted by the Jarnac expressions. Those who favor flowery and delicate cognacs will certainly enjoy the Early Landed cognacs very much.

As a final note, there are 2 interesting points to make.

First, contrary to popular wisdom, and contrary to what Hine themselves advertise, their Early Landed cognacs are not aged in the city of Bristol itself, but in a cellar located in a small village in the countryside. And the cellar isn't even theirs, it belongs to a local entrepreneur.

Second, if nothing changes, by 2023 Hine will no longer be allowed to produce Early Landed cognacs, as explained here. In my opinion this would be a pity, and hopefully legislation will be enacted soon enough to avoid such a deplorable outcome.


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