Paul-Marie et Fils 58 year Devant la Porte (1951)

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numen
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Paul-Marie et Fils 58 year Devant la Porte (1951)

Postby numen » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:56 pm

This is a really fascinating bottle. Nicolas Palazzi, who has a pretty cool story (worth googling), decided to try to find and market high end, unadulterated spirits. He started out with this single-barrel, non-filtered, no-additive Cognac. Distilled in 1951, this spent 58 years in barrel and was put in bottle at its natural 51% ABV. Since then, NP has done a few very well received Pineau de Charentes releases, a Borderies Cognac that was also brut de fut (around 61%, too), and most recently in 2012 some Spanish brandy. I saw on a blog a reference to a 1923 Cognac released by NP, but haven't found other reports of it. All the same, the DlP is what really put people on notice for what NP was trying to do with Cognac (and brandy).

Paul-Marie et Fils 58 year Devant la Porte.jpg
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Nose: Thereis a very thick and syrupy quality here. It needs a second to let some of the alcohol blow off; there's just a touch of it. Extremely impressive and lively for a 58 year old spirit! Lots going on, and very layered. Loads of caramel-toffee, stewed figs (very concentrated), cocoa, dry tea leaves, marshmallowy vanilla, even maybe some coffee, and the inside of a humidor with a few Cohibas. Lots to love. It's still very fresh and fruit is strongly in the undercurrent. It's something akin to acidic (green) grapes and green apple skin.

Palate: Chewy, and have on the cocoa and coffee. The coffee actually reminds me of a very perfect finish on Glenfarclas style sherried whiskies. Fig-honey, dense. In the fig, there is, again, the green apple-ness, and grapiness. It keeps the other elements going, though it ultimately pushes out the more distinct chocolate and coffee, the residue of which remain. Very excellent wood, more on aged oak than traditional rancio charentais.

Finish: Lasts and lasts. Syrupy, but it's never 'sweet' or rough. It's a definite powerhouse, and it really brings all the elements together rather nicely. It's very surprising for being both so vivacious, while also picking up some of the nicer elements of an older expression. I'm actually not a fan of that green apple flavor profile outside Calvados. I don't know why, but it bothers me, and I'm a bit sensitive to it. All the same, it's fantastic stuff, and the quality is evident. I'll quit my minor gripe and just call it an 'A'

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Re: Paul-Marie et Fils 58 year Devant la Porte (1951)

Postby BSinTX » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:45 am

Thanks for sharing this bottling! If I didn't know better, I might think I was NP reincarnated....with his desire to distribute "unadulterated" Cognac and all. If you don't mind my asking, where did you get it and how much did it cost? I only ask in order to get perspective; TPS has a really nice "lost cask" borderies which I might acquire but I like to know the range for things I know I'd like.

I did a review recently where I had noted some green apples (AE Dor Extra) but it doesn't seem that they were as pronounced as they are in your glass. Now that you mentioned Calvados, I will make that my next review. The weather is quite crappy here in the winter, so I am drinking more than usual (not always a bad thing) so I have several bottlings on deck for everyone.

Final question, did you just recently open this bottle? The reason I ask is because I can't help but notice (or just seem to notice) that the first glass out of any bottle seems a bit off from the rest. No doubt it could be me; my senses are far from "Cellar Master" or "Master Blender" abilities. Comment on this if you would.

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Re: Paul-Marie et Fils 58 year Devant la Porte (1951)

Postby numen » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:12 am

Howdy! Yeah, I definitely like NP's take on things, and I'm keen to support these efforts. So far, he seems to be showing really excellent skills selecting great casks. I can't vouch for much, though I did just order his Spanish brandy, but people seem to really like the younger Borderies Cognac that he released as a K&L exclusive.

I got this bottle from K&L, though a few other stores are selling it (and it's still available from the other stores), and it's consistently about $600. The 1946 Unblended from Maison Surrenne was also about $600. It seems that the 50-60 year (at least average, if not minimum, age) Cognacs are going for that $500ish range. The interesting thing is that I also noted some of the apple sort of flavors in the 1946. Hmm. I doubt that that's age related as much as the spirit. On the other hand, Tesseron Lot 53 is about $200 these days. Of the three, I do prefer the Tesseron. And I expect to get another spare bottle soon just because it's so great. As usual, Bouju throws off the pricing scale because his Family Reserve goes for $450-700, and that's about 80 years. I would drink that stuff all day, every day if I could.

It may be that the stuff in my glass wasn't really that strong, but I'm just really sensitive to it as are folks who tend to have a flavor or something for which they don't care. It just stands out a bit more to them.

I did just open the bottle, and I think that you're right that the first pour is just a bit different from the other first pours, probably because there's been little oxygen interaction before the pour. The second half of the bottle is often a bit different, especially for stuff reduced to ~40%, I think, probably because the lack of alcohol and the usual accompanying filtration (has anybody seen cask strength AND filtered?) removes some of the elements that add flavor. These notes, though, were not from the first pour. I had it, noticed the apple, and finished the pour. I then put the bottle away, opened it a bit later, and then took more formal notes. The coffee elements, for instance, we more prominent in the second pour, but the green apple was still there for me.

You've made me consider doing a few more tasting notes for things that I've already opened, just to, perhaps, provide some vantage of the impact of environmental factors and open bottles.

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Re: Paul-Marie et Fils 58 year Devant la Porte (1951)

Postby BSinTX » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:45 am

You bring up a really good point that can lead to an entire discussion and that is the ABV and "keep time" in the bottle; the degradation of the spirit once the bottle is opened. I recently celebrated having 12 days off in a row (quite a rarity in life) and broke out my 1/2 finished bottle of Armagnac from St. Aubin. At 51% ABV, this stuff didn't diminish too much (if at all) considering the bottle has been 1/2 empty for almost 2 years now. As I continue to journey through the spirit world, I tend to notice my limits more than anything else. This is why I don't do reviews on anything I just open; my senses are either unfamiliar and need to be trained or there really is something going on with a new bottle vs. one that has been opened a few days before. The Noah's Mill bourbon I bought seems to be improving with each pour and it's only about 10 days open (if that.)

I completely understand what you mean with regards to being sensitive to certain smells. The factory I was working in today was testing their laser by burning 3/4 of the way through a piece of clear acrylic and this puts off a very distinct aroma. I came in after lunch and smelled this stuff on the other side of the building (over 50 yards away.) I also seem to not like the smell of peated scotch as it reminds me of a cold sore medicine (which I hated as a kid.)

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Re: Paul-Marie et Fils 58 year Devant la Porte (1951)

Postby numen » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:59 am

It's a good journey, though, isn't it :)

There's got to be something to the stuff lasting due to some combo of proof and various compounds (including the oils) remaining in the spirit. I've still got my finished bottle of Bouju TVBdF sitting around in the kitchen, and I'll open it periodically to smell it and take it in. It's still got its aromas. I usually take notes on the first pour from a new bottle, but I incorporate them into later notes. Before I post here, I've usually tried something two or three times. Over time, though, with the notes, I've been able to keep track to an extent to see how different qualities in spirits develop (or are likely to do so) with a bit of time. To an extent. And similar to time in glass. I can usually get most of what I'd get with a lot of time in the glass within the first 30-60 seconds. Of course, I wait to see because this is of all things not a race :mrgreen:

Peat's an interesting element. It seems to be heavily affected by time and oxygen. I had a bottle of Lagavulin 16 open for the better part of 18 months (and around 1/2 fill). When I went back to it, it was a bit more winey, and the peat was far softer. Likewise, the really old peated whiskies that I've had haven't had it as prominent. Oh, completely different issue, did you see the recent price increase on Talisker 18? It used to be a great buy when it was $65-75. They just jacked the price to $150/bottle. $150 for a bottle of 18 year old whisky. That's good, but not astonishing.

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Re: Paul-Marie et Fils 58 year Devant la Porte (1951)

Postby BSinTX » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:31 pm

Yes, the journey is certainly a fun ride!!

The prices of affordable luxuries are going to increase dramatically over the next few years (or so I think.) Every time TPS runs out of an item, they increase the price when they get more in stock. Same goes with my cigar supplier. Smokes that were $150 a box 2 years ago are now $190. $600 for a bottle of Cognac....I can only hope it will take a long time before bourbon fetches that kind of price.

I am going to start a new thread; Glass time is a good topic.

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Re: Paul-Marie et Fils 58 year Devant la Porte (1951)

Postby numen » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:19 am

I think that it's clear that the prices for so many of these items are increasing, and at Dutch tulip levels, nearly. Actually, indeed. Did you see the bottle of Glenfiddich go for $27k? Preposterous.

Additionally, Talisker 18, once one of those mainstay whiskies that was always great and a superb value just got a minor price increase. To $150/bottle. It's insane. I think that it's happened to a lesser extent with bourbon, but it's really just going across the board. $600 for Cognac that's 50 years old is a great value relative to the preposterous prices in whisky, but it's not a great value. On the other hand, I really haven't seen Armagnac that old, either. The other problem with Cognac is that so much of the stuff that could go for a more reasonable amount instead costs some artificially high amount due to the bottle in which it's sold. *sigh*


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