Return to the Boujus

Here you can talk about the experiences with the different brands and/or types of Cognac.
numen
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Return to the Boujus

Postby numen » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:43 pm

I've been thinking of doing something like this for a while. I've noticed some batch variation between different Bouju expressions, which isn't surprising; one sees the same thing in standard expressions from other spirits producers. With organic components, it makes sense that there'd be variations and qualitative differences. I cannot yet determine how to tell the difference between the dating of different bottles.

In general, I've noticed the greatest variation between bottles of the 35 year old Extra. The first bottle that I had was excellent, but the second was very disappointing, a bit watery and wine-like, without any real richness than one would expect. With that in mind, I decided to give the 25 year old XO, the 35 year old Extra, and the 15 year old Brut de Fut Royal a test in a single session.

Bouju XO, Extra, and Royal for Forum.jpg
Bouju XO, Extra, and Royal for Forum.jpg (141.88 KiB) Viewed 1464 times


You may be wondering what the bottle on the left is -- it's half of the new bottle of the XO. This seemed to be an older labeling of the XO, and the cork broke in the neck. I left the cap off with the rest of the cork in the neck for a few weeks. After getting empty 1/2 bottles, I pushed the cork into the bottle, strained the contents and put them in 2 375ml bottles. I don't know whether or how much the broken cork affected the spirit, but I decided to try it all the same.

Empereur XO Nose: Spicy fruit and vanilla. Very heavily on prune, plum, dark grapes, and very inky. It's tannic, a bit like a heavy pinot, and black. Mild and sweet tobacco come out with a bit of air. Licorice, too.

Palate: Very muted on the first sip. A bit watery and woody with the liquid still on the tongue. As soon as the spirit goes down, there's a real dryness and some bitter wood. The fruit is a little sweet, balanced by the wood and spice. Post transition, there's lots of fruit, vanilla, some cigar tobacco, and much more pleasant wood.

Finish: Ah, the finish. The Bouju finish. The rough wood is gone, the fruit, vanilla, and tobacco remain for a while. Not the most complex, but deep and very enjoyable. The weak palate here takes it down a few notches, especially as it gives a watery/muted wine-like vibe for a bit. I didn't get much rancio on this one, but it was still good. B+/A-

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Extra Nose: Drier and more tannic than the XO, and also less sweet. There's wood and fruit here. Not as complex. Strong vanilla in the second layer, and a bit of spice. Distinct rancio from the barrel here. A touch of caramel and tobacco pipe juice. A bit rougher than the XO.

Palate: Again, a bit muted here, with the same watery-wine vibe, though it opens up a bit more on the fore. Spicier and more peppery, but after the transition it's more bitter. What happened to the fruit? Wood and rancio, but it's missing a bit.

Finish: Marked improvement from the palate. Tannic dryness and bitterness are still there, but a little of the fruit emerges in the extreme tail, and it brings back a bit of the sweetness. B-
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Nearly empty bottle of Royal Brut de Fut (60%)
Nose: Golden, syrupy, and raisiny. Dry wood, but it's not as overwhelming as the others because of the fruit and sticky dominance. It seemed to have a bit of syrup and molasses with nuts blended to a paste, along with dates and figs. Maybe a bit of caramel, chocolate, and fruit verging on prune, but not quite there.

Palate: Thick and warm, best in drips and drops because it can be overwhelming otherwise. Like concentrated Cognac, with brown baking spices. Dry wood in there, too, bringing a sense of rancio, but it's just a component to this awesome stew.

Finish: Long, deep, strong, and fat. Really great. Fruit's all there, though the heat and wood keep it extremely well in check. All in all, fantastic stuff. Easy 'A'.

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The Brut de Futs from Bouju seem to hold up decently even near the end of their bottle life, and it seems to be the most consistent across multiple bottles. The XO was very good, and had a solid amount of wood, but it balanced well with the fruit, which brought a sense of sweet without being sugary. I don't know how old this bottle is/was, or whether the cork affected the content, but it held up well. The notes seemed similar to previous bottles of the XO, though the palate was much more disappointing this time around.

This takes me to the Extra. I've had four bottles of this, and the first was, by far, the best. The next three have been more like this. I'm not sure how/why this expression goes in this direction. I've had a few of the various 40 year old expressions, and the fruit is more present in them. I'm just not sure what's going on with these. The XO and Extra also were rather watery on the palate, which threw me for a loop. They may just need more oxygen to come out, and it could be the result of the wood. In any case, with the variation, I just can't recommend the Extra anymore, though the XO remains a winner. The Royal is just tops, and I expect that I'll be mixing some of it in with the Extra to bring the latter up a bit.

BSinTX
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Re: Return to the Boujus

Postby BSinTX » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:28 pm

I can read Bouju reviews all day long. The amount you have left of the BdF is pretty much identical to what I have left. I think I will give it a go on Sunday night in order to wind down the weekend. Although I only had one bottle of it, I remember the XO being one of the few 40% ABV bottlings to actually work well at that alcohol level; the Napoleon didn't fare so well.

Hopefully in the near future, we will once again be able to sample the wares of the Bouju line. Though I'd probably pass on the Napoleon, I will certainly try the XO again and BdF....I just don't see me buying one bottle at a time anymore.

numen
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Re: Return to the Boujus

Postby numen » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:05 pm

I like the Tres Vieux, too. It's at 40%, and I'm interested in seeing how the second bottle holds up. On the other hand, the Royal and TVBdF have, uniformly, been great across multiple bottles -- less batch/vintage variation in quality than the Extra. With the prices of those being as low as they are (when available), I'm likely to keep going back to them for purchases (not including the Reserve Familiale). I'm with you on the Napoleon; it gave hints of becoming the XO, but it just wasn't there yet, and didn't take water as well.

I burned through some bottles of the Royal over the last year. I basically started to mix it with the Extra (and Napoleon, when I had it) to give the poor performing expressions a boost. The TVBdF didn't do as well when mixed with other expressions, but the Royal (when 1/4-1/3 of the mix, minimum) made everything better. I hope that Jay is able to bring Bouju back home. People say that Grande Champagne cognac really shows best with more age, and Bouju is so unabashedly in that style that I suppose that his really needs time to open up. I've noticed that, even in the better bottles of the XO and Extra, the palate is a bit weak (the BdF expressions are exceptions). The finish wipes the memory clean a bit, but they don't have the strongest rich palates to my mind.

BSinTX
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Re: Return to the Boujus

Postby BSinTX » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:50 pm

Well, it's gone. This weekend must have had the stars aligned in some way that made me drink 2 servings of BdF (that was a first.) It was just tasting right, and I know I don't have to explain this. I am now 100% Bouju free and it sucks!! I guess the good news is that the weather looks like it wants to get warmer and I am not into the BdF during the hot summer months. I just checked TPS and they are all out of stock at the moment; let the waiting begin.

Pierre
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Re: Return to the Boujus

Postby Pierre » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:19 pm

Would you guys have some recommendation of what cigar would go well with Bouju style in general or any incarnation in particular ? (take into consideration I'm very light smoker :) )


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