Additive-free armagnac

Here you can talk about the experiences with the different brands and/or types of Armagnac.
davem
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Additive-free armagnac

Postby davem » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:57 pm

Hi, new to the forum.
I came across this link discussing additive-free cognacs. Does anyone know of a similar list of additive-free armagnacs?
Dave

BSinTX
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Re: Additive-free armagnac

Postby BSinTX » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:45 am

Unfortunately, we have to search far and wide. Because additives are permitted, it's probably not really much of a consideration when using them. There are a few websites where the bottler/producer makes the no additive claim (Darroze) which is always nice. My favorite part about buying vintage Armagnac is that there is no water added. This is (by far) my biggest gripe with Cognac makers; this ridiculous notion that 40% is some magical number from which must never be deviated. I am grateful to the very few Frenchmen who are bright enough to think outside the box and offer us Cognacs with more flavor and have an understanding that NOBODY has ever sipped on a Cognac and stated that it needs more caramel colorant or more sugar water (unless you sip VS which is your own damned fault!!) I don't know for sure if vintage Armagnac escapes the additive cycle or not; one would tend to think so.

numen
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Re: Additive-free armagnac

Postby numen » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:22 am

I think that it depends on the various vintage labels. Darroze adds nothing, not even water. On the other hand, Chateau de Laubade brings everything down to 40% (WHY?!?!), even though their stuff is often very good. I get the sense that a lot of the more reputable makers don't add anything to their stuff except water. I had some Marie Duffau a year or two ago and it tasted to me like it had caramel or some other caramel-y sweetener in it, but I haven't been able to confirm it anywhere.

BSinTX
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Re: Additive-free armagnac

Postby BSinTX » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:24 pm

I have the Castarede 20YO (half gone already!) I haven't been able to find anything with regards to additives but at 40%, it definitely has (too much) water added. Wouldn't it be nice to speak to a master blender or cellar master and get their take on the whole matter!! I'd like to know at what point no additives are needed.

davem
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Re: Additive-free armagnac

Postby davem » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:34 am

The more I read about it, the more I think additives are ubiquitous. Even Charles Neal said in a discussion I came across (I can't find the link) that (I am paraphrasing) it is very common. So, unless the armagnac maker says so, additives could be in there. Then again, there are a lot of good armagnacs out there so the "blenders" know their stuff. It still irks me.

I have the Delord 25 Year Old Bas-Armagnac and the Chateau de Ravignan 1984. I can only hope. I tasted the Larrasingle VSOP and a Marie Duffau in a restaurant and they were "sweet". Additives? Probably.

numen
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Re: Additive-free armagnac

Postby numen » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:47 pm

To some extent, I don't mind additives (in a theoretical sense), and I understand them in Cognac and Armagnac. Single cask releases aren't common in those grape brandies, and each house typically produces fewer expressions than whisky makers (VS, VSOP, XO, 1-2 'prestige' bottles) year in, year out, and they strive for a consistent profile. Whisky producers do this too, usually with something like a 10/18/2x age release, but they have enough other releases to do things with extra distillate. With most consumed Cognac and Armagnac in the US belonging to the VS/VSOP category, and usually for mixing drinks, I can understand these makers trying to add more, primarily to younger spirits, to make them more palatable - less fiery, less spirity, a bit sweeter, and so on - for the majority of drinkers. We don't usually find as much in terms of additives in older blends (time has done its work) as we do in the VS/VSOP and some XOs (especially from the bigger houses). I'm sensitive to the sweeteners in spirits, so when those additives are used, I find the experience unpleasant. Water, I understand, but am always concerned about its effect on the strength of the spirit.

With older blends or vintage expressions, I think that most houses add just water.

BSinTX
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Re: Additive-free armagnac

Postby BSinTX » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:27 pm

I agree with you numen, it's not that I am anti-additive and refuse to drink anything otherwise. Being this is the 21st Century and consumers are far more informed than in the 20th Century, I tend to want to know whats in the product I am buying. This really sinks in if the manufacturer is attempting to sell me something "crafted". If a house or a blender feels the need to take short cuts in order to make their product drinkable, I would like to know about it. I don't expect them to print "This product contains artificial colorant" on the bottle, but I am all too happy to point out the manufacturers who actually print the opposite.

mikjon
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Re: Additive-free armagnac

Postby mikjon » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:50 pm

Domaine Boingneres never use additives and is cask strength..

/Michael

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Re: Additive-free armagnac

Postby Dominictalor » Wed May 08, 2013 12:20 pm

Just visited chateau Laubade where they do sell 'cask strength' vintages. Bought an 1982 (47.6%) and can report a perfectly balanced experience. Have no idea where else it is available.

Pierre
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Re: Additive-free armagnac

Postby Pierre » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:07 am

Just to confirm the last message, Laubade sells some armagnacs as part of a "degré de liberté" collection that are cask strength, some even up to 50%, but very hard to find.
As for Darroze, he does add water to his blended collection (the 8-12-20-30-40-50-60 YO collection "Les grands assemblages") since they're all at perfect 43%.


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