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New K&L Exclusive Armagnacs from the French Expedition! - 09/04/2013 - Cognac and Armagnac

When a spirits company markets itself as rustic, traditional, and quaint, it’s usually not the case. The quaintest of farmers doesn’t hire his own marketing department and the most traditional of producers often doesn’t see the romanticism in the basic routines of his daily life. It’s us at K&L, a gang of spirits geeks in search of the most authentic of products, who are drawing attention now to the most rustic, traditional, and quant of brandy producers we’ve discovered on our visits to Gascony – the Claverie family and their Domaine de Baraillon Armagnacs. Baraillon The Claveries are farmers first and foremost. They have pigs, horses, and chickens that take up most of their free time. They also own vineyards, from which they’ve been producing Armagnac for more than 150 years. The 1985 vintage we first featured last year at K&L has become one of the most successful spirits in our store’s history, winning over our customers searching for something outside the mainstream. Looking to build on that enthusiasm, we went back to the Claverie farm this year and found several new expressions to satisfy the new demand. We dug deep into the archives, as the Claveries still have brandies from the 1800s stored away in their cellar, and pulled out four new selections available only at K&L.

Baraillon 10 Year Old K&L Exclusive Armagnac 750ml ($52.99)

After so much success with the older vintage Armagnacs from Domaine de Baraillon, we thought it was time to introduce you to their younger selections. This 10 year old marriage of brandies was created specifically for K&L and offers the richer, rounder mouthfeel, but without the big burst of caramel. It's more vinous, more oily, more earthy in style and rounder on the finish. Compared to our other selections this one is far more gentle. It's a great entry level foray into country Armagnac as it's entirely unpolished in style. This tastes like it was made on a farm in the middle of the country by a rustic family who might also have chickens and pigs. And guess what: it was!! (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer)

1998 Baraillon K&L Exclusive Folle Blanche Vintage Armagnac 750ml ($69.99)

We've expanded our selection from one of our favorite Armagnac producers: Domaine de Baraillon. After the success of last year's 1985 vintage brandy, we wanted to introduce you to their younger Folle Blanche selections. This 15 year old Armagnac is distilled from 100% Folle Blanche and exhibits that same unctuous, rich, caramel-laden profile but with more spice and a dusty finish. It's a big time crowd-pleaser of an Armagnac, the kind of thing that will taste good to your great uncle Larry, but still scratch that spirits geek itch in the back of your throat. One heckuva deal as well since we brought it in directly. (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer)

Staff ImageJeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 04, 2013

The 1998 Baraillon has nice pretty and inviting aromas. It is not a heavy spirit and has layers of flavors including a touch of earth. This is an Armagnac that is terroir driven, speaks of the location it comes from, and is interesting and fun to drink.

Staff Image

1985 Baraillon K&L Exclusive Vintage Armagnac 750ml ($115.99)

If there were ever a romantic ideal for French countryside distillation, the Baraillons are it. Out in the middle of nowhere, there's nothing glossed over or touristic about their operation - they are farmers, pure and simple. David and I absolutely fell in love with this father/daughter team even though they hardly said a word to us the entire time we tasted (they let their booze speak for itself). This single barrel 1985 brandy is one of the finest spirits we tasted on the entire trip. A mix of Ugni Blanc and Baco, the nose is absolutely hypnotizing - port-like with stewed fruits and sandlewood (think an exotic highland single malt, but remember it's definitely NOT single malt). The palate follows up with toffee, vanilla, more fruit and stunning richness - with spice and heat on the finish that prevent the weight from becoming overly flabby. It is spellbinding brandy, although it's not for everyone with its earthy and somewhat wild mid-palate. Still, it's destined to go down as one of the best Armagnacs we've ever carried and we look forward to importing Baraillon exclusively for the foreseeable future. Baraillon Armagnac is where bucolic romanticism and quality collide. (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer)

1933 Baraillon K&L Exclusive Vintage Armagnac 750ml - 8 available ($799.99)

What happened in 1933? Construction began on the Golden Gate bridge. The United States voted to give the Philippines its independence. Hitler was in charge of Germany. FDR introduced his New Deal. And....the Claverie family distilled this batch of Armagnac at their small farm in Gascony and there it sat until we had it bottled for K&L 80 years later. The 1933 Baraillon has a fragrant nose of spicy ginger with loads of oak barrel accents. The flavors are alive and full of fruit, brimming with wood spices and even a bit of pine or cedar. The finish is almost like sandelwood or incense. This is a historic brandy, incredibily limited, and only available at K&L! (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer)

1893 Baraillon K&L Exclusive Vintage Armagnac 750ml - 9 available ($2,499.99)

What happened in 1893? The great northern railway connected Seattle with the East Coast. Grover Cleveland was inaugurated for his second term as U.S. president. The Ferris Wheel debuted at the World's Fair in Chicago. Dvoráks New World Symphony premiered at Carnegie Hall. And....the Claverie family distilled this Armagnac at their small farm in Gascony. Made from pre-phylloxera grapes, and distilled by Mr. Claverie's great-grandfather, the 1893 Armagnac from Chateau Baraillon is a family heirloom, a piece of 19th Century history, and one amazing bottle of brandy. Big spice, incredible richness, and lots of spice dominate the palate. The brandy is nuanced, powerful, and almost other-worldly. Maple syrup, exotic spices, lean on the finish and slightly oxidized, but in a good way. But, really, this isn't so much about the flavor, is it? This is a chance to say, "That '93 Armagnac was pretty incredible. Oh....I meant 1893, by the way, not 1993." (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer)