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18 and 30 Year Micro-Production Bas-Armagnac from an Artisan Bottler - 01/17/2018 - Cognac and Armagnac

Independent bottler L'Encantada understands what Armagnac lovers want because that's exactly what they are. This group of Armagnac loving friends realized that some of the regions smallest estates were throwing away legendary eau-de-vie to blends made by the big negociants. These guys are even smaller and less commercial than the great brands we’ve offered you in the past. Many of these estates had never bottled Armagnac, nor had any interested in marketing their precious eau-de-vie. They don’t typically bottle anything, but for their friends and families, because selling Armagnac is not what they do. They MAKE Armagnac not sell it. When they need to repair the tractor or buy some land, then a little bit of eau-de-vie gets parceled off to the negociant. Our friends at L’Encantada offered those estates a premium to retain the stocks for bottling as single casks at full strength. L’Encantada realized that the soul of Armagnac exists in its terroir, history and culture. By blending these exceptional brandies you strip them of the very soul that makes this drink so special. They've committed to supporting small estates producing traditional Armagnac and bottling single casks at full strength. The results are some of the most special spirits we've ever come across.

We sold through our initial allocation from L'Encantada in a flash and expect much the same here. Don’t delay in securing these gems before they are gone.

Vintage Item Name Score Qty Retail Link
1999 L'Encantada 18 Year Old "Lous Pibous #145" Bas-Armagnac (750ml) (Pre-Arrival) >36 $89.99 View
1986 L'Encantada 30 Year Old "Domaine Le Frêche" Cask #44 Bas-Armagnac (750ml) (Pre-Arrival) >36 $129.99 View

1999 L'Encantada 18 Year Old "Lous Pibous #145" Bas-Armagnac (750ml) (Pre-Arrival) ($89.99)

The famous Lous Pibous estate was easily the most sought-after brandy of 2017. We've sold more than 1000 of bottles from this tiny estate since we started importing these products early last year. Lous Pibous is particularly special but few of the previous casks we've sold have matched this 18 year old Lous Pibous in terms of intensity. The bold nose is bursting with spice, the highest quality tobacco, wild honey candied stone fruits, and nutty rancio oxidative quality. Something of a crushed sweet tart quality and an attractive mineral quality with faint whiffs of old metal. The palate is thick and textured, with a striking dusty tannin that reminds me of old rye whiskey. Indeed, the old American whiskey thing is very much at play here (a quality that's attracted such a massive following), but it also exhibits some really wonderful parallels with a quality old Highland malt. While L'Encantada does not bottle the most affordable Armagnac available, they truly deliver an experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere.

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 09, 2018

Just an absolute monster. Unctuous, bold and full of life - this brandy makes me sad for all the high quality small estate Armagnac that's wasted in crap blends for the French market. We still have suppliers come in and try to sell those style Armagnacs to us and I just don't get why they think it's going to work. This brandy, however, will easily flip the most ardent American Whiskey lover into an Armagnac freak. The owners of the Lous Pibous estate are extremely private and don't accept visitors, but I'm planning to visit early this year. Nonetheless, replicating an experience like this one again might be difficult, but we'll keep trying until we've tasted every cask.

1986 L'Encantada 30 Year Old "Domaine Le Frêche" Cask #44 Bas-Armagnac (750ml) (Pre-Arrival) ($129.99)

Rarely has a spirit so affordable provided me with so much overt joy as this special cask from Domaine Le Frêche. L'Encantada scours the countryside for rare gems and finding this is like extracting a perfectly cut diamond directly from the ground. The little village in the department of Landes is home to some of the most expensive and well regarded estates in Armagnac. Just to the northwest is the famous Domaine Boingnères and to the south the excellent Chateau de Ravignan. Boingnères is run by Armagnac royalty and their spirit commands an impressive premium over eau-de-vie from the Gers and Tenereze to the East. There's no question that if Armagnac designated Grand Cru villages Le Frêche would be top of the list. The excellent terroir paired with a high quality new Gascogne oak results in what I can only describe as one of my favorite spirits of the year, maybe the decade. After more than 30 years in the barrel, this eau-de-vie has taken on nuance I've only experienced before in ultra old single malt Scotch. The closest comparison that comes to mind is the heady tropical complexity of 60s Bowmore or 40s Glenlivet. It's this incredible balance between sweet and savory that keeps me coming back for more. While an '86 Boingnères would easily cost you $250+ and Bowmore from the 60s closer to $10000, this wonderful cask is a steal for $130. Very few spirits deliver this level of depth and complexity in such a seemless package and almost none at this price point. A true legend.

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 18, 2018

In a lot of ways the 1986 Le Freche is the perfect Armagnac. At the ripe old age of 30 and naturally reduced through evaporation to an extremely appealing and not all challenging 47%, this spirit has achieved near perfection. The elegance and complexity reminds us more of superb old style Highland Malt, subtle sherry-like influences paired with the exotic and delicate nature of the most high end brandies. The raw intensity of the Lous Pibous Casks is substituted for a precision and focus that I've rarely seen matched in my 10+ years buying and tasting spirits. The result is something so unabashedly drinkable. It's extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly why this cask is so special. The simple fact is there's almost nothing in the world that tastes this good at anywhere close to this price. The color is auburn and shimmering garnet. The nose is pure rancio, leather, licorice, stewed plums, salted stone fruits, burning embers. The palate is textured and full. Unctuous and open but not has hard edged as some of these other cask strength. Bold herbal notes revolve around the overripe fruit building toward an almost smoky savory sandalwood finish. This is already a contender for my favorite spirit of 2018!