Of course, we popped four bottles of our newly arrived Cognac and Armagnac yesterday to get the staff acquainted with the new brands. Some tasted just as I remembered, while some surprised me a bit. Here are some observations from our tasting yesterday.
-The 1985 Baraillon needs to blow off some steam. Much like the 1975 Banff we brought in last year, it tastes much better after a day of being open. I about had a heartattack because I had hyped this as one of the overall best, and it is, it just needs to warm up a bit. Give it a headstart if you picked one up. Once we had it open for a while people came back to taste and were very impressed.
-While I thought the Armagnacs would rule the day, most people were captivated by the Ragnaud Reserve Rare Cognac. It's so much better than I remember it tasting. I mean, I knew it was good, but now it just tastes transcendent.
-The Lassaubatju brandies taste more like Bourbon than any other Armagnacs I've ever tasted. Nevertheless, they are not Bourbon. They are made from grapes. While I want to help facilitate a crossover, I don't want anyone expecting big sweet corn spirit.
-I asked our Champagne buyer Gary Westby if he thought the 85 Baraillon tasted "off." He said, "If that 85 is wrong, then I don't want to be right." That took a load off my shoulders.
-While I think the 85 Baraillon is the most complex, I personally plan on purchasing one of the Lassaubatju selections to drink at home. They're just so accessible and easy to drink. Our manager Jason commented, "We are going to crush with these. They're too good."
-However, I tasted some well-versed friends on all four and the clear winner in their mind was the 85 Baraillon. In the end, though, the consensus was that all four brandies kicked some serious ass.