Le Camut est arrivé
Much like the olden days of Pappy Van Winkle and George T. Stagg, there was a time when we not only had Camut Calvados bottles on our shelves all year round, we had to actually convince people to buy them. People would look at the price tags and scoff. They were expensive (Pappy 20 back then was $89.99, which was outrageously high). Plus, no one knew what the hell they were. But while just about every whiskey drinker today has memorized the complete list of rare and elusive Bourbons, few people still know (or care) about tracking down a bottle of Camut Calvados. But those "few" folks have grown into enough of a sales force to turn what was once a series of full-time expressions into an annual allocated release. It's not just the growing intelligence of the global spirits market that's driving these shortages, however; it's also a supply issue with Camut. There have been some complications back in Normandy that have cramped the production chain and put a damper on sales. I can't really get into it here, but let's just say the Camut brothers are not likely to solve the issue any time soon. That means that despite our close relationship with Jean-Gab and Emmanuel and our long history of doing direct business, the reality of the Camut situation isn't pretty.
I've made no mystery concerning my feelings for the Camut brandies (you can flash back to our original visit back in 2012 here). To me, they're not only the best apple distillates in the world, they're some of the best spirits that exist—period. If I were stranded on a desert island and I could only pick one bottle to have with me, it would definitely be a bottle of Camut. Which one, however? I've always had a soft spot for the twelve year, but after numerous evenings drinking glasses of twenty-five year at the Domaine de Semainville, I have to say that the nostalgia of my emotions might force my hand here. Of course, the freshness and the dynamism of the six year cannot be overlooked, nor can you deny the breathtaking beauty of the ultra-mature editions. I can tell you safely—without question—that the best spirit I've ever tasted in my entire career was a 1945 Camut direct from cask at the family's estate. There is so much history behind some of these brandies. Real history, too; not some bullshit, fake-ass story that some marketing intern dreamt up after a sales meeting (you can read up on some of that history here over at the On the Trail blog).
I wish we had enough for everyone. I wish I could put these bottles into the hands of our customers every single day of the year and say, "Take this! It will change your life!" Tasting these brandies and becoming friends with the Camut brothers absolutely changed my life. I was so overcome with wonder and love for these guys and their incredible spirits that I spent a year and a half learning French during my lunch hour just so I could start communicating with them on my own. Today, I email regularly with Emmanuel about new projects and ideas. It's a friendship that I treasure as much as do some of my emptied Camut bottles.
This year's allocation is here. I hope those of you who get a bottle enjoy the brandy as much as I do. It's truly magical stuff.