Shakedown 1979

As a 1979er (and a friend to many who were also born in that glorious year), I'm always on the hunt for birth vintages that actually deliver, rather than simply satisfy anniversary or birthday prerequisites. It's nice to get someone a bottle from an important year, but it's even better when that bottle is actually something worth drinking! I'm recycling the barn photo from earlier this week because I just realized this is actually Christelle Lasseignou's barn, the proprietor from Domaine de Maouhum from where I snagged this most recent single barrel of Armagnac.

Christelle Lasseignou began to take over for her parents more than a decade ago at the domaine. Don't let her stylish clothes and her polished poise fool you, she's a serious farmer through and through. She does everything at the chateau herself—from the vineyards to the distillation, to the management of the barrels. She also does the labeling, which I have to tell you doesn't quite reflect the proper math on this latest go around. She goofed a bit on her calculations when putting this bottling together for us. I know this because as much as I wish I was going to turn 28 next month, I'm actually turning 38. Hence, when you look at the small print on the label for this new vintage of 1979 Domaine de Maouhum, you're going to see a 2 where the 3 should be.

We didn't bottle this ten years ago, however. The booze is a legit 38 years old and it tastes like it. There is a huge gob of sweet new oak right off the bat, but it dries out quickly into baking spices and turns into dried fruits with a figgy note before more new oak and vanilla light up the finish. Find me a 38 year old Bourbon or Scotch that tastes this good for this price, and has this level of quality on such a small scale (mislabelings and all).

1979 Domaine de Maouhum "28 (really 38) Year Old" Bas-Armagnac $129.99 

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll