A majestic 40yo Bas Armagnac from Darroze, bottled for their Grands Assemblages range. With excellent complexity and finesse alongside powerful rancio, this is the perfect gift for any brandy-lover approaching that significant birthday at the end of their fourth decade.
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Armagnac is known for its distinct aroma — once the initial alcohol odor settles, you should gently sniff and appreciate its toasty vanilla and woody scent. Like wine, it’s meant to be sipped and swirled slowly and enjoyed for its robust flavor; to get the best experience, use a tulip-shaped glass in lieu of a traditional brandy snifter (a champagne flute works fine if you haven’t yet invested in antiquated French drinking vessels). Traditionally, Armagnac is served at room temperature as an after-dinner delicacy; it pairs well when sipped intermittently with a rich cup of coffee or alongside a few bites of extra-indulgent dessert.
Armagnac is a rich brandy famously crafted in Gascony, a medieval region in southeastern France best-known for its pastoral charm, Mediterranean climate and gourmand culture. Armagnac begins with specific white grape varieties (Folle Blanche, Colombard, Baco Blanc and Ugni Blanc), which are often distilled and barrel-aged separately and then carefully blended to achieve the velvety, aromatic final product. Armagnac is a centuries-old spirit and many French families have carefully guarded and passed down their recipes and techniques for generations. Armagnac is only produced in the specific appellation in Gascony, which is divided into three distinct terroirs: Bas-Armagnac, Armagnac-Ténarèze and Haut-Armagnac.
Armagnac’s overall flavor profile varies dramatically depending on its age and the different kinds of grapes used in the final blend. Notably, Armagnac bottles will feature a specific designation that refers to the youngest product used in the blend: VS (1-3 years), VSOP (4-5 years), Napoléon (6-9 years), XO (10 years) and Hors d’âge (over ten years). In general, Armagnac ranges in color from honey to mahogany and features a few key flavors such as dried fruit, orange, caramel and coffee, though you’ll want to hold the liquor on your tongue for a moment to fully appreciate its subtle sweetness and spice.