Archive for the ‘Francis Darroze’ Category

Francis Darroze Les Grands Assemblages Armagnac 12 year old 43%

Tasted: Sept 2014 

The nose displays a shed load of oak, both creamy and grainy Limosin. Hints of slightly sweetened dried fruit follow with a touch of dusty spice. With time hints of bruised apple appear. 

The palate is soft and less oaked, which allows some sweet grape and dried fruit to be discerned. A gentle aged rancio with again plenty of spice. Not amazingly complex but a good length with quite a drying, bitter oak finish. 

Francis Darroze Les Grands Assemblages Armagnac 20 year old 43%

Tasted: Sept 2014

The aromas are darker and spicier than the 12 year old and thankfully there is a lot less oak! Fresh, dark, morello chery, dark chocolate and ginger bread notes emerge. With time the sweet, almost American oak vanillins come through along with some dusty, mellow spices. 

The palate is soft and oaky. Hmm, I can see a theme developing here! The dried fruit is buried beneath the vanilla and grainy French oak notes. There is a touch of bitter cherry on the middle as well as a light eaux de vie note. Like the 12 year old the finish is pretty bitter with dark chocolate and a wet animal after-taste. 

Francis Darroze Les Grands Assemblages Armagnac 30 year old 43%

Tasted: Sept 2014

Dense and woody aromas, but there is a greater degree of freshness at work. Cleaner and lightly oiled with some lovely dusty cinnamon spice and a mature raisinated fruit rancio. A touch of dark honey appears with time. 

The palate opens with a good, gentle dried fruit rancio with hints of spice and oak. The oak/ spirit balance is a lot better and the middle is fairly grapey with hints of sultana, prune and dark chocolate. Like the other bottlings the finish is quite bitter and one has to say that the palate is not as impressive as the nose. 

Francis Darroze Les Grands Assemblages Armagnac 50 year old 42%

Tasted: Sept 2014

The nose is a little shy to begin with. Again fairly woody with hints of spice, raisin, prune and a good, mature rancio. Quite rich, with the dried fruit notes becoming quite sherried in character and a late touch of salt emerges. To be honest I was expecting a lot more complexity. 

The palate opens with the sultana and lightly raisinated fruit, but the oak is coming in fast, bittering at the edges. Quite grapy on the middle and the alcohol seems to be keeping the wood at bay. Reasonable length with hints of dark honey, sour fruit and an almost metallic note. Again I’m distinctly underwhelmed! 

Francis Darroze Armagnac ‘Chateau de Gaube’ 1971 42%

Aged in cask for 40 years and bottled in Jan 2011

Tasted: Sept 2014

Pungent and dusty aromas with soft ginger and coriander spices. The oak is pretty restrained by their standards and although it’s fairly straightforward the nose has a better balance. 

The palate is soft and opens with some slightly sweet honey and dried fruit. Lovely depth with a touch of ginger and pepper coming through on the middle. It does feel a little watery and the finish is very short and dried out. 

Francis Darroze Armagnac ‘Domaine du Pounnone’ 1969 44%

Aged in cask for 40 years and bottled in Jan 2011

Tasted: Sept 2014

Finally a bottling that displays some depth and complexity! Gritty spices mingle with tobacco, dried prune, fig, dusty violets and a touch of smoke. Quite fresh and invigorating with a late milk chocolate note. 

The palate is intense and grainy with plenty of dark spices, dark raisins and prunes. It’s gets a little bitter on the middle with a touch of dark chocolate and walnuts. The alcohol and the wood tannins combine to make the finish quite dry and mouth-watering but the juiciness of the fruit just about balances. Long, with a touch of white and black pepper along with a touch of cigar leaf.

 

 

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