I've neglected the area of brandy lately, so I will try to compensate for that this spring.
This time I've tasted a few new purchases as well as a couple of samples I found in my backlog.
In alphabetical order - "ABC", that is:
Sempé 1990, bottled 2009 (Armagnac, 40%):
Rather nice nose with caramelized sugar and custard (crème brûlée), notes of Curaçao liqueur, oak, plums and raisins.
The palate is light, sweet and fruity at first, then drying and develops oak.
Dry, thin, disappointing finish. Starts out nicely but goes downhill from there.
Domaine le Basque 1990, bottled 2010 (Armagnac, 46%):
Rum-like but a little quiet nose with caramelized sugar, dried fruits and oak. Also nutty and herbal with a note of sage.
Rich, powerful palate, fruity and oaky, develops vanilla and citrus. Hot, warming finish, also oaky and fairly dry yet quite nice.
Needs a little water to tame the fire and the oak.
Janneau VSOP (Armagnac, 40%):
Very nice nose with caramelized sugar, custard and vanilla, also citrus and oak shavings.
Light, fresh, very nice palate. Develops oak and a little heat, also a hint of mint. Drying, oaky finish.
Osborne Reserva del Toro (Spanish brandy, 36%):
Nice, fresh nose with notes of gingerbread, brown sugar, custard, oak and figs. Mild, sweet palate with toffee,
raisins and vanilla. Spicy, slightly fiery finish with a nice oaky note. This is the mildest Spanish brandy I've tried
- as well as one of the nicest ones. Sadly, it seems to be discontinued.
Larios 1866 Gran Reserva (Spanish brandy, 40%):
Nice fragrant nose with oak, dried fruits (figs, prunes), also caramelized sugar, ginger and vanilla.
Quite rich and sweet palate, a bit dense and hard to grasp but very nice with dried fruits and a note of sherry.
Also oaky but in a very nice balance. Rather nice finish with oak shavings, raisins and brown sugar.
The nicest Spanish brandy I've tried! (Thanks to Lukas for the sample)
Guerbé 15 y.o. (Cognac, bottled by Cadenhead at 54.3%):
Quite oaky nose with vanilla, dried fruits and a hint of wood smoke - unusual and subtle yet nice.
The palate is oaky, not particularly fruity with a nice balance between oak and sweetness but
beyond that it's a little boring. Nice finish with oak, vanilla and a note of orange.
All in all it has a nice oakiness but not much else.
Lefoulon XO (Cognac, 45%):
Wonderful, fragrant nose with oak, vanilla, ginger, prunes and figs. Rich, rather oaky palate, also fruity
with dried fruits. Powerful and full of flavour but not quite balanced. It's also a bit too oaky but
despite its weaknesses it's quite entertaining. Mostly oak on the finish. Unusually, this Cognac is bottled
at 45% which makes it fairly fiery but it mellows with a little water.