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The Chambers Street Spirits Department is thrilled to be partnering with Racines for the very first time to put together a tasting menu paired with a beverage that has really caught our attention in the past year: rum. With the arrival of La Maison & Velier on the US market this year, we've gotten access to some serious, and seriously delicious bottles that up to this point have only been available in Europe. For the first time we'll have the opportunity to open these bottles in a fine dining setting, paired with a specially crafted meal by our friends at Racines.
Also, with the holidays in full swing, we've beefed up our brandy section, with new arrivals from some of our favorite producers, along with completely new additions to the shelf. The highlight of these might be two single casks from Through the Grapevine, a project from La Maison du Whiskey in Paris highlighting the diversity and quality that can be found in the different appellations of the Cognac region. On a personal note, in the past year I've been getting more and more into French brandy, and I would urge any fan of brown spirits to start paying more attention to the category. Happy Holidays from the Chambers Street Spirits Department! Oskar Kostecki
I am astounded by the freshness that this old Cognac carries. A single cask from the outlying appellation of Fin Bois, this was distilled in 1973 by the Landier family from grapes grown in clay-limestone soils. It has a beautiful, lifted aromatic profile, with notes of citrus, tangerine, orange zest, orange marmalade, white flowers, apple, pear, and darker aromas of plum and toffee. There is a hint of rancio and baking spice, and while you can feel the age of the spirit, the roundness it carries on the palate and its phenomenal length, there is also a vibrancy to the fruit character that I've never experienced in a Cognac this old. A truly unique expression. Bottled at 47.8% ABV. Oskar Kostecki
We've been thoroughly enamored by the deep, rustic, and intense Armagnacs of Domaine du Ravignan, and we were very happy to see Charles Neal import a younger vintage from them. I enjoy younger French brandy for its exuberance and primary character. This 2008 shows a beautiful balance of fruit and spice notes, with dried peach, peach skin, dried apricot, apricot jam, lavender, yellow flowers, dried leaves, tea leaves, and salted toffee all showing wonderfully on the nose and palate. The palate is quite intense and vibrant, combining both brightness and depth. Bottled at 50% ABV. Oskar Kostecki
Domaine d'Esperance is run by Claire de Montesquiou, who revived her family's centuries old tradition of distilling Armagnac when she purchased the small domaine in the early 1990s. This 1998 vintage single-cask offering is made from Baco 22A, the only hybrid grape allowed in the appellation, and is a rich and textured, though not sacrificing balance or poise. Dried fruit, prune, toffee and spice, with more savory notes of walnut, forest floor and leather intermingle on the dense and complex palate. A wonderful after dinner Armagnac. Oskar Kostecki
This is a collaboration from PM Spirits and L'Encantada, an independent bottler of great repute specializing in armagnac. Unearthing barrels or demijohns that have often been forgotten, from small producers who may or may not be distilling anymore. This particular vatting is from four casks, including barrels from 1989 and 1987 of 100% Folle Blanche from Lous Pibous. This is a hearty Armagnac, incorporating notes of dried fruit and flowers with a muscular spice character. Hints of rancio interweave with notes of leather and smoke, making this a perfect introduction to French brandy for whiskey lovers. Bottled at 46.8% ABV. Oskar Kostecki
Boingneres is one of the legendary names in Armagnac, and along with Laberdolive produces some of the most complex and beautiful spirits in France. This 2001 vintage is made from 100% Folle Blanche, the rarest of the grapes used in the production of Cognac and Armagnac, lending a beautiful floral note to the spirit. This Armagnac has it all, combining fruit, spice and floral notes in an intense melange of flavor and texture, with density and incredible length. Dried fruit, plum, apricot, dried yellow flowers, baking spice, a hint of leather, dried tea leaves, walnuts, and a touch of balsamic are all present here, creating a spirit that is much greater than the sum of its parts. Bottled at 49% ABV. Oskar Kostecki
The Chauchet-Voyer family has been farming vineyards and making Cognac in the limestone-rich terroir of Grande Champagne for the past five generations. This spirit comes from a single barrel filled in 1993 and aged for 25 years. Distilled on the lees, this is a powerful and broad-shouldered Cognac, with great density on the palate and notes of baked apples, poached pears, leather, baking spice, apricot marmalade, dried cherries, a hint of forest floor and balsamic. A beautiful expression of the richness that Cognac can deliver without the use of artificial color, added sugar, or boisé. Bottled at 45.9%. Oskar Kostecki