One of the prized expressions in Grande Champagne — indeed, in all of Cognac. Aged 35 to 50 years, yet light amber in color. The incredibly complex nose is at first warm and affable, presenting pretty dried flowers, rose petals and roasted walnuts, but as you return to the glass, the aromas open up with a tropical explosion of pineapple, mango and guava. Wows the palate with so much going on at once, both profound and hedonistic. Lots of fiery spice and pepper at first, which is then balanced and rounded out by more opulent tropical fruit, some forest floor notes and a unique chalky finish. Consider how many thousands of dollars the blingy bottlings from the big houses fetch, and you’ll see what an incredible value this is — if you can find it. (45% abv) (JW)
One of the best Cognacs ever to hit K&L, the Navarre Veille Reserve is the pride and joy of importer and K&L friend Nicolas Palazzi, the man behind the K&L Faultline Cognac and Guillon Painturaud expressions. Nicolas has told me time and time again that of all the brandies in his stellar lineup of grower-producer spirits, the Navarre fills him with the most pride. That's probably because it tastes so damn good. Jacky Navarre is one of the last purists among the artisan cognac distillers. The fourth generation of cognac makers in his family, located in Gondeville since 1811, he takes care of his small Grande Champagne estate with a very basic rule, "Let nature do most of the work." With the exception of an ultra-rare, impossible-to-get aged release, Navarre only makes one Cognac expression - the Vieille Reserve. It's made with 100% Ugni Blanc, and Jacky distills the brandy on the lees. The brandy sees no sugar, caramel or boise, and no water is added at the end. The natural 45% cask strength is achieved through evaporation! There are few other Cognac producers who take such care with their product and the attention to detail shows through in the flavor. The flavors of the grape are not overpowered by caramel or nougat, but are allowed to shine alongside supple vanilla. The finish is incredibly rich and wonderful, loaded with barrel spice and toasted nuts, but delicate and almost haunting in its litheness. Amazing in every way.
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