By: David Othenin-Girard
K&L Staff Member
Bellair is a well-regarded estate that have sold brandies via the Darroze brand as well. Encantada, through some personal connections, was able to secure a few casks of various ages, but they're an extremely unique style. While the domaine would normally use very little new oak, they do regularly use extra-large puncheon style foudres and it seems that they purchase a new 600L barrel in the year or two before this special brandy was distilled. The larger size has a completely different effect on the brandy then we're used to showing much stronger oxidation and a more integrated addition of oak tannin. I fell in love with this cask because it offered something completely different from anything else on the shelf. The ultra rancio nuttiness implies and almost sherried quality that very few of the other Encantada offerings show. The heavy oxidation makes us worried that the palate will be out of balance or bitter, yet not of the classic pitfalls exist here. The nose waffles between subtle funk and roasted nuts to nearly Creme de Cassis level fruitiness. Is it bourbon, is it Scotch, is it Brandy? We're in the wilderness here. The deep savory quality takes over on the palate, but because of the larger barrels the oak is not totally overpowering. The frighteningly high proof is totally lost if not for a powerful tingly pepper on the finish. For sure this one is the odd man out among the offerings this year, but it also offers some incredible links that will appeal to many different types of drinkers. Another insane value from our dear friends at Encantada. Like all these brandies, this one loves to take it's time in the glass and really opens up after 30-45 minutes.