1980 The Rare Armagnac Collection "Mars" (Domaine de Pouchegu) 38 Year Old K&L Exclusive Vintage Armagnac (750ml) SKU #1390663

Price: $149.99

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Tasting Notes

The Rare Armagnac Collection is a new small-scale bottler seeking to unearth rare and unique Armagnacs from small estates across the region that would otherwise not be available. We're extremely lucky to have stumbled upon them, and this first parcel that they acquired from the famous estate in the best part of the Ténarèze. We first visited Domaine Pouchegu in 2013. There, Pierre Laporte was matter-of-fact about what made his Armagnacs so good: Lots of care in the vines, a good amount of sable fauve in the soils, hiring the best distiller, and a commitment to purchasing high-quality, new Limousin oak every vintage. His meticulous attention to detail was obvious the moment we first tasted those special brandies. What we didn't know at the time was that this master of the art was battling cancer. Less than a year after that first meeting, Mr. Laporte had succumbed to cancer. His illness had not been a secret, but we did not realize the severity of the condition. Since then his brandies have become legendary among our customers and beyond. After repeated attempts to contact his successors, our friend Charles Neal sent us word that he'd located the stocks. Luckily for us they were still in barrel and unblemished by low-quality blending or adjustment of any kind. The Rare Armagnac Collection bottles without additives or reduction. Unfortunately, this bottle does not have Mr. Laporte's name or his domaine on it, but these bottlings preserves perfectly that man's incredible legacy.

Staff Reviews

  • Cameron Price
    By: Cameron Price
    1/14/2019
    K&L Staff Member
    The Mars presents a richer nose than the Venus. Ripe orange peel and fuzzy Georgia peaches are presented with a bouquet of red roses and perfume of Gardenia. The balance on the palate is excruciatingly precise with cured leather-like palate, soft in texture but firm in flavor. Bitter orange and rose water. Beautiful.
  • David Othenin-Girard
    By: David Othenin-Girard
    1/3/2019
    K&L Staff Member
    The excellent Domaine de Pouchegu has held a special place in our hearts since we first found it years ago. After tasting through Gascogne's great estates, arriving at the extremely well kempt estate not far from Montreal-de-Gers was a strange experience. For years we'd heard nearly every small producer insist that the character of their spirit would be ruined if they'd ever dare to leave them in new oak for more than a few months. This technique of "successive" aging is very typical in the brandy world. It avoids excessive tannin and stretches the purchase of a new barrel across several barrels worth of spirit. The spirit absorbs a significant amount of wood in the first 6 to 12 months in a new barrel. Some producers don't bother to use ANY new oak and the concentration comes purely from evaporation. But Pierre Laporte was one of the first small producers we'd met who insisted on full term maturation in new local oak. Only the big estates like Boingneres and Pellehaut seemed to be able to afford to buy significant amounts of oak and even they didn't leave ALL their eau-de-vie in new oak for decades. And we'd assumed that the hard edge French oak tannins would create intense bitterness in Pierre's brandy, but he explained that wood selection and proper seasoning could avoid the harsh tannin and insisted that the results, while not narrowly elegant as some more traditional producers, offered a superior experience. Boy, did M. Laporte know his shit. There is almost nothing like this insane brandy on the market today. Only the extremely hard to get Lous Pibous has achieved this kind of intensity and complexity and those were created almost by accident. Expect an absolutely over the top nose, which you can detect from across the room. Tons of deep exotic wood - mahogany, sandalwood, spruce, birch, oak...all the woods. A bucket of wild dark spices, premium Italian leather, almost oloroso levels of dense raisinated fruit, fresh mint, sugar mixed in brown butter. The perfect balance of savory and sweet. The palate continues the fireworks. A very sweet entry with an elegance that is not altogether expected. The sweet rancio fruit and crazy roasted nuts are the star and the tannin is almost unperceivable until the finish where the dense spice and wood begin to take over. Ultimately it remains very balanced, but is one of the most full flavored spirits I've ever tasted. We're always looking for brandy that's going to appeal to the Bourbon drinker, but honestly I don't think there's a single lover of brown spirits that couldn't find a way to love this special spirit. We're extremely sad to have lost this great producer, but at least we have his wonderful brandies to remember him by.
  • Andrew Whiteley
    By: Andrew Whiteley
    12/12/2018
    K&L Staff Member
    Look out L'Encantada! Glorious after its 38 years in new oak this Armagnac is thriving and alive. Candied apples and almonds jive together in an array of spice and baked sugar. Vanilla and caramel blend with toffee and pepper. If intense old Armagnac is your thing, do not miss these bottles from Pouchegu - a lost legend of Ténarèze.

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