Age: 18 years in oak cask
Domaine: Le Freche
Proof: 109 proof
Cellar Type: Wet cellar
Tasting Notes: Softly spiced stewed fruits, sandalwood, tropical fruits, slightly savory nuts, dark oak, plums, vanilla, Sherry-like raisins, brown sugar and leather.
About: The year was 2011 – Vincent Cornu had been operating a local catering business based in the town of Vic-Fezensac, in the Gers departement of France, for years. As a hospitality business in the heart of Armagnac country, it was common for him to get together with some friends and local restauranteurs to buy a few liters of Armagnac in bulk that they would split up between their businesses. No branding, no business ventures – just a group buying some Armagnac for themselves and their guests at the end of a meal.
The landscape of Armagnac producers is a region dotted with thousands of small estates, most of which do not own their own stills, instead relying on a traveling distiller to stop by for a day or two and distill the year’s harvest. The producer grows the grapes, harvests and ferments them, and ages the distillate. Most of the time, smaller Armagnac producers do not even have their own brand – they distill the equivalent of one or two barrels a year and sell off quantities here and there when money is needed, retirement is near, etc. These producers tend to be involved in polyculture – grape growing isn’t necessarily their main or only crop.
The concept of L’Encantada was born when one of the suppliers Vincent frequently purchased Armagnac from reached out asking if he would be interested in buying not just a few liters, but their remaining handful of casks, as they were soon retiring. Vincent brought a few friends on board and accepted the offer.