Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Old Pours for a New Year: Part 2
Bertrand - T5C "Ye Olde Schoole" ~75 yr. - 51.5%
Stories matter. Like it or not, they alter the experience of what we consume. Set up some blind tastings and you'll, no doubt, challenge previously held beliefs. As valuable as blind tastings are, they can cheat the taster out of context - a massive part of the experience. Which is a considerable price to pay when something like pure objective sensory experience isn't possible or even necessarily a worthwhile pursuit. Me, I like the stories. And when you like them, you need to be even more aware of them. Something to keep in mind as I go down a little rabbit hole of old brandy.
This Bertrand private bottling for T5C came from a "succession" (think inheritance) cask. The practice seems similar to other accounts I've read where small cognac or armagnac producers set aside special casks for the future, sometimes as an emergency or retirement fund, sometimes as an inheritance for the next generation. This cask was ~65 years old when it was passed onto the current generation and bottled 10 years later for T5C, a stateside group that's picked some pretty notable barrels. It's a single lot of cognac that arrived at its ABV through natural reduction. 274 bottles total.
Nose: Milk chocolate. Water damaged wood. Pecans. Candied peanuts. Raspberry. Almost bourbon-y. Caramel. Pineapple on the edges.
Flavor: Fruitier here. Kiwi. Cherry. Pineapple. Caramel. Oak and barrel sweets. Tropical fruits hangout in the finish with the wood.
Structure: Body is on the lighter side. Long and layered.
Alcohol Integration: Bingo as far as heat and clarity go. Thought about adding water to see if it plumped up the palate, but I didn't want to mess with the structure or collapse the layering.
Score: 8 (Stash One) Wonderful interplay of oak and fruit. Nose can get a little stuck in the oakiness (it's good oak) - feels a little closed off at times, but patience is rewarded. Structure is fantastic.
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Definitely in crossover spirit territory here. The barrel influence will appeal to fans of well-aged bourbon and armagnac. The fruit will appeal to older malt drinkers or rum fans.
10 - Reevaluate The Budget
9 - Stash Two (If Able)
8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)
7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers
6 - Solid - Above Average
5 - Acceptable For The Situation
4 - Not Vocally Complaining
3 - Anything Else To Drink?
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour