Updated: Jan 22
Vallein Tercinier Lot 86 - 33 yr. - Fins Bois - Maltbarn - 49%
Context: A meeting here of small independents. Vallein Tercinier is a family-run house that has 8 pot stills on-site and seems to do a little bit of everything - distilling, sourcing (grapes), aging, single vintages, blending. Most encouraging for the American enthusiast set is what they don't do - adulterate or manipulate their distillate with additives. Plus, an added bonus for many whiskey drinkers, their offerings usually clock in above the 40% ABV minimum.
Maltbarn is a small scale independent bottler whose ethos is to only select spirits they love to drink. Their bottlings are often well received among enthusiasts. Seems like these two are a good match.
This Vallein Tercinier release is from the Fins Bois sub-region within Cognac. It spent at least 33 years in oak. 160 bottles total for the run.
Nose: Bright and summery. Tart cherries. Dried mixed berries. Citrus. Sorrel. Vanilla. Roasted nuts. Oak. Faint varnish. The wood provides some depth and complexity, but the fruit is leading.
Flavor: Bright and floral with rich undertones. Wild flowers and sunshine . Honey. Tropical fruit. Citrus. Vanilla. It drinks like citrus-forward 1990s cologne. The kind that balances bright fruit with baked undertones. Trace medicinal herbs. Finish is medium and carefully layers in the oak.
Palate Structure: Lots of complexity. Plays mostly high and bright. Didn't always land in my comfort zone (medicinal and fruit combos can be tricky for me), but you'd never question the quality here.
Alcohol Integration: Well balanced.
You’d Dig This If You Like:
Fruit Forward Bourbon
Four Roses - especially K and V yeast fans
Older Unpeated Malts (for the bright, complex fruits)
Balvenie 15 yr. SiB - ex-bourbon barrels
Extra Anejo Tequila (unadulterated and agave forward with fruits and floral)
Cascahuin XA French Oak
Score: 8 (Stash One) This pour is a great example of where my palate has been experiencing a critical shift. My language and sensory experience for spirits started with bourbon which often primes my expectation that "exceptional" pours exhibit dark, rich, haunting profiles. Like so many others on Serious Brandy, armagnac made that transition easy with many of our hyped oak-driven domains (i.e. Lous Pibous, Cardinat). What I've been loving lately about cognac (Jean-Luc Pasquet has extremely been influential here) and extra anejo tequila are expressions that bring the fruit and florals forward, using oak/spice/dessert notes as accents rather than to establish an overarching mood or tone. Pours like this Vallein Tercinier draw up the shades and let let a little light in. I'm heading toward that light.
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 - Wish I Was Drinking Something Else
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour