Charron 30 Year 1990 Vintage Cask Strength Bas-Armagnac
Domaine de Charron, located in tiny Perquie, Landes (the same village as our beloved Chateau de Ravignan) is a small producer, distilling just 4-6 barrels a year from their 12 hectares of Baco grapes. The brandies are bottled traditionally, without any reduction, additives, or coloring. One of the great qualities of Armagnac made from Baco is its ability to work wonders when trading with oak during the long years of barrel aging, and Charron is a fantastic example of this. This affinity for oak is taken to the next level by the domaine, aging entirely in new barrels, which are left untouched once filled - no topping off and no blending of the vintages during the aging process. This makes their process more akin to Bourbon producers than to almost any other Armagnac producer (the mysterious and lauded Lous Pibous stock being a notable exception). The proprietor, Claude Lartigue, stands apart from the general model of producers in the region, who for the most part have been making Armagnac on their family land for generations. Claude began in the industry buying and selling barrels of Armagnac here and there, before eventually purchasing the Baco vineyards that he produces from today.
This very special 1990 vintage is bold and brawny - an amazing showcase of what the Baco grape can do, even when up against the formidable opponent that is 30 long years in new oak. So while the first impressions on the nose come from the wood, especially leather, cigar box, and allspice, when you give it some time there starts to bloom a floral quality, orange peel, apricot, raspberry, and cream cheese frosting. It seems as excited to meet you as you are it. On the palate, the first thing you notice is the outrageous viscosity. You could be stricken with complete loss of smell and taste and you'd still be able to guess that this liquid is some really old stuff. Not in a heavy liqueur-like way, but in the elegant fashion that you can really only find in spirits at 25+ years. Flavors of walnuts, candied citrus, tart cherry, mild tobacco, clove, vanilla cream, licorice, and crusty, slightly burnt bread. The oak certainly dominates the long finish, with wisps of vanilla surrounding leather and warm spice. Bottled at a cask strength of 47.2% abv.