L'Encantada Lous Pibous 2004 14 Year Armagnac
L'Encantada is an independent bottler that started as a bunch of Armagnac loving friends who decided to do something about the fact that there was so much great undiscovered brandy consistently just being sold to negociants (large non producer houses) to be hidden away in boring, young, watered down blends. So they started offering small estates a premium to retain some of their stock as single barrel, cask strength selections for them to bottle in their natural state, without any additives. They quickly made quite a name for themselves, showcasing impressive vintages from previously unknown estates, true Armagnac nerds' Armagnac.
One of their most successful finds has been the Lous Pibous estate, which has come the closest in America to what could be described as a "cult" Armagnac producer. Generally distilled to a slightly higher proof than other producers and favoring the flavorful Folle Blanche grape, their Armagnacs are great candidates to convince Bourbon drinkers that there is something to this whole brandy thing. The 2004 is no exception, loud and rich and full of aromas of spice and vanilla, it is truly lush. The palate, with notes of orange zest, rich toffee, and cinnamon and clove further the comparison to American whiskey, but the complex finish of walnuts and cedar stick the landing firmly in Armagnac territory.