Calvados in many ways represents the heart of France. A product that has been made for centuries and took over from wine when the great phylloxera outbreak happened in the late 1800′s. There are over 200 varieties of apples used to make Calvados. Firstly though, the apples are pressed into cider, then fermented. At this point it is distilled and aged for at least two years in oak barrels. In 1942, Calvados became AOC under the name “Calvados Pays d’Auge”.Manoir D’Apreval is a beautiful estate located in the heart of the Côte de Grâce. In 1998, almost two thousand apple tress were newly planted, representing seventeen different varieties. All of the farming is done organically.Pommeau (34 proof)
Visual: Rich dark brown.
Nose: Lots of apple with a slight cider vinegar note.
Taste: Sweet, rustic and with a chewy mouthfeel.
Finish: Fresh baked apple flavors with a medium amount of sugar remains quite long. At the very end, you’re fooled into thinking you’ve just eaten an apple pie slice.
Overall: Quite drinkable and perfect for a light meal.
GSN Rating: BCalvados Blanche +3 yrs (80 proof)
Visual: Very pale gold.
Nose: Faint apple tones.
Taste: Young and slightly bitter with woodiness.
Finish: A bit thin and mild. The lasting impression is of a slightly fiery eau de vie.
Overall: A decent young Calvados good for adding some punch to a cocktail or as the base for an autumnal beverage.
GSN Rating: B-Calvados Reserve +5 yrs (84 proof)
Visual: Light golden-yellow.
Nose: Somewhat delicate and reticent, almost apple blossom-like.
Taste: Bright wood notes are somewhat tempered by hints of caramel and vanilla. The apple comes through quite clearly and makes for a hearty sipper on a cold night.
Finish: Dry and fairly short. There is a sense of the whole apple here, from seed to skin and flavorful fruit.
Overall: Akin to applejack and yet with an unmistakable French character. Perfect for use in cocktails highlighting the juicy apple character.
GSN Rating: B+Calvados XO (84 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Bright and obvious apple.
Taste: Intense and rustic with a lot of the apple character still making its presence known.
Finish: Long and apple driven with spicy elements popping out now and again. But, make no mistake, this highlights the fruit and not the cask aging.
Overall: Another good Calvados to use in a cocktail, or as an adjunct in an apple dessert. This would be killer used in whipped cream.
GSN Rating: B+Calvados Grande Reserve (84 proof)
Visual: Pale gold.
Nose: Warm, mellow and with a deep baked apple scent.
Taste: Very smooth and creamy with a crisp bite at the end. Fine, elegant and a fantastic sipper.
Finish: Again, a smooth creaminess permeates the experience. Lovely.
Overall: Very nice indeed. Excellent rendition of the art.
GSN Rating: ACuvee Victor +30 yrs (82 proof)
Visual: Deep maple syrup brown.
Nose: Rich, tempting notes of cinnamon baked apple.
Taste: Light and crisp, with a lot of dry apple notes. Almost sherry-like in character. Quite feminine.
Finish: Brief and with wisps of green apple that make several appearances.
Overall: Very smooth and well-balanced.
GSN Rating: B+Cuvee Gustave +40 yrs (82 proof)
Visual: Dark chocolatey brown.
Nose: Caramel and just the slightest hint of apple fruit.
Taste: Quite rich, with a lot more caramel woodiness than the 30-year-old. Almost dessert-like with an intense mid-range that is chewy. The apple plays a secondary role here, with the age of the distillation transforming it into dessert in a glass.
Finish: Medium with lasting note of a strong reduction of apple and caramel.
Overall: Unique and memorable. A real treat for Calvados enthusiasts.
GSN Rating: A
Brut de Fut 1967 (102 proof)
Visual: Warm golden brown.
Nose: Lots of high, crisp, spicy notes.
Taste: Despite the age and high-proof, this has a lot of the character of a young Calvados. The apple is quite apparent and fresh tasting. The spice comes through as pepper and there is a palpable salinity too, making for an interesting contrast to the fruit.
Finish: Fairly long, but with the spice quickly fading while the apple remains.
Overall: Another surprise here. I like this a lot and would pull it out once a decade as a celebratory libation. Quite a testament to the longevity and variety of apple brandies.
GSN Rating: A