For many, Calvados is just a mysterious noun that mildly seasons the French-brandies section of spirits appreciation courses. Indifference might soon turn to excitement though, as a range of premium calvadoses becomes available to the UK on-trade.
Following the success of 30&40's Eau-de-Vie, Double Jus, and Calvados Extra Old 10yo, the independent French bottler has released its first series of limited-edition single casks.
The 3yo Pays d’Auge Ferme des Parquets manages to achieve elegance, while retaining a colloquial rustic character, with lots of lemon peel, mineral flavours and a delicate smoky note.
The 15yo Garnier comes from a six-generation distillery near the town of Tinchebray-Bocage and reveals itself to be more precise and focussed, with aromas of candied and dried fruit, vanilla, honey, white flowers, and darker mocha-like undertones.
The 25yo Michel Huard has a much darker character to it, with toast, vanilla, black cherries, plums and winter spices aromas, as well as a confident balsamic note that lead to a full, concentrated palate.
The company's focus on terroir expression means it only deals with calvados fermier, ie spirits made by a single farmer, from growing and harvesting to distillation and maturation.
‘While looking for the calvados we intend to use for blending, sometimes we find special casks that taste great – those deserve to be bottled unblended,' said 30&40 co-founder Vincent Béjot.
Currently, the only official AOCs are Calvados, the largest catch-all appellation that accounts for over 80% of total production, and the smaller Calvados Pays d’Auge and Domfrontais. However, according to Béjot, these are not sufficient to show typicity.
'Before the '80s, there were 11 different appellations that showed how diverse calvados can be,' Béjot said. 'So many things have an impact on the final taste, like geology, climate and apple variety.’
30&40 is planning to release limited editions on a regular basis, with at least three coming to the UK within the next year.
Prices from £34-£119, 30&40, firstname.lastname@example.org