- 118.4 Proof
- 12 yrs.
Thanks to a good friend of mine who introduced me to the spirit, I've found a love for well-aged (or even moderately aged) Armagnacs. I've come to love the nutty and fruity tones I find in them, not to mention their general availability and reasonable prices given that Armagnac just hasn't seen the boom that bourbon has.
As a result, I've been gravitating towards Armagnac and even Cognac finished whiskeys. In fact, I had a High West Double Rye! finished in Armagnac barrels that was delicious!! So, when the Bardstown Chateau de Laubade finished bourbon came out, I was certainly intrigued. When I finally got the chance to check out the label, and I was able to immediately learn that this was 12 year barrel strength MGP that was then finished in Armagnac barrels, I knew I was buying one. And, as odd as it may seem, given the market, that price for a 12-year barrel strength MGP bourbon is probably right in line with where it should be.
Even starting with the nose, this was an incredibly interesting, complex and even fun bourbon. The nose was full of dark fruits, and I got a lot of plum and even sweet raisin. It had a graham cracker pie crust note to it as well, along with some anise to spice it up a bit. This was all over a layer of vanilla and brown sugar that only added to the rich sweetness. It smelled like a fresh baked pie!
As to the flavor, it's worth noting that to things came on strong right away -- the heat and the Armagnac influence. Both were quite alright with me, though! The rich sweetness from the nose was certainly front and center, as I was immediately hit with strong notes of molasses and raisin. It had that healthy dose of vanilla right up front as well, which lasted from the beginning through to the finish.
The fruit notes were absolutely prevalent. I was getting dark cherry notes, as well as some baked pear and even baked apple cinnamon notes. That cinnamon provided a nice spice to counter the sweetness from the fruit notes and the molasses flavor.
It had a brighter note to it as well, kind of like apricot. That apricot note seemed to be tempered a bit, however, by a rich nutty note, somewhere between an almond and a cashew. The more I made my way through this bottle, the more that nutty note came through.
All in all, this was an absolutely fantastic pour. It was interesting, full of flavor, not too sweet with a light amount of spice, and full bodied. It packed a punch with the heat, but that didn't get in the way for too long, and the later pours were significantly less hot. Despite the price, this was an amazing finished bourbon and well worth it! I hope Bardstown keeps playing around with finishes the way they've been doing, because this was one the more "fun" whiskeys I've had in a long time.