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White Armagnac


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#1 Rafa

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:16 AM

Has anyone mixed with this stuff? 

I first read about blanche Armagnac in an article in the NY Times by Toby Cecchini about the relatively new A.O.C.: 


Quote

[Y]ounger Armagnacs have traditionally been ungainly, while the older ones, properly hitting stride only after 20 years and up to 60, are predictably dear, foolhardy to consider using in cocktails. The Blanche is produced in a slightly different manner, brought to a higher strength, which results in a cleaner, more rectified spirit. Still, no one’s going to mistake it for vodka; this is a fat, round spirit that billows with flowers and fruit, impetuous youth distilled. Other white spirits made from grape include grappa and marc, which use the spent skins of pressed wine grapes, hence are lean and tannic, or pisco, the white grape brandy from Peru or Chile, which varies widely in its different origins, but seldom approaches the full-throated, floral headiness of Blanche Armagnac.

 

My interest piqued (a new category with a history behind it?) by this article and by my own growing interest in Armagnac, I bought myself a bottle of the Delord blanche, both because it is very highly reviewed and because, well, it was the cheapest one available. 

I've found the Delord to be an exceptionally flavorful white spirit, medium-bodied and smooth enough to belie its age (smoother than many much older Armagnacs, in fact), with floral aromas and a fruity lingering taste that suggests grapes and pears and elderberries and something I can't quite put my finger on. It reminds me in body and aromas of some flavorful/floral white rums like El Dorado 3 or Flor de Cana, but underlain with an undeniable brandy character. It's good sipping, but it really shines in cocktails, whether lightening recipes that call for aged brandies or subbing ably for Pisco. (One unfortunate exception: I'm afraid I can't agree with Mr. Cecchini's wife that it makes an irresistible Pisco Sour, but I've never been particularly taken with that drink, so ymmv.) It mixes well with other spirits, too: it adds bouquet and elegance to a Pieces of Eight when spliced with rum, and an ounce of it mixed with Tanqueray makes the best Ramos Fizz I've yet had.   


Light, crisp, aromatic, easy-mixing, pedigreed, and fairly priced, easy to substitute into a variety of old recipes and friendly enough to suggest new ones, blanche d'Armagnac seems like it should be really popular with cocktail blogs and bars. Which is why I'm so surprised that it seemingly isn't. I've found very few mentions of it in blogs and only a few recipes built around it, namely the Andorra from the NYT article, PDT's Carte Blanche, and the dessert cocktail Melkor's Ghost from The Vault at Pfaff's, where the spirit's smothered under creme de banane and creme de cacao and plain old creme.  New and worthwhile spirits aren't exactly thick on the ground, nor are spirit categories usually just waiting around for enterprising mixologists to think up signature cocktails for them. Has anyone here worked with or had blanche? Currently I'm working on a drink I'm calling the DuBois (after that other Blanche) with Aveze and Chartreuse Elixer Vegetal which is sort of a very loose riff on a Sazerac. 


Edited by Rafa, 22 February 2013 - 08:07 AM.

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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#2 Syzygies

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:28 AM

My interest piqued (a new category with a history behind it?) by this article and by my own growing interest in Armagnac, I bought myself a bottle of the Delord blanche, both because it is very highly reviewed and because, well, it was the cheapest one available.

 

For $13 more, same site, is my choice for (conventional) cooking armagnac: http://www.drinkupny...nac_p/s0441.htm

 

I wouldn't cook with anything I wouldn't drink, and this armagnac is very, very good for the price. I know of no comparable deal.


Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"
Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

#3 Rafa

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:38 AM

 

My interest piqued (a new category with a history behind it?) by this article and by my own growing interest in Armagnac, I bought myself a bottle of the Delord blanche, both because it is very highly reviewed and because, well, it was the cheapest one available.

 

For $13 more, same site, is my choice for (conventional) cooking armagnac: http://www.drinkupny...nac_p/s0441.htm

 

I wouldn't cook with anything I wouldn't drink, and this armagnac is very, very good for the price. I know of no comparable deal.

 

Thanks for the tip. I'll have to try that one. What kind of cooking do you do with Armagnac? The Marie Duffau Napoleon and Laubade VSOP are both good aged Armagnacs in that general price range. 


DrunkLab.tumblr.com

 

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937


#4 Syzygies

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:45 PM

What kind of cooking do you do with Armagnac? 

 

Well, I prefer armagnac to brandy or cognac or bourbon, in any recipe that calls for a bit of brown liquor. Making a quick sauce while deglazing a pan. There's a stage in French stews.

 

While I prefer authentic regional sources, i also grind my own flour, and the "King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking" has well-tested recipes that work. This morning's breakfast was a few crepes with smoked salmon, capers, green onions and creme fraiche (idea from Paul Bertolli's Chez Panisse cookbook) and the KA crepe batter recipe (I ground equal parts red winter wheat, farro, and buckwheat) called for some brandy. The dessert version that they intended called for more brandy with the apples. (There, I'd often use calvados, and I usually wonder if a recipe fails to call for calvados because it assumes that the reader has never heard of it.)


Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"
Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

#5 Rafa

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 09:09 AM

Here's a(n extremely) loosely Sazerac-based original: 

 

DuBois

 

2 1/2 oz Delord Armagnac blanche

   1/2 oz Laubade Floc de Gascogne

      1 dash Salers gentian liqueur

      1 dash Vieux Carre absinthe

Stir, strain, up. Drop one white grape into coupe. 

 

Floc de Gascogne is like Armagnac-based Pineau des Charentes, a barrel-aged blend of unfermented grape must with a young brandy from the same grapes. It's cheap and delicious, both on its own (as a sweetish aperitif or as dessert) and in cocktails.


DrunkLab.tumblr.com

 

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937