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Jason Perlow

Calvados

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This stuff is not easy to find, but a real treat if you come across it Their Brut de Fut 1974 is beautiful, as is their 5 yr. And almost impossible to uncover, but a real -treat- of treats....they have a blanche calvados which is so much fun to play with in cocktails!

Audrey

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The consistently reliable producers I am aware of include:

Drouhin

Pere Magliore

Busnel

Boulard

The domestic apple brandy from Clear Creek Distillery that Sam recommends has gotten some excellent write ups. I haven't had the pleasure myself, but it seems to get very high marks from those in the know.

I just finished researching Calvados for an article I just turned in. Unfortunately it won't be published until September's issue of Philadelphia Style, and then I have to wait awhile before I can link to it myself. But I'll try to remember to resurrect this thread when I can link to it later.

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Thanks everyone for help. I am planning a visit to the Brandy Library in Tribeca, New York City. They have a mind boggling list of Calvados so this should be interesting:

Adrien Camut

18 years

Reserve de Semainville

Busnel

Hors d'Age

Vieille reserve

Boulard

1977

1979

Grand Solage

Cardinal

15 years

Chateau du Breuil

15 years

Daron

Fine

XO

Domaine de la Vectiere

Grande fine

VSOP

XO 10 years

XO 20 years

Domaine Dupont

Reserve

Lecompte

Originel

5 years

12 Years

Menorval

Prestige

XO

Meslon

Fine

Reserve

Pere Magloire

20 years

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We just discovered The Brandy Library in Tribeca, (I posted recently about it). Great place, and I noticed lots of Calvados. Personally, I chose an eau de vie.

Katie, we're thinking of going to the "Route de Calvados" this Xmas...(we go to a different wine region in France every Xmas)....I know its not wine, but close enough!

Any recommendations, or should I wait for the article?

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We just discovered The Brandy Library in Tribeca, (I posted recently about it). Great place, and I noticed lots of Calvados. Personally, I chose an eau de vie.

Katie, we're thinking of going to the "Route de Calvados" this Xmas...(we go to a different wine region in France every Xmas)....I know its not wine, but close enough!

Any recommendations, or should I wait for the article?

Ooooohhhh! So jealous am I! Sounds like a wonderful trip in the making.

The article is a bit more general (if only they'd send me to France to do the research! :smile:) but the producers I mentioned above are the ones mentioned in the article, both because they're the ones I'm familiar with and because they're the ones available in PA. I'll see if any of my wine geek buddies has any specific suggestions of places to visit though.

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.

we're thinking of going to the "Route de Calvados" this Xmas...(we go to a different wine region in France every Xmas)....I know its not wine, but close enough!

Any recommendations, or should I wait for the article?

This looks like it might be a usefull book about calva

It has an A- Z of producers and a visiting guide.

Dont know if you can get it in the US but Pere Magloire's Calvados Domfrontais is particularly good - made with a mix of cider apples and perry pears.

Sylvain is another reliable mass market producer- widely available in the UK at least.

Gethin

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Oh, my gosh, what a GREAT book!

I have to buy it for our trip!

We always go region by region to France, and explore for a full week or two the process, the terroir, the taste of each place. When we come back, I fully understand what goes into it all, and can talk passionately about, Alsace, Burgundy, Champagne, Rhone, Loire, and lots more....

Now, I can be fully prepped BEFORE we go to Calvados!

How cool!

Thank you, Gethin, and thank you, Katie!

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Oh, my gosh, what a GREAT book!

I have to buy it for our trip!

We always go region by region to France, and explore for a full week or two the process, the terroir, the taste of each place. When we come back, I fully understand what goes into it all, and can talk passionately about, Alsace, Burgundy, Champagne, Rhone, Loire, and lots more....

Now, I can be fully prepped BEFORE we go to Calvados!

How cool!

Thank you, Gethin, and thank you, Katie!

Before you get too excited, I tried to find that book as well, and my understanding is that it isn't being published until this fall. Hopefully you'll have time to get it and read it before your trip. I think you can preorder the book either from the link provided above, or from Amazon, Borders or Barnes & Noble.

A quick Googling (is that a verb?) of CALVADOS should also provide you with some valuable tourist info. And since you read French and I don't, it might be more useful to you than it was for my research. :rolleyes:

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article from Business Week

As so with cognac, opinions differ greatly about the best age for Calvados. Generally, the French -- both the orchard owners and apple pickers -- believe that older makes it better. That thinking is reflected in the prices ...  the younger Calvados has scent and taste notes that should not be dismissed or relegated to the saucepan  ... Although only apple brandy that comes from the Calvados area and wins certification from local authorities can carry the Calvados name, other apple brandies are worth trying. New Jersey-based Laird & Co. ranks as the oldest distiller in the U.S., having sold its apple brandy to George Washington...  Marlene Dietrich once said Calvados and chocolate make an excellent soldier's breakfast.

A highly interesting article ... and I have used Calvados in my cooking ..Nigella's Apple Caramel Calvados Crepes and, of course, simply as a drink ...

How do you use Calvados?

In sweet and/or savory dishes?

Your favorite brand?

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For the sauce in poulet normande; in tarte Tatin, and in frangipane for tarte aux pommes; and together with Pasita and a touch of chile chipotle in a sauce for a roasted pork loin.

Hic!

Theabroma

PS: and always, always for the cook!

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I just used this for the first time yesterday to make Apple Charlottes. Now I have this big bottle that I'll have to find more uses for!

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I just used this for the first time yesterday to make Apple Charlottes.  Now I have this big bottle that I'll have to find more uses for!

Marlene:

Calvados Sidecars!!! Trust me, you won't be sorry.

A nice snifter after dinner slowly warmed in your hands accompanied by good conversation is also high on the list. :smile:

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Host Note: topic split from AppleJack topic.

I'll be interested to try an older Calvados or American Apple Brandy to see how the flavors develop.

IMO they become less and less interesting with age. Several years of age to mellow out the rough edges and add a little color, etc. is good. But beyond a certain point, the apple brandy tastes less and less of apples and more and more of "generic aged spirit." A 15 year old apple brandy doesn't really taste of apples at all, and might as well be a grape brandy.

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I'll be interested to try an older Calvados or American Apple Brandy to see how the flavors develop.

IMO they become less and less interesting with age. Several years of age to mellow out the rough edges and add a little color, etc. is good. But beyond a certain point, the apple brandy tastes less and less of apples and more and more of "generic aged spirit." A 15 year old apple brandy doesn't really taste of apples at all, and might as well be a grape brandy.

I have read before that extended aging does interesting things to Calvados in that 2 years old tastes like apples, 10 year old tastes like barrels, but as it approaches 20 years (or perhaps a little longer) the fruit character comes back out. This alleged phenomenon has fascinated me since I first heard of it. Can anyone confirm or debunk this?

-Andy

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I'll be interested to try an older Calvados or American Apple Brandy to see how the flavors develop.

IMO they become less and less interesting with age. Several years of age to mellow out the rough edges and add a little color, etc. is good. But beyond a certain point, the apple brandy tastes less and less of apples and more and more of "generic aged spirit." A 15 year old apple brandy doesn't really taste of apples at all, and might as well be a grape brandy.

I have read before that extended aging does interesting things to Calvados in that 2 years old tastes like apples, 10 year old tastes like barrels, but as it approaches 20 years (or perhaps a little longer) the fruit character comes back out. This alleged phenomenon has fascinated me since I first heard of it. Can anyone confirm or debunk this?

-Andy

alot of wines supposedly have dorment periods in their aging. i'm not privelaged enough to have explored it... i wonder if it is true for spirits and if that is why the spread of years available on the market seem to jump over gaps...

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I'd say it's true of calvados. I have a bottle of Coeur de Lion 1975 sitting on my bar and the aroma and top-of-the-palate flavors have interesting, albeit subtle, fruit nuances.

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Is there a good Calvados in the $20-30 range for mixing?

What do you bartender types use for cocktails?

Is this Morice Calvados Pays D'Auge considered any good?

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Is there a good Calvados in the $20-30 range for mixing?

What do you bartender types use for cocktails?

Busnel VSOP Caovados is right around that range, and a number of bars I know use it for mixing.

I'd say it's true of calvados. I have a bottle of Coeur de Lion 1975 sitting on my bar and the aroma and top-of-the-palate flavors have interesting, albeit subtle, fruit nuances.

How many years of aging does it have? 30? How would you compare the apple-specific character to, say, 6 year oldf Calvados? I'm also curious as to whether you think you would be able to easily identify that Calvados among a blind sampling of several 30 year old Cognacs and Armagnacs.

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I'd say it's true of calvados. I have a bottle of Coeur de Lion 1975 sitting on my bar and the aroma and top-of-the-palate flavors have interesting, albeit subtle, fruit nuances.

How many years of aging does it have? 30? How would you compare the apple-specific character to, say, 6 year oldf Calvados? I'm also curious as to whether you think you would be able to easily identify that Calvados among a blind sampling of several 30 year old Cognacs and Armagnacs.

About 26 years of aging, and actually, I have "identified that Calvados" [the '77, actually] among a large set of blind tastings at the Brandy Library a couple years back. It's pretty different from younger calvados, which tends to be rougher and lose the fruit to the oak. Armagnacs get a re-manifestation of the fruit flavor at a certain point in the aging curve as well.
Edited by Mayur (log)

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Interesting. I wonder what the chemistry of that is? Could be interesting for a separate topic of discussion.

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alot of wines supposedly have dorment periods in their aging. i'm not privelaged enough to have explored it... i wonder if it is true for spirits and if that is why the spread of years available on the market seem to jump over gaps...

Wines often do have dormant periods in their aging, but that is during bottle aging, whereas this is barrel aging. Spirits, due to their high alcohol content do not evolve appreciably in the bottle, only through contact with wood (or lack thereof). Herbal liqueurs and the like are a different matter altogether, and anyone who has tried making liqueurs at home undoubtedly knows that time helps with integration of flavors, but only to a point (anything over a year is typically moot in my experience). Supposedly one of the reasons Chartreuse is so expensive has to do with the extensive resting needed for the complex flavors to integrate. In that way it is indeed like a wine. The question of being able to pick calvados out of a blind lineup is an interesting one. I wonder if a 10-15 year (or whatever the window is where it would lose its fruit character) one could be selected from a sample group blindly. Obviously this require much painful and ardorous study.

-Andy

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Busnel VSOP Caovados is right around that range, and a number of bars I know use it for mixing.

Seems to be more in the $35-40 range most places, unfortunately. Some things are just a lot cheaper in NYC (e.g., Lagavulin, which is $80 here, $50 there).

I can definately say that Cour de Lion Calvados Christian Drouin ($30) is AWFUL. I got excited when recently NC started selling it and bought a bottle. It is extremely rough and has ruined every drink I've tried it in.

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The calvados I see most often up here for mixing is Le Compte. Never tried it personally, however. The Darron Fine calvados isn't horrible expensive, if I remember correctly. Maybe $25? I don't know how it fares in cocktails vs. other brands.

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Having only tried three different Calvados I can say that he Christian Drouin was also not to my liking, though I might stop short of saying it ruined anything. For about $25/bottle I found the Daron to be quite servicable. The other one I have tried was the La Captive, which as the name suggest, has a captive apple in the bottle. It costs nearly $50/bottle and I found it to be no better than the others for half as much, and closer to the Drouin in character. Luckily it wasn't something I actually paid for. So Daron for me til I find something else to try, but the Drouin does have a cooler looking bottle I think.

-Andy

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