Armagnac: Laoué

Even though we’ve missed a session or two this month (we did catch a cold that made tastings impossible), we wanted to include the compulsory Yak session nevertheless (just in time… phew). And while it feels like we have tasted hundreds of Domaines by now already, the world of Armagnac still has as many that we have yet to discover. Laoué, which is bottled by the amazing L’Encantada, is one of them and thanks to our buddy from we can now finally buy this stuff in Germany!

L’Encantada Laoué 2004 #116 (62,6%): Nose: Lots of pomace, which immediately reminds me of Grappa. We get potatoes and vegetal notes such as cauliflower or eggplant, but also oak, spices, glue, some sugar and caramel. After about ten minutes, it changes its profile and now demonstrates a different, fresher side of sugar, rhubarb, honey, overripe banana and sweet hazelnut cream. To be honest, I have no idea what to think right now, this is totally different juice from what we know; strange, lovely and amazing at the same time. Palate: I hope this will enlighten us! We start with phase one of the nose, namely pomace, potatoes, vegetal notes and oak. Where’s the sugar? Where’s that great phase two? I don’t know, but I am not a fan. There’s this one note that I have a hard time calling out that I just don’t like. Too bad. Finish: Relatively long with that odd note, pomace, potatoes and oak. This is totally interesting stuff, but I am afraid we won’t get along. (70/100)

L’Encantada Laoué 1999 #103 (52,7%): New game, new luck. Nose: Much closer to “traditional” Armagnac than to that weird 2004. Vanilla pudding, spices such as vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, peaches, caramel, sweet Pink Lady and papaya are my associations here and I definitely like it. I mean, what is not to like about that, right!? Palate: Ah, there’s the rancio and a pronounced earthyness. Nose and palate are like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, even though we like both faces. Then a mix of nuts where we get really strong and individual notes of hazelnut, walnut and macadam, caramel, rich bread or pastry and humid notes such as moss or a small stream in the forest. Totally great, even though it reminds me a bit of Cognac. Finish: More of the same, that doesn’t last for too long but that’s not a problem. This is a very high quality sipper that isn’t overly complicated but sufficiently layered. Just what we are looking for most of the time. (87/100)

L’Encantada Laoué 1985 #32 (48,1%): Will we see a third side of the Domaine? Nose: Well, a bit, as the nose follows the pattern of the palate of the 1999. It is just woodier, earthier and drier. I kinda miss those lovely and sweet lighter notes of the 1999 to be honest. Palate: Very woody and slightly bitter, but we still get a very good idea of the distillate. Pastry, olives, tea, multi grain bread, old wood, plums and dates are my associations this time. In direct comparison, it lacks some power, but you definitely wouldn’t notice that if this is your only drink for the night (who really does that!?). The texture is very thick and creamy, with a clear focus on woody notes, however. Finish: Wood, tea, spices, olives and here and there an idea of the fruits of the palate. I kinda like that slight astringency by the way. Good stuff, but my preference is definitely with 1999. (85/100)

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