Maker: Claque Pépin, Écouché-les-Vallées (formery Serans), Orne, France. (Benoit Louvet, owner)
Region: Calvados AOC, Normandy, France.
Age: NAS (around 6 y/o according to the Heavenly Spirits website)
Purchased for $41 (Vine & Table)
Michigan state minimum: $47
Appearance: Medium copper.
Nose: Caramel apple, bouquet garni.
Palate: Full bodied and silky. Caramel, apple juice, wood, cassia.
Finish: Spicy and juicy.
Parting words: Claque Pépin Vieille Réserve is, according to the aforementioned Heavenly Spirits website, the first certified organic Calvados available in the US. Claque Pépin, named after a French heirloom apple variety, is not a very old company by Calvados standards, but owner Benoit Louvet worked in the industry for many years before starting his own cidery and distillery in 2005, and his family has roots in the area.
Overall this is a very pleasant Calvados. It’s simultaneously full-bodied and delicate, bold and elegant. It lacks the depth of older brandies, but there’s more than enough flavor to make up for that. It stands out vs the big VSOPs like Bushnel and Coquerel and the price is competitive. The fact that it’s organic and from a small producer are added bonuses. I really like this Calavados.
Claque Pépin Vieille Réserve Organic is recommended.