Bastille 1789

Maker: Daucourt , Angoulême, France

Style: Blended (Malt/Wheat) Whisky.

Age: NAS

ABV: 40%

Michigan State Minimum: $27

Thanks to Keith for the sample.

Appearance: Bright gold with thin legs.

Nose: Similar to an Irish whiskey but fruitier. Alcohol, malt, raisins, cherry pie.

Palate: Medium bodied and light. Some burn, malt, sugar plums, dried figs.

Finish: Alcohol burn, cherry juice, then a big weird blast of dried chili chipotle.

Mixed: The Bastille website recommends three cocktails: a manhattan, whisky sour and an old fashioned. The old fashioned was very good. The fruity notes came out without too much of the chipotle. The manhattan was really exceptional. The fruity aromas dovetailed perfectly with the red vermouth. I didn’t try the sour because I was too lazy.

Parting words: My expectations were low coming into this review. I expected it to be boring and flawed. While it wasn’t exactly a barnburner of a whisky, it wasn’t bad and was just different enough to be interesting, at least until the end of the sample bottle. The price is not too bad either. It’s in the same price range as Jameson and it compares favorably to it. It mixes very nicely which is a nice bonus. It won’t knock your socks off but as a curiosity (ever tried a French whisky?), change of pace and mixer it’s worth buying. Bastille 1789 is recommended.

Rémy Martin 1738

Maker: Rémy Martin, Cognac, France (Rémy Cointreau)Remy 1738

Place of origin: Champagne, Cognac, France. (Not to be confused with the winemaking region of the same name).

Age: NAS (minimum 2 y/o )

ABV: 40%

Michigan State Minimum: $50

Appearance: Auburn with thick legs and necklace.

Nose: Fruity. Fresh wine grapes, cardamom, dried blueberries, saffron, ginger.

On the palate: Medium bodied and sweet. Panettone with raisins.

Finish: Golden raisins, hint of oak and alcohol. Fades fairly quickly.

Parting words: I believe this is the first Cognac I have reviewed for the blog, although I did review an Armagnac back in 2012. I decided that I needed to review a Cognac when I recently purchased a bourbon finished in a Cognac barrel and I realized I couldn’t pick out any specific Cognac influenced aromas or tastes.

For those who may not be familiar with Cognac, it’s a French brandy made from white wine made from grapes grown in and around the city of Cognac in western France, north of Bordeaux. There are six subregions within the Cognac zone: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bon Bois and Bois Ordinaire. Rémy Martin 1738 is a Champagne Cognac, meaning it was made with a blend of grapes from both Grande and Petite Champagne. According to the Rémy Martin website, it is composed of 65% Grande and 35% Petite. Cognac is distilled in an old style of pot still called an alembic still and must be aged for a minimum of two years in French oak before being sold. The grapes used to produce the wine used to produce Cognac are typically wines that don’t drink very well. Ugni Blanc (aka Trebbiano) is one of the primary varietals used

1783 (named for the date of a royal warrant the company was granted) is positioned in the middle of the Rémy Martin range and as such I thought it represented a good place to jump in to the Cognac. I was not disappointed. It contains no age statement or age grade (V.O., V.S.O.P., etc), but strikes what seems to be a good balance between fruity youth and oaky maturity. It’s worth the price, but if you’re still not sure, it is availble in 375 and 200 ml bottles as well. Rémy Martin 1738 is recommended.

Magellan Gin

Maker: ???, France. Imported by Crillon Importers Ltd, Paramus, New Jersey, USAMAg

ABV: 44%

Appearance: Blue, like diluted window cleaning solution.

Nose: Lots of juniper and iris (I’m assuming the other botanical I’m smelling a lot of is iris, given the fact that iris is emphasized on the label). Citrus peel, grains-of-paradise.

On the palate: Full bodied and semi-sweet with a bit of spice on the back end.

Finish: Sweet and spicy, then a little hot.

Mixed: A little brash with tonic, but goes down ok. Very good in a Tom Collins and good in a dry martini.

Parting words:  Magellan is a good gin. It’s a little too aggressive for my tastes, but it does OK mixed, which is what most gin is going to be used for. The cheesy branding and the blue coloring are distractions I could do without. The $30 price tag is also something I could do without. I’m kind of on the fence about this one, but I’ll err on the side of niceness this time and give Magellan Gin a recommendation.