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Thank you Jason Wilson and Vinous Magazine for so many great ratings of our Calvados !

Tasting Notes and Ratings Vinous

Christian Drouin Vintage 1995

97 / 100

This 21-year-old (bottled in 2016) was finished for one year in a port cask. This is a powerful, intense Calvados with lots of spice notes like cardamom, nutmeg, and star anise. In the mouth, it's rich and dense, with serious structure and flavors of mulled cider, and lots of green, crisp apple peel. This is definitely a vintage to watch and follow how it develops in future bottlings. (AOC Pays d'Auge, 42% abv.)

-- Jason Wilson

Christian Drouin Vintage 1993

98 / 100

This 23-year-old (bottled in 2016) was finished in Sauternes casks from Château Giraud. Copper colored, the initial aromas are of a beautiful meadow, wildflowers and grass, opening up to ripe apricot and honeysuckle. While the nose is delicate, in the mouth comes the traditional richness and boldness of warm apple pie, nutmeg, cardamom. But it's the texture that provides a thrilling tension of nectar-like viscosity, freshness, and precise structure. It perhaps goes without saying that the finish lingers on the palate for hours. (AOC Pays d'Auge, 42% abv.)

--Jason Wilson

Christian Drouin Vintage 1990

96 / 100

This vintage was finished in Cognac cask, but it still presents as even more traditional than others. At 26 years old (bottled in 2016), this amber-colored brandy veered toward the dessert side of Calvados - rich apple pie, brioche, almond paste. In the mouth, it's unctuous and expansive. (AOC Pays d'Auge, 42% abv.)

-- Jason Wilson

Christian Drouin Vintage 1986


98 /100

I tasted this vintage - which was finished in a Muscat de Rivesaltes cask - twice for the report: a 29-year-old version bottled in 2015 and a 31-year-old version bottled in 2017. At 29 years, there were some vaguely tropical flower and rainforest notes on the nose. But at 31 years, those aromas had changed into lychee fruit, exotic wood, and autumnal forest. Both were full bodied on the palate, with white pepper, clove, and tobacco, and both still were redolent of fresh-cut apple peel on the finish. The biggest difference that three years made was that the 2017 bottling had much deeper rancio notes of antique furniture varnish and cigar box. In both cases, absolutely stunning Calvados. (AOC Pays d'Auge, 42% abv.)

-- Jason Wilson

Christian Drouin Vintage 1973

97 /100

Probably too pricey to put in a flask and drink by the campfire, but this 42-year-old, bottled in 2015, brings the campfire to you. Smoky and austere at first, with aromas of charred apple and fallen leaves, and dark, grilled-walnut rancio notes. On the midpalate there is a wave of juicy acidity, carrying fresh ripe apple flavors through the long finish. Complex and super drinkable for such an old brandy. (AOC Pays d'Auge, 42% abv.)

-- Jason Wilson

Christian Drouin Vintage 1963

99 / 100

I've tasted this vintage in a number of bottlings over the past decade, but this one, 54 years old and bottled in 2017, was the finest Calvados I tasted for this report. This deep amber spirit is the one of the strangest, most complex spirits I've ever encountered. There are aromas and flavors of both forest and patisserie - butterscotch, pine, mushroom, chocolate, exotic spices. At the heart, however, there is the feeling on the midpalate of biting into the perfect homemade apple tart, which lingers through the miles-long finish. After my last tasting, Christian Drouin himself told me that he'd almost made the decision to destroy this vintage in the 1990s because it had become so undrinkable - a testament to how profoundly the aging process transforms spirits. (AOC Calvados, 42% abv.)

-- Jason Wilson

Christian Drouin Vintage 1939

96 / 100

Does it really matter if I tell you that the flavors and aromas here are ancient, delicate, smoky, endlessly expansive, full of rancio, and impossible to wrap one's mind around? The last bottling of this happened in 1986, at 47 years old, and there are now only a handful of bottles left in existence. It predates the AOC, and is the only Calvados that's been certified from before the German occupation of the Second World War (that's mainly because whatever the Germans didn't destroy, they drank.) This spirit is a time capsule.

-- Jason Wilson

Calvados Christian Drouin Selection

93 / 100

This young Calvados from Christian Drouin is made from a blend of 70% apple and 30% pear and is produced outside Pays d'Auge in a column still. A delightfully drinkable and balanced young brandy, greenish-yellow in color, with bright pear jam and honeysuckle on the nose. In the mouth, it's intense and juicy, like biting into fresh fruit, with flavors of pear tart, on the midpalate and a spicy, peppercorn finish. For the price, it can be enjoyed neat or in cocktails. (AOC Calvados, 40% abv.)

-- Jason Wilson

Calvados Christian Drouin VSOP

94 /100

Blended from five-to-ten-year-old brandies, Drouin's "Pale & Dry" expression is light gold in color. This is another great example that shows older isn't necessarily better. Pretty and surprisingly complex nose, with notes of apple peel, maple syrup, almond paste and citrus blossom. Rich and unctuous in the mouth, with flavors of tarte tatin, salted butterscotch, and baked pear, balanced by cardamom and licorice. (AOC Pays d'Auge 40% abv.)

-- Jason Wilson

Calvados Christian Drouin XO

95 / 100

Aged eight to 14 years, this is one of Pays d'Auge's benchmark XO blends. Honey-colored, with complex aromas of apple blossom, ripe pear, nutmeg, almond, and a hint of saline. On the palate, very light on its feet, with swirling baking spice balanced by fleshy fruit, a smoky note of fire-grilled apple as it moves to the midpalate, then a long finish of tarte tatin. Lots of complexity for the age and price. (AOC Pays d'Auge, 40% abv.)

-- Jason Wilson

Calvados Christian Drouin Hors d'Age

94 / 100

This is a blend of 15-to-18-year-old brandies aged in smaller casks. The result is big and full bodied, but not lacking in finesse; sort of like that portly guy who, once he hits the dance floor, shows off some surprisingly nimble moves. Golden in color, and swirling with flavors and aromas of apple peel and fleshy fruit, balanced by a bit of coffee and cocoa, and a hint of cigar box. Great texture, a chalky minerality and refreshing note of orange zest on the finish. (AOC Pays d'Auge, 42% abv.)

-- Jason Wilson

Calvados Christian Drouin 25 Years Old

93 / 100

Blends of this age are sometimes disappointing "tweeners," but Drouin's 25-year-old manages to deliver a lovely, if pricey, spirit. The color of a bright copper penny, there's a loud, expressive nose of spices and fresh herbs swirling around apple strudel, with hints of smoke and rancio. Very spicy on the palate, balanced somewhat by sweeter flavors of cherry pit, almond paste, and apple pastry, which carries through the fiery finish. This is a rye whiskey drinker's Calvados. (AOC Pays d'Auge, 42% abv.)

-- Jason Wilson

Calvados Christian Drouin Pomme Prisonnière

85 / 100

Bottled with a whole apple inside (the "imprisoned" apple), it's more of a wink or gimmick rather than one of Drouin's signature blends. Despite the imprisoned apple, the brandy is very simple. Straw colored, with glazed apple pastry and baked pear on the nose, as well as some heat. In the mouth, easy drinking, but the finish has some astringent, stemmy notes on the finish. A novelty product. (AOC Pays d'Auge 40% abv.)

-- Jason Wilson


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