Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Navarre Cognac Vieille Reserve 45%
I could talk about the producer of this bottle, Jacky Navarre, and provide details on this post…but it’d just be a regurgitation from the importer’s website. See, this bottle was imported by PM Spirits and they are incredibly transparent about their bottlings (at least when NDAs don’t cripple the amount of information they can provide, I imagine).
PM Spirits is based in Brooklyn, NY, and I’d say they are arguably one of the most hipsteresque booze companies around (beyond being based in Brooklyn). I also say that in the most endearing sense – you can thank hipsters for some of the more amazing food, coffee, beer, art, and rock music triggering your senses these days.
I’ve read quite a bit about PM Spirits; there is definitely no dearth of coverage. A mere googling will cause you to stumble onto articles boasting about the owners, Nicolas Palazzi and Alexander Rainer, and their uncanny ability to sniff out unique and delicious booze across the globe. From my palate’s perspective, the articles are pretty accurate. I’ve tried a few offerings from PM Spirits and their preternatural ability of identifying unique and tasty booze was on full display with each bottle. I absolutely adored the Eric Bordelet 18 year calvados they imported (review incoming by the way) and thought the Palazzi cask strength rum was definitely worth snagging. My buddy who owns a snazzy wine shop just recently tried some Rochelt schnapps, also imported by PM Spirits and directly linked to Alexander Rainer's family, and he just gushed about how delicious it was. I know it's stupid expensive at around ~$250, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to try some.
Like a lot of the cognac I've bought, the Navarre cognac was a impulse purchase. It’s a blend of 40-50 year old cognac, non-chill filtered, not colored, not boised…just raw, from-the-cask cognac (maybe a little water). It's only released every couple years and there is not a ton out there. So, how is it?
Nose: tropical fruits galore...Guava, papaya, mango, citrus, pineapple...some light flower petals, too
Palate: the tropical fruits and citrus translate but with kiwi, too...coconut milk, honeysuckle, and a little cocoa powder.
Finish: fantastically long and fruity, rich, delicious
When I first opened this bottle it was good but not nearly as good as it is now with probably 1/5th left. I remember it having some grassy and herbal notes, as well as being a little spicier and having some Indian cooking spice notes, like cumin. At that time I'd probably give it a B plus. But right now, this thing has evolved into a tropical fruit bomb that is on the level of the LMDW Voyer, and its drinking like an A. It's right up there with the 73/75 independent Speysiders that I adore...but 200 bucks cheaper.
So I'm going to split the difference and give it an official A minus, but, if this is any indication on whether I like this, I'll definitely be buying another bottle of the Navarre.
Grade: A minus
A few quick notes. Being a hipster company, PM Spirits is really good with their social media presence and I highly recommend checking out their Instagram. Also, if you care more about what's IN the bottle than whats on the label or the potential flip value, I'd say imports by PM Spirits are a pretty safe bet. When I'm out combing liquor stores, I feel like I always stumble on something interesting from Palazzi. Every time I take a chance and buy one of his bottles, I end up feeling rewarded for the purchase just by opening the bottle.