Water of Life – Baron Otard
When it comes to established distilleries with a long-lasting legacy, Otard ranks high with its two hundred twenty-five-year long history. Founded by Jean-Baptiste Antoine Otard, the nomenclature of Otard’s expressions is an homage to his grandfather, who after fighting within the rank of Louis XIV, was made a baron. As if that is not enough to make for a compelling background story, the family owns the pittoresque Chateau de Cognac, i.e. a veritable castle with its catacombs providing a borderline ideal environment to age cognac in.
The first Baron Otard expression I have been exposed to is the VSOP bottling. Living up to its fulminant history, the drop comes in an elegantly shaped, exquisitely designed decanter, which aesthetically sets the scene for the enjoyment of the drop.
On the nose, sublime fruity aromas dominate with interesting notes of peaches, oranges and interesting spicy streaks.
What materializes on the top of the mouth is a complex, viscous full-bodied melange of tobacco, raisins and oak, accentuated by vanilla highlights, which resonates quite well with me being a whisky aficionado.
The mid-length finish bookends the experience by integrating the aforementioned flavours into a fulminant whole.
Ready to dial things a notch or two up?
While the presentation of the VSOP bottle was already a visual delight, the Baron Otard XO Gold Cognac takes things to the next level with its teardrop shaped design.
With the XO signifying the “extra old” age of the eaux-de-vie that was used to make the blend, with the youngest in this case having a minimum age of seven years. Sourced from mainly the Grande Champagne, Borderies and Fins Bois regions, the whole constituents something bigger than the sum of the individual components would suggest:
What tickles the nostrils is an exercise par excellence in an expertly blended melange of floral, honeyed and nutty notes, backed by delicate hints of old leather, prunes and cedarwood, which in some aspects I find it reminiscent of fortified wines.
On the palate, honey and acacia flavours fully unfold their magic, based on a foundation of juicy plums, blackcurrant and figs, which is delicately counterbalanced by hints of grilled almonds.
Calling the finish elongated would be an understatement as the crescendo of brown sugary butterscotch flavours are amplified by hints of dark chocolate.
Given the exquisiteness of both Baron Otard’s VSOP and the XO Gold expressions, a visit to the distillery will be mandatory once travel restrictions ease.