The Cognac Show 2018: Delamain

  • Delamain are bottlers, not distillers. Typical of the small independents, Delamain bottle in a year what Hennessy produce in a day.
  • Age-wise, “The Delamain range starts where others end” – at around 25yo.
  • They use really really old Cognac that’s fallen below 40% to reduce their blends down to 40% abv. Using around 15%>40% Cognac, their reducing process takes around 18 months.
  • Their blends are then married for around two years.

 

Delamain XO Pale & Dry Ob. Grande Champagne 40% Distiller90 CO4/5

Cognac Show Delamain XO Pale and dry.jpg

A Grande Champagne blend averaging around 25 years in age.

  • C: It’s in the name. Lacking richness and body, the minimum bottling strength telling, this was initially underwhelming. But as time went by I became enchanted by its soft  whispering spell. In context of the older offerings in the Delamain range, this is competitively priced. Online from £70, though many are asking nearer £100, I simply had to buy a bottle

Scores 84 points

 

Here’s a novel flavour profile approach for the XO Pale & Dry, from distiller.com:

Cognac Show Delamain XO Pale and dry taste profile.png

 

Delamain XO Vesper Ob. Grande Champagne 40% WF85

Cognac Show Delamain XO Vesper.jpg

Around 35 years old.

  • N: Richer than the Pale & Dry,..
  • T: .., and broader, though less gainly.
  • F: Gentle sweet chalky fungal finish.
  • C: The younger, richer, fresher Cognacs I tried at the show hadn’t noticeably suffered from a 40% bottling strength, but these creaking XO oldies require some support.

Scores 82 points

 

Delamain Tres Venerable Ob. Grande Champagne 40%

Cognac Show Delamain Tres venerable.jpg

This I’m told is 40-45yo juice with an abv of 45%, reduced to 40%, again using weaker Cognac. Let’s hope this practise suits the Tres Venerable a little better than it did for the XO’s.

  • N: Malty-like and fruity-fungal, here’s an oldie still with a spring in its step.
  • T: A little pokey & oaky with chalk, char & popcorn and a waxy-oily chew. The abv is probably right here. A higher strength might have made it even more pokey otherwise.
  • F: I only noted that I found it grape-y-winey & char-y, but there was plenty more action besides.
  • C: Really, I needed an hour with this. It comes in at £330 [May 2018].

Provisionally scores 85

 

Delamain Extra Ob. Grande Champagne 40%

Cognac Show Delamain Extra Grande champagne.jpg

More really old Cognac, 40-50 years I’m told. The ambassador gave this one a big thumbs up.

  • N: Thumbs up indeed. Fruity [Mirabelle plums, gala melon>pear>ripe apple]>waxy>fungal,… this one knocks the previous Delamain’s out of the park.
  • T: For me, fruity~fungal par excellence.
  • F: Ashy fruity>fungal. Ideal once again.
  • C: Without any strength issues whatsoever, this is finely balanced and effortlessly consolidated extra-mature Cognac with rancio undertones. A cracker to finish, with thanks to Hugh.

Scores 88 points

 

Further reading:

 

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Cognac Show entrance banner reduced

AND OF THE SHOW ITSELF?

The first of its kind, The Cognac Show was beautifully executed by Sukhinder Singh and TWE team. Set in the exquisite grand old, relaxed, cosy & comfortable Bloomsbury House in central London, visitors experienced a fine array of exhibitors, masterclasses and quality Cognac. With just the right numbers for this fitting venue, the show offered a golden opportunity for people like myself, from different drinks backgrounds/experiences, to become acquainted with Cognac, its processes and some of the people behind the products.

I learned a great deal, my appreciation & respect for Cognac increased exponentially and I even bought a bottle! I only wish I had also visited Vallein-Tercinier. Next year!

With so many Cognac houses in operation [‘over 300 houses and close to 600 direct vendors & a few co-ops‘ – cognac.fr], I expect The Cognac Show to grow and flourish. I do hope it returns to London year on year, and hopefully, with Darroze making an appearance. Bravo!

 

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