Review: Marie Duffau Napolean Bas Armagnac / by Jason Hambrey

>10 years
Distilled from Wine from Colombard, Folle Blanche, and Ugni blanc
Distiller Marie Duffau (Bas-Armagnac, France)

The highest selling Armagnac in the USA. According to the back label, Prosper Delord (born 1975) started the company . He gained a reputation for his dedication and expertise by carting his traveling pot out to the farms in the Bas Armagnac region. He married Marie Duffau and in 1925 they officially founded company with son Gaston. Today, they own 35 hectares of vineyard in the heart of Bas Armagnac – and the company is run by their great grandsons. The armagnac is produced from a single distilling process and matured in a combination of limousine and gascon oak. While not directly stated, natural colour is implied for this product (i.e. no caramel coloring added to product).

Review (2016)

Batch: N/A

Bottling Code: N/A

Bottling Date: ~2016

It smells a bit immature on the nose. It has some spicy, peppery notes, caramel, and some interesting fruit – dates, mainly and some vanilla.  The palate continues on, a bit dry, with those spicy peppery notes (it is in some ways akin to tequila), the lightest touch of caramel, and light raisin. It’s ok…nothing special. The tannins from the oak are present, and linger on to the finish. The finish is woody, with typical spices of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg and a touch of bitterness.

You can do a lot better with Armagnac. But, if you have a bottle, and need something to do with it - put 2 vanilla beans (each sliced in half lengthways) in the bottle and leave for a month, and then this will work magic in cocktails...

Value: Low. It isn’t that expensive in the world of spirits (~$50), but I don’t really like the stuff, so I can’t say it’s value heavy.