Review: Les Sables Fauves Hors d’Age Selection Laberdolive Bas-Armagnac by Jason Hambrey

Hors D'Age (>6 years)
Distilled from wine from Baco, Colombard, Folle Blanche, and Ugni blanc
Distiller Laberdolive (Landes, France)

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the bottle (which I quite like), but a picture of what it looks like can be found here. Laberdolive has produced spirits since 1866, from wines produced on the land of Les Sables Fauves. Though officially "Hors d'Age" is an equivalent age designation to the "XO" requirement of 6 years, it means "beyond age" and is the highest designation of Armagnac, typically composed of stocks much older than 6 years (e.g. 20+).

It's actually quite the artisinal process: each grape is made into wine and distilled and aged separately in barrels made from oak on the property. The brandies are then bottled without dilution. It's a spirit with true grape to glass story, and a spirit with as much a sense of terrior as you could get.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

What a nose! Rich dried fruits and oak, with lots of brilliant rancio. Caramel, toffee, oak, prunes, figs, vanilla, raw almonds, raisin, white pepper, cardamom, red grape tannin, nutmeg, dried blueberry…and I could keep going. Very impressed. The palate is lightly acidic, with lots of oak showing, rancio, orange peel, lemon peel, raw almonds, rancio, dates, oak – the finish is extremely complex with all of the elements playing through. Terrific spices, too – cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Based on the nose, I hoped for a bit more on the palate – but this is still absolutely terrific stuff.

Assessment: Very Highly Recommended.

Value: Low. It’s $100 for 500 mls in Quebec, a bit high, despite how much I like the stuff.