Review: BOULARD XO – #43 hit

Founded by Pierre-August Boulard back in 1825, calvados Boulard has been running in the family business for five generations. It is now the biggest producer, in terms of volume, as well as the biggest exporter (approx. 80%) and has around 31% of the U.S. Ccalvados-boulardalvados market. Claiming the title of Best Brandy and Best Calvados in the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this apple brandy has much to live up to.

Wonderful! It is much less aggressive than Grand Solage with its smooth caramel like entry. Baked apples are everywhere and yet appearances of both oaky dried fruit and grilled almonds are neatly keeping the mature apple flavor at bay. It is far from a harsh drink and has great complexity with its touch of spices and dried fruits. Compared to Grand Solage it is much darker/roasted in taste which I really like. Without a doubt a gold medal, or two, worthy.

VERDICT: No wonder why it has about third of the U.S. market, this is Calvados at its best. Good complexity, smooth, dark and not to forget those deliciously baked apples.

  (8.5/10)

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Review: BOULARD Grand Solage – #26 hit

Boulard Grand Solage is most commonly seen at a cheap price (around 20 bucks) in the tax free section in airports and border-shops. This doesn’t exactly inspire high value if you ask me. Still something I’ve learned throughout the years is that price and quality don’t always go hand in hand. Naturally I had to give this one a try. I am glad I did!

Originating from Normandy’s high-quality Pays d’Auge region this Calvados is produced from a blend oboulard grand solagef Calvados varieties from the Pays d’Auge of which the age varies from 2 to 5 years. Despite its young age it manages to keep up appearance as a mature and smooth apple brandy. There is little complexity – in contrast to Boulard XO – but very noticeable notes of ripe apples. Because it is not as heavy as Boulard XO it doesn’t lose your interest, not even after several drinks.

VERDICT: Considering its young age and the cheap price Boulard Grand Solage is a real bargain. The delicious taste of green ripe apples far outweighs its shortcomings. If you are new to apple brandy I think this is an excellent first choice (For what it is worth Grand Solage was the one who triggered my obsession with Calva).

  (8.2/10)

Review: LE PÉRE JULES 3yo – #27 hit

Decomposing apples! That is the best way to describe the taste of this very young Calvados. It has the most ucalvados-le-pere-jules-3-ans-d-agenrefined taste I’ve ever come across. Still I say this with utmost admiration. I love it. None of my friends like it and I’ve noticed that it is not getting much praise on the web either. However, apart from being rather harsh I see no reasons to dislike it. There are very heavy notes of apples in there, not green apples but more like rotting apples. Rotting apples sounds pretty awful but I only use the words in lack of a better description. I guess it would be more fitting to compare the taste to roasted brown apples (if they existed). Regarding the alcoholic punch it is true this is not Baileys you are drinking. This is not always a bad thing though. Sometimes you just want something that can knock your socks off and not some queasy smooth stuff.

VERDICT: No matter what the masses say I will continue to love this Calva.

  (8/10)