Swill & Suds

Swill Sampling: Camus Ile de Ré

November 29, 2014
Ile de Re Cognac tasting | SwineandSwill.com

Welcome to our very first post here at Swine & Swill! We’ll be partaking of beer and spirits and sharing our thoughts — let’s dive right in with our premiere Swill Sampling — a look at a creamy cognac.

Olfactory notes

Caramel, brown sugar, vanilla. Despite the sweet and mellow images that come to mind with those words, there’s an astringent note that gives them an edge. I don’t know if this is indicative of cognac or just this brand. As much as I’ve learned about it and its brothers brandy and Armagnac, I’m still learning how to experience them.

Tasting notes

Ok, the aforementioned astringent note translates solely to warmth/burn on the way down. That said, the sweeter notes mentioned above really come through. “Chewing” it and letting it linger a bit on the tongue, there’s no immediate burn. After a couple seconds, you get the tingle of alcohol, but it’s not until the finish that it really takes off.

If you’ve never had this before, take it slow. Shooting this would not only make the nearest cognac aficionado (probably the buddy who bought it for you) cry, but doing so will probably make you cry. I promise you, this isn’t a challenge … (because if you take it as one, I will laugh hysterically as they haul your ass to the hospital. No mercy.)

I’m not sure how this stacks up to other cognacs, but it’s nice. I also may never prefer cognac to a good Scotch (think Balvenie, not Lagavulin), though I wouldn’t mind this as a change of pace.

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  • Reply Hoke Harden February 2, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Good review of the Camus Il de Re. This cognac is very much unlike most other cognacs. The grapes are grown on the Il de Re, an island just off the mainland. It’s known as the “French Hamptons”. Very sandy soil and of course proximity to the cold ocean waters of the Atlantic creates a unique style sometimes called the “Scotch of Cognac”. Aging in the old fortress within a few meters of the waves creates a slightly briny character (which is likely what you dubbed the astringency) that makes the cognac stand out distinctly.

    There are actually three releases: the Il de Re Fine Island Cognac, the Double Barreled, and the Cliffside. Age makes the difference here.

    The Camus Il de Re is always a standout when I mix it in to comparative tastings. Quite popular.

    • Farah
      Reply Farah February 2, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      Thanks for the background!

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