Armagnac VSOP Round 1 – Saint-Vivant VS Tariquet

20131014_213428

Round 1 of VSOP Armagnac. Why? Well, checking my inventory I noticed that I have 3 different bottles of VSOPs so why not? They’re similarly priced and of the same style and age, so let’s get to it! (I reviewed Saint-Vivant by itself earlier this week here.)

1) Saint Vivant VSOP – 40% ABV – 750ml, (Condom, Gers, France), $60 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores

  • first distilled in 1559 by nobleman Saint Vivant de la Salle.
  • (I think) it’s in the Armagnac-Ténarèze terrior, one of three terriors in which Armagnac may only be produced.
  • aged at least 5 years (VSOP designation, wiki)

VS

2) Tariquet – 40% ABV – 750ml, (Eauze, Gers, France), $52 CAD @ Aristocrat Liq 82nd (Edm)

  • Château du Tariquet, since 1683 (according to the box)
  • distilled from 60% Ugni Blanc, 40% Baco grapes, in the Bas-Armagnac terrior.
  • aged for at least 7 YEARS

Criteria:

Nose: Saint-Vivant is half alcohol, and half flavour aromas consisting of vanilla, oak, caramel, and a bit of toast. Tariquet is much, MUCH gentler on the nose, with about 1/3 less alcohol nasal burn. Its profile consists of more caramel than vanilla, and lemon curd. Hands down the winner is Tariquet.

Taste & Texture: Having reviewed St-Vivant earlier, I was really looking forward to trying Tariquet. Tasting St-Vivant again brought back the overwhelming alcohol detection up front, bold in-your-face aggressive vanilla-caramel, and licorice-warm long finish with spice and burn. Tariquet, you are so much smoother. You taste floral up front, like chamomile and lemon, with gingerbread-caramel-vanilla-oak dominating the mids, finishing with spiced numbness. The choice is an easy one, Tariquet you win.

Final Notes:

  • Tariquet exhibits a slightly darker golden brown hue than Saint-Vivant
  • Saint-Vivant may have bolder flavours, but it gets muddled up by the overwhelming alcohol jaggedness also in there.
  • Tariquet comes in a (giftable) box. Otherwise it’s just another thing to recycle.
  • Bottom line: Saint-Vivant is a notch BELOW my enjoyability threshold, whereas TARIQUET is just ABOVE my enjoyability threshold. I’m curious to try an XO Armagnac next.

WINNER = Tariquet VSOP (Round 1 Champ)

20131014_21351820131014_21353420131014_213654