Malternative Belgium releases two new bottles of cognac today.
The first one comes from Cognac Bertrand, a house that goes back to 1731 and based in the heart of Petite Champagne. In the 1960s Raymond Bertrand set aside a lot of cognacs which showed a lot of potential. This lot was Ugni Blanc, distilled ‘sur lies’ in small, wood fired stills of 8 hectolitres before being aged in fûts roux. From different barrels in this batch they assemble their own top-of-the-range ‘Héritage’ bottlings, but Pieter was able to select one single cask. It has a minimum age of 50 years.
Cognac Bertrand MA50 ‘Les pâtissiers’ – Petite Champagne (54,8%, Malternative Belgium 2021, 228 btl.)
Nose: great rancio style, with stewed fruits (apricots, ripe damsons) as well as pipe tobacco, honey and a bit of polished oak. Lovely waxy notes with some pastry sweetness. It’s a rather complex profile, later there’s also sweet Earl Grey tea, pink grapefruit peels and dried wildflowers, with a whiff of natural caramel.
Mouth: minty and spicy at first, still with this dark toffee note and a milk chocolate note before it bursts open and shows its fruity core. Oranges, apricots, yellow plums and sweet berries, in quite a jammy way. Some peppered raisins, cedar wood and herbal honey. Hints of sweet tobacco leaves. It also shows a grassy side before it starts to fade.
Finish: long, still fruity, now with grassy notes, caramelized nuts and menthol.
This one shows a great interaction of bright rancio fruits and darker, more robust spicy notes (because of the higher ABV perhaps). In general I’m not a fan of caramelized flavours but here it’s a real asset. Available for € 235 from Malternative Belgium.
Next: a 1992 Grande Champagne from Jean Fillioux, just shy of 30 years of age so one of the younger releases from this bottler.
Cognac Jean Fillioux 1992 ‘La flèche de feu’ – Grande Champagne (43%, Malternative Belgium 2021, 252 btl.)
Nose: brighter, slightly more floral and juicy. Stewed apples, oranges and nectarines, joined by acacia honey, light vanilla and a hint of jasmine. Seems older than it is, really refined and incredibly fresh.
Mouth: a surprising sweetness, showing lots of mirabelles, oranges and quince jam, hints of melon with a good dollop of honey. Picks up light herbal notes and hints of chocolate and toffee towards the end. Still some vanilla. Good strength really.
Finish: medium length, with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon, as well as red fruits and woody notes.
Quite fruity. Maybe a tad too sweet at times for my own taste, but those with a sweet tooth will love it. This would be perfect to impress your family after a Christmas dinner. Now available for € 99.