We toast the debut of two new craft spirit brands, Twenty Third Street Distillery (Australia) and Darroze Armagnac (France) into the local bar scene, thanks to alcoholic beverage importer & distributor Cave & Cellar Sdn Bhd. Ms Candy Mah, Executive Director of Cave & Cellar Sdn. Bhd said “With the changing market demands and upcoming trend on alcoholic beverages in recent years, we are venturing into more artisanal alcoholic beverages by importing limited, rare and premium brands.”
First built in 1914, Twenty Third Street Distillery was reincarnated from a century-old landmark at Twenty Third Street in Riverland (3 hours away from Adelaide), Australia. Established to process the Riverland harvests, production ceased in 2002 after several mergers and takeovers. Steeped in history, a new team then forged the site and business revival in 2016.
Contemporary inventiveness and passion blended with old-school craftsmanship helped to chart new life for Twenty Third Street. Contradictory yet cohesive, the spirits artfully meld savoury & sweet, bright & smooth on the palate.
|Canapes to complement our sampling session at PAUS|
Shaun’s first visit to Malaysia was aimed at sharing his knowledge with local mixologists and trade players on the characteristics of Twenty Third Street gin, brandy and whisky. “Gin is gaining popularity in Australia and generating great interest thanks to its versatility. We’d have to overcome people’s resistance on trying brandy and whisky, and get them to focus on the taste and flavour first.”
The Riverland Rose Vodka with its merest hint of pink blush culled from organic hibiscus petal and seductively delicate rosy scent is the day’s showstopper. Crafted using two types of carefully selected dewy-fresh rose petals macerated in cane-based vodka and distilled in small copper pots, the Riverland Rose Vodka can be enjoyed neat or chilled, or with a splash of water or tonic. We were instantly besotted by the floral scented vodka’s faintly sweet vanillin taste and warm, lingering finish reminiscent of Turkish delight.
For Twenty Third Street Signature Gin, the Distiller has infused ten botanicals including juniper and coriander in addition to local citrus into the gin. Dry and neat, it can be mixed with tonic or soda, or as a base to create distinctive cocktails. We found the Signature Gin flaunted a spicy mélange of juniper, mandarin and coriander aroma while the zing of juniper, soft citrusy notes and hints of spices left our tastebuds tingling.
Marketed as an entry level brandy for the young generation, the deep amber Not Your Nanna’s Brandy should go down well with modern hipsters. Fabulous when paired with rich eats like foie gras, the toasty golden liquid suffused our tongues with its tannic oaky spiciness and lush honey sweetness rounded off by a sweet peachy aroma on the nose.
When Scotch whisky meets American bourbon, Hybrid Whisk(e)y happens. This handiwork of Master Distiller Graham Buller consisted of whisky and bourbon that had undergone an average of five years barrel maturation before the final blend is kept in bourbon barrels for a smooth finish. The result yielded a distinctive blend ripe with sherry-sweet, malty flavours tinged with toasty oak and fruity accents.
Armagnac is the oldest spirit in France. Produced from a single distillation of white grapes (it takes 6 litres of wine to product 1 litre of spirit), Armagnac comes from the French southwest region of Gascony — the area famed for The Musketeers, good food like foie gras and wine.
The Darroze bas-Armagnac story started with Jean Darroze and his restaurant in Villeneuve-de-Marsan. A highly respected chef enamoured with the southwest’s centuries old traditions and local Landes cuisine, Darroze introduced his son Francis to the culinary arts, the great wines and the fine Gascon eaux-de-vie. Translated as ‘water of life’, it basically refers to fruit brandies except those made from grapes.
By cultivating a taste for tradition and authenticity, Francis Darroze mastered the art of discovering small, low-key and unknown estates on his bas-Armagnac explorations with his knowledgeable and demanding wine-loving father. Their early discoveries date back to the 50s and 60s, and strengthened in the 1970s, with the construction of a cellar dedicated to ageing.
Today, Marc Darroze — a trained oenologist and the third-generation owner of Darroze Armagnac — continues to roam the lands of Armagnac, in search of this golden liquid. Around forty estates contribute to the Darroze collection; the spirits ageing completed and perfected in the Roquefort cellars inside rare and ancient barrels. Several decades of careful ageing in oak barrels are required for the fine spirits to concentrate their expressions of the quality of the place and the vintage.
The Darroze collection offers a true voyage of taste over the infinite variations of terroir, variety and ‘savoir-faire’. Their “Les Grand Assemblage” range of 8, 12 & 20 years; followed by their iconic range “The Unique Collection” of 2004 Domaine de Couzard-Lassalle à Mauléon d’Armagnac, 1999 Domaine de Rieston à Perquie & 1988 Domaine de Lagoue à Hontanx are representative of the name of its original estate, vintage and the bottling date.
Darroze Grand Assemblage 8 Years: Fruity on the nose with hints of candied orange zest and prunes. Smooth and not too oaky, drink it as a fresh and light aperitif neat or on the rocks. Popular in the USA as a base for cocktails.
Darroze Grand Assemblage 12 Years: Aged for 10 years in oak, this Armagnac is subtly spicy on the palate. Allow it to breathe in the glass to release its beguiling, soft aroma of cinnamon and liquorice.
Darroze Grand Assemblage 20 Years: Full of lively character, it flaunts deeply flavourful, rounded tannins and a long finish. Warm on the tastebuds with distinct, mellow ‘bite’ of spice tapering off to subtle chocolate and raisin notes.
Domaine Couzard Lassalle 2004: This golden tipple proffers complex tea and fruit scents mixed with toasty spice note. We also detected notable accents of leather, spice and citrus.
Domaine De Rieston 1999: Deep orange-gold liquid with silky tannins and a long, lingering finish. Delightful Christmassy accents of oranges, gingerbread and toast comes to mind when it hits the tongue.
Domaine De Lagoue 1988: Golden brown tipple redolent with the scent of orange peel, vanilla and cinnamon. Well-balanced with peppery note on the palate and a smooth, long finish.
For more information, please contact Cave & Cellar's Marketing Department, Ashlyn: +6 012-2900 777 or Cynthia, +6 016-7176 379.
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