you would have to figure that anyone who has been
doing something since 1863 just might be doing it right. The
Camus family has been making their fine cognacs for over 150
years and that tradition has been carefully maintained through
5 generations ever since Jean-Baptiste Camus started the whole
thing way back then.
About 3 years ago these good folks sent me their VSOP Elegance
and XO Elegance to taste drive. If you would like to read
what I thought of them along with a bit of cognac history
and lore, click here.
only have they kept the old traditions alive, they have expanded
their horizons to include the vineyards of the Ile de Re which
is an island off the west coast of France in the Charente-Maritime
department. Situated in the Bois a Terroirs cru, the island
is the most westerly region of the Cognac appellation. And
to take matters further they have developed three different
expressions of this island's Cognacs; Ile de Re Fine Island
cognac, double matured cognac and Cliffside cellar cognac.
Let's see what they're all about.
Camus Ile de Re Fine Island cognac is harvested from
grapes grown in the island's mild climate and have a naturally
higher iodine content than those harvested on the mainland.
These grapes are distilled on the lees to enhance their flavor
and aged in an extremely damp cellar in toasted oak barrels.
Let's see how that comes out. The nose is a delicate balance
of honey, vanilla, smoke and oak with a spice note that makes
it quite interesting. The palate is spicy and oaky with just
a touch of smoke followed by a floral flavor and then the
vanilla backed by the honey. The finish is spicy and oaky
and medium in length. It's not a bad sipper but I do believe
it has the presence to mix it up well with anything you might
throw at it and retain its flavor and depth.
Camus Ile de Re Double Matured is first aged on the
Ile de Re in a damp cellar and then transported to Cognac
and placed in very old toasted barrels to enhance the flavor
and add a smoky taste. This nose is subtle and sweet without
any of the spice notes of the 1st cognac. The oakiness is
also very laid back and there is the barest hint of char.
This is a real palate pleasing cognac that is layered with
honey and botanical notes and is both sweet and pleasantly
spicy. The finish is shorter than the first cognac and smoother
and less spicy but still has intriguing depth.
Camus Ile de Re Cliffside Cellar cognac receives
a double ageing on the island first in barrels with light
tannins and for the second ageing, placed within the Fort
de La Pree, a historic monument constructed in 1626 overlooking
the ocean. Well, well I do really get a salty sense of the
ocean in this nose and a bit more oakiness and smoke however
the other aromas are much more subtle yet more complex than
the first 2 cognacs. The spice notes are so laid back they
are barely discernable. The palate pleases with delicate flavors
of vanilla and smoke and citrus richly layered with sweet
finish is delicate but layered with flavors that seem to appear
one after the other in a layered little dance in my mouth.
I like this one the best of the three because it has lots
of levels of delicate flavors that really play nice together.
get me wrong, all three of these are wonderful in their own
right. The beauty of cognac in general is that with the diversity
of wonderful tastes you can always find something that will
please your palate unless you're like me and stock 20 different
cognacs because I don't or can't or refuse to make up my mind
about which I like best. The one I like best any evening is
the one that compliments my dinner, my mood, my need and the
company I am keeping and is complex enough or simple enough
to accommodate all those requirements. I'll be adding these
to my bar simply because I have not tasted anything like them
before. I have to admit that after 150 years these guys have
got it down pat.
delightful cognacs are appropriately priced, with pricing
varying quite a bit by seller, with 750 ml bottles coming
in at around; Ile de Re Double Matured cognac,
$75.00, Ile de Re Cliffside Cellar, $100.00,
Ile de Re Fine Island cognac, $50.00
here for more on Camus Cognas
here for Cocktail Recipe.
more Rants & Raves click