some friends are going to Paris/France and I'm asking them to bring back a bottle of calvados for me. Does anyone know of a great one that I wouldn't be able to get in the US? or maybe another kind of liquor that is only available in France? no wine...
thanks in advance
I love my Busnel's, but i think most can get it in the US. I would ask them to go to a liquor store and have the staff pick out a small distiller they think is good.
Kep in mind that most Calvados producers have a wide variety of different brandies that they produce -- all Calvados (or the better appellation, Calvados Pays d’Auge), but of different ages. Many are vintage dated; others will simply be labeled (e.g.) "Plus 15 ans," "Plus 24 ans," etc. Thus, even if a particular BRAND is available in the US, there will be many specific BRANDIES will not.
There are also a number of small, artisan producers that only produce brandies in very small quantities. Even if they do export their Calvados to the US, it's difficult to find, and again -- they will have many brandies which are so limited, they are not available here.
This is true of large, "industrial" producers like Busnel, Boulard, and Père Magloire, as well as the small distillers, but there is a substantial quality difference.
My favorite producer -- by far -- is Famille Dupont. http://www.calvados-dupont.com/ This small, artisanal producer is available in the US on a very limited basis, and then -- only their basic Calvados. But the domaine offers about 10-12 different brandies of varying ages, only available in France.
Other producers to look for -- especially those with older stocks for sale -- include:
Hope that helps.
Has anyone heard of a calvados pays d'auge producer called Henri Breton? While travelling in Normandy I had an after dinner calva @ the Hotel le Lion d'Or in Bayeux that I memorized as such, but I've not been able to find reference to a producer by that name since. It was some crazy vintage like 1978 and sold for the ridicoulous price of only 9 Euros (this was in 2003). One of the best things I ever had :)
These days you can get the great ones in NYC (Groult, Huard) but even w/the 9 stone weakling dollar, it should be a little cheaper there w/out the US taxes and shipping.
@ Au Verger Madelaine (4 Blvd Malsherbes in the 8th) 2 years ago they had a cask strength Dupont. I know Dupont isa good house, but had never heard of a cask strength calva.
A 5 minute walk from there is Lavinia (7 Blvd d La Madelaine)a great store w/a good selection. They have Morin (I didn't like their Calva) ,Pere Jules, awful, no matter how old, Huet, which I had once years ago and liked (not seen stateside to my knowledge?
At Lavinia you'll be able to see most of the bottles at eye level, @ Verger, maybe not. Either way you can't go wrong. There is also Caves Auges, which is now owned by Lavinia, but is a classic Atget Paris experience.
PS, The La Repaire de Bacchus stores have a brand called "Natural Color", which is another label for a brand whose name I can't remember. It is a series of alcohols (whiskey, calva, etc) that is not colored or filtered.
"The La Repaire de Bacchus stores have a brand called "Natural Color", which is another label for a brand whose name I can't remember. It is a series of alcohols (whiskey, calva, etc) that is not colored or filtered."
FWIW, "Natural Color" calvados is, for us, the most delicious we have found after some dedicated tastings. Hot, yes, but with a lovely and very long apple finish. Last bottle we bought was around 70€. Simply, it knocked the socks off any 20 to 50 year stuff that we tasted.
My wife is a flight attendant and has been trying to find some great Calvados in Paris. The best she has been able to do is Marquis de la Pomme 15 years, which beats the hell out of Busnel but is nowhere near some incredible small producer stuff I had at Post House last night. Do you know Marquis? I'll ask her to try the store you recommend.
My previous post from 2005, Agnostura liquor co. in France has a line of spirits called "Natural Color". It consists of whiskeys, Rums, Brandys and the like. I am especially interested in their Calvados. It seems as if their other brand of Calvados is Manoir d' Apreval. Has anyone had either the Natural Color or Manoir? I usally drink the Milissemes from Huard , or if found Groult (which is really a treat).
st from 2005...
Another interesting product comes from the Alps (Savoy region). It is a distilled spirit flavored with a local mountain herb. The beverage is called Génépi. It is a little on the sweet side, and has and interesting herbal/floral taste. The taste ressembles a little bit Chartreuse. It is very hard to find Génépi outside of France. Uses as an after dinner drink.
There is another product that is added to beer. It is called Picon. When I was is Aslsace, we had Picon-Bière all the time. The Picon adds an orange-y slightly bitter taste that marries well with lager. Very refeshing in the summer.
Genepi is one of my favorite liqueurs. There is wide variation among different brands, because it is an herbal concoction, though most are at least good.
Locals in the French Alps make their own, and guard the locations of their plants in much the way that people guard the locations of their favorite mushroom patches.
Lately I've been mixing it with Gin, to great happy effect.
l will try to answer this question in another way, similar to Morekasha. While Lavinia does have many things as well as other stores, the place l use for weird liquor, liqueurs, and whatever is Caves Bosetti on rue Archives very near BHV department store. They have the best selection of Chartreuse north of Voiron, true absinthe, avec wormwood root, and all sorts of calvados, armegnacs, and cognacs. Nice people and they speak English. Quite knowledgeable of their stock without being pretentious.