My Wandering Eye is a series reacting to the crazy rising prices in the bourbon world. We’ve reached a place where even average products have hit the range where they compete price-wise with other types of aged spirits. If I’m going be asked to drop $40 to $70 on a mid-range bourbon, I might as well see what else I can get for that money. My hope is to see if another spirits category offers something that is downright tasty in that price range. The goal isn’t to find cheap spirits, but to maximize the quality, I’m getting at a particular price point. And please remember, these are all be from the perspective of someone who basically only drinks bourbon.
I am just going to come right out and say it: these days, I almost never find expensive bourbon exciting. In fact lately, I almost never even find it interesting. I came to this realization over Christmas because both my mother and my father separately decided I was too hard to buy for and just gave me cash. Between the two of them, I had about $150 to spend. As it was a present, I wanted something a little special to come of the money. I wanted something I would be happy to get as a gift and something I wouldn’t usually buy for myself.
And do you think that there was even one bourbon that I felt was special enough to spend that money on? No. Not a single one. I wasn’t even drawn to the bourbon aisle. The issue is that I knew that between what is actually available to buy and what the things that are available actually cost, I’d end up overpaying for bourbon. At least when you compare it to what things used to cost and what I think of the relative quality of bourbon in the $50 to $75 range.
I’m pretty sure that I have this series to blame for that. Two years ago, I started the My Wandering Eye series as a way to explore other spirits categories. The thought was that bourbon prices were rapidly rising and I wanted to be sure I was getting the best bang for my buck. And along the way I have found a new love of both brandy and rum. The interesting thing is that I’m not the least bit interested in getting geeky about either brandy or rum. I’m content to just try them, taste them, and enjoy them (or not). It is almost relaxing in a way, not felling the need to be analytical about everything I put in my mouth.
But here I am anyway, being analytical about them. Some of these things are just too good or too interesting not to share. So, like has been the tradition for the last two years, look for an increased number of Posts in this series for the first part of the year before I move back to bourbon as Spring (and the Bottom-Shelf Bracket) starts to rear its head.
Tonight we are looking at a Cognac. I was doing research to find a brandy for my father’s gift when I ran across Chateau de Montifaud. As I read about the product, I realized that my father wouldn’t care for it, but that it sounded right up my alley. According the Cognac-Expert.com, this brand routinely ensures that the cognacs they bottle “are at least twice the age that they need to be – meaning that a Chateau de Montifaud VS is aged between 5-8 years, a VSOP at 8-10 years and XO 30 years.” It sounded good to me.
My Wandering Eye: Château de Montifaud V.S.O.P, Fine Petite Champagne
Purchase Info: $48.93 (on sale) for a 750 mL bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN
Details: 40% ABV. The grapes were grown in the Petite Champagne region of France.
Nose: Very complex. Dried fruit, custard, caramel. black pepper, and sage.
Mouth: Not as complex as the nose. This is floral with caramel and dried fruit. There is a hint of baking spice as it moves back in the mouth.
Finish: Of medium length and savory. Just a hint of heat. Lingering flavors of savory spices and dried fruit.
Thoughts: I really like this one. Since it has been on my shelf, I’ve chosen it over the bourbons on more than one occasion. I’m really digging the savory notes on it. They are such a nice change of pace from the caramel/vanilla of bourbon.
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