Calvados - Drink Secrets


Calvados: One Of The Finest Brandy Concoctions Finding Its Niche Throughout The Centuries

Cider brandies date back as far as the 8th century as a tradition in France. After the French Revolution, the area called "Calvados" was created and became the center of distillation for Calvados brandy. Because of its alcohol content, it as requisitioned for use in armaments and soon became a time honored tradition.

How Calvados Is Produced

Calvados is the distillation of apples which include over 200 different varieties. In most instances just one distillery will use over 100 different varieties of apples ranging from bitter to sweet, lending to its extraordinary and distinct flavor. The apples are picked, pressed and fermented producing a dry cider. After the fermenting process, it is distilled and aged in oaks casks for over two years. The distinction of timing is what allows it to be classified as "Calvados." It is believed that the longer it is aged, the smoother the product.

Single Versus Double Distillation

There are differing theories about the best way to distill calvados. Only double distillation allows for the accreditation of calvados, but some argue that the single distillation is better. The arguments maintain that the single distillation gives the brandy a more simple clean and fresh apple flavor, without the complexity of the double distillation. While those who argue for double, maintain that it is the "complexity" that gives it the age old distinction.

There Are Several Grades Of Quality Of Tradition

The age that is indicated on the bottling of Calvados is characterized by the youngest of the blend that it is comprised of. The following classifications are used to indicated the aging of the particular bottle

  • "fine," "Trois etoiles," "Trois pommes" referring to at least two years old
  • "Vieux," "Reserve" refers to at least three years old
  • "V.O.," "VO," "Vieille Reserve," "V.S.O.P." "VSOP," refers to at least four years old
  • "Extra," "X.O.," "XO," "Napoleon," "Hors d'Age," "Age Inconnu" refers to at least six years old

The best of calvados have parts of their distillation which are much older than the youngest of the blend for which it is classified. It is common for the bottle to be a blend of several years.

A Distinct Taste All Its Own

Calvados is a drink that is to be savored and is generally recommended between courses as it is said to have a quality that entices the appetite. As a dessert it is a tradition to accompany apple sorbet. It is an alcohol that is blended in drinks, or to enhance the flavor of your favorite cup of "Joe." When more mature in aging its taste resembles more of the fruity flavors of apple and pear, when more mature, the real taste of the brandy shines through. It can come in various shades of golden to dark brown or mahogany. It is said overall to have a nose and palate that are delicate with hints of aged apples and dried apricots, sporting overtones of butterscotch, chocolate and nut aromas.

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