Camus’s Family Affair
Posted: September 27, 2013
Camus, the largest of the independent, family-owned Cognac houses, is introducing Camus Family Legacy, a tribute to its five generations of wine-growing and distilling as it reaches its 150th birthday.
Uniting five of the Cognac region's crus (delineated growing areas within the French region), this rich expression is a complex mix of the world-acclaimed class of brandy. Grapes from the crus of Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Bon Bois, Fin Bois and Borderies (the last being the area in which the house is located) are fermented and distilled before blending.
The founder, Jean-Bapiste Camus, was a winemaker and distiller who established a group of producers in 1863 to sell to larger houses. He soon bought out the other makers and created his own Cognac. Subsequent generations shored up the brand by bottling the spirit individually—instead of selling by the cask—and making trade alliances internationally, especially in Russia and England. Camus is now sold widely at duty-free in airports.
The Family Legacy borrows heavily from the wisdom recorded in cellar notebooks by previous master blenders. It is made in an eight-step blending process and bottled at the slightly unusual degree of 40.8 percent alcohol, which the company deems perfect.
A further salute to the brand's legacy is the decanter, which is based on a decades-old bottle that has been redesigned with contemporary touches
(Cigar pairings on next page)
Camus Family Legacy (81.6 proof, or 40.8 alcohol by volume; no age statement; $1,299 per 750-milliliter bottle)
APPEARANCE: A brilliant, coppery, rosy color that you might expect to see in a Bourbon. Big, chunky slow legs.
NOSE: Very complex aroma that starts with a candied note of oranges or tangerines. It transitions to hints of roses and tea, then opens up to walnuts and pistachios. The bouquet closes out with another floral rush, this time oily like an attar.
PALATE: It gives a markedly smooth presentation as it slips onto the palate and then expands into a very rich and fruity hard candy—not a Lifesaver, but the kind of exotic lozenge that comes in a little, decorative tin box—that's solidly tangerine in flavor. The fruits keep coming, with pears and peaches, nectarines and grapefruit, before a soothing blanket of vanilla spreads out across the palate. The table is now set for the next act, which brings nuts and the smallest bit of Stilton cheese.
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