Ever have so much going on that you forget you have free tix to press day at a spirits festival?? Nope. Me neither...
I almost did though! I happened to hear someone talking about Quintessence or seeing it appear on my FB feed or something. Then I thought to myself, I think I have tix to that. I'm pretty sure I signed up a while ago... Let me check my email. Lo and behold, there it was, my email confirmation. So after my 2pm client, I headed out to the site to get my French spirits on!
France Quintessence is an event to celebrate for some and discover for others, French spirits. Think absinthe, anise, calvados, cognac, vodka, whisky and the list goes on. I didn't go in expecting to taste anything specific or looking for anything. I just wanted to see what was what. Once inside, and being overwhelmed by all the choices, spirits as far as the eye could see, I decided that I would taste brandies. Cognac, Armagnac, and Calvados.
I wish I could name everything I tasted for you but, liquor... So I'll just give a few highlights.
Julien Chopin's Ratafia. Ratafia is made from the leftover grape skins after they've been used for champagne. The skins still have a bit of sweet flavor and the resulting liquid comes across slightly thick with hints of sweetness. Def should be drunk with or as dessert.
Gelas Armagnac. Made from the grapes ugni blanc, folle blanche and baco, this armagnac is double matured and aged in old oloroso sherry barrels. I'm a big fan of armagnac, it has a bit more depth to me than cognac. It's complex, yet simple served neat or with ice.
Brenne Whisky. I've been following this whisky and it's owner, American Allison Patel for awhile. Finally I get to meet her, and in Paris! I taste the whisky, and love it of course! Also got the chance to chat with Allison a bit. Well, we mostly cracked jokes on the French and laughed hysterically. Allison is fantastic, and funny! So glad I got the chance to meet her. But about her whisky and what sets it apart, it's a single malt made in France and aged in Cognac barrels. This gives it a whole different range of fruit forward flavors and spice. I'm all for Americans making their moves in France, and women...YAAASSSSS!!!
And there were a few cocktails being shaken and stirred at the bar, so I had to try a few.