Adrien Camut 18 Year Old Privilege Pays d'Auge Calvados
Adrien Camut 18 Year Old Privilege Pays d'Auge Calvados. Amber. Melted toffee along with subdued notes of spiced apple and honey. Lovely round mouth feel, with just a finishing touch of smoke and floral notes.
Adrien Camut is widely regarded as the top calvados producer in Normandy. For seven generations, the Camut family has grown 25 varieties of apples at the Domaine de Semainville, located in the northeastern corner of the Pays d’Auge. Soils in this part of the appellation are very rich silt and clay, the type of soil that permits the trees plenty of nourishment. The trees here are slightly larger than other areas of the Pays d’Auge and because much of the nutrients go into making the wood of the trees larger, the sugar that goes to the apples is slightly lower, providing a bit more acidity to the fruit. The Camuts are firm believers that this higher acid level within their ripe apples leads to a spirit with more finesse and elegance.
When the apples fall to the ground, they are collected and taken directly to the press to begin the cider making process. After passing through a chipper, the pulp rests in a stainless-steel bin for about eight hours where the pulp begins to turn brown, something that will eventually bring more color and aroma to the base matter. The pulp is then loaded into a balloon press where it is squeezed and its juice liberated.
The juice is pumped into large wooden vats, where over the next 10 months it will ferment slowly until there is no sugar left in the cider. In August and September, the cider is distilled in two old pot stills that are heated with firewood. The first distillation comes out of the still at about 28% alcohol. The second distillation, in which the heads and tails are removed, leaves the still at about 70% alcohol. The clear spirit is reduced immediately to about 60% alcohol before going into large oak foudre (casks that hold nearly 20,000 liters). The casks are never full, something that helps promote evaporation and the release of esters and acids. Some spirits stay in these large vessels for their entire lives (Camut also releases 6, 12 and 18 year-old calvados as well as some others that pre-date World War II). But once the older spirits reach a certain age, they are usually transferred to smaller casks, stained black with time, that give very little oak influence. It is within these that they can breathe and gradually diminish in alcohol until they are ready to be bottled.