With the Holiday season in full swing and a two full weeks of shopping until Christmas, we thought it would be a great time to feature some of the more rare and sumptuous treats from the amazing artisanal producers we represent. Some of these items are in very limited supply and others might need special shipping arrangements to arrive in time for Christmas. In any case, they are all masterfully-made products by dedicated, family-owned distilleries and they would make uniquely wonderful gifts any time of year to that certain someone who really knows their spirits. If you are interested in purchasing any one of these items please contact us at (508) 947-9973 as soon as possible and we will do our very best satisfy the request(s).
All the Best to you this Holiday season from all of us here at Heavenly Spirits!
This Petite Champagne originates from an old family reserve handed down from father to son beginning with the house's creation in 1872 by Edouard Normandin's great, great grandfather, Jules Normandin.
This special and rare cuvee has been selected and bottled especially for Christmas 2015 from oak cask #8007 and is limited to a total of 240 bottles. It has been aged for 17 years and bottled at cask strength 45% ABV. Each bottle is hand numbered.
Introduced by request to only two markets late in 2015, we hope to make it available to more states in 2016.
Jean Fillioux Reserve Familiale
50 years old
This exceptional cognac is in itself a journey in the infinite world of aromas and flavors; everything is there incessantly tickling your taste buds: dried, candied fruit, rich rancio, leather, cigar box, toasted cocoa bean, vanilla and toffee. The finish is silky, with notes of honeyed and peppery spices.
5 stars "Highest Recommendation”
"A Cognac to savour over a long time, sip by sip, eyes closed. Pure pleasure!"
With Gift Box:
"Vintages are typical in Armagnac and Dartigalongue has an impressive collection with most years and even some from 1829. The best sommeliers in the world choose Dartigalongue and dinners are regularly built around their Armagnacs. Menus from top Parisien establishments, including the Moulin Rouge, adorn the walls of the company’s museum that also boasts an awe inspiring number of documents from the beginning of the company’s creation." - Justin Postlethwaite, French Entree
*Added option, original, hand-painted gift box, signed and custom-dedicated by French artist, Philippe, Lejeune. Contact us for more details on availability and cost. (Example shown in photo)
Calvados Roger Groult
Offered by fifth generation, Jean-Roger Groult, from the cellar of second generation, Pierre Groult, this gem will be the preferred partner of those who love rare woody spirits and cigars. Full of rancio, yet soft in the mouth with an intense lingering aromatic persistence. Outstanding!
Minimum 50 years
with Wood Box
ArmoriK Single Malt Connoisseur's Collection, 2005 Bourbon Cask, Barrel #4764
Armorik produces classic whiskies with pinpoint precision. This exclusive single cask was matured in Bourbon Casks.
Tasting Notes from Astor Wines:
This hand selected single cask will put to bed any questions you may have about whether great single malt can be made anywhere besides Scotland. We have been singing the praises of this 100-plus-year-old distillery for a while now and the heritage of this whiskey shines through in this excellent 2005 vintage single barrel aged exclusively in a first fill Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel for nine years. The nose is both exuberant and harmonious. Fruit, malt, savory notes, and spice all play a part here to bewildering effect. Elegance reigns on the palate where the brighter aromas turn to satin and mellow out as they linger on the finish. One of the best whiskies on the shelf. What are you waiting for?
Jerome and Sylvain Delord have established a reputation for quality that is unsurpassed. Owners of a prime 20 hectare vineyard in the heart of the Bas Armagnac, (widely known as the 1st Cru), they have been distilling, ageing and blending their eaux-de-vie the exact same way their great-grandfather did. Their ageing cellars contain Armagnacs dating back to 1904.
The 1981 vintage is particularly fantastic!
Chairman's Trophy. 97 points.
"Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation"
Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2013
GOLD medal and WINNER of President Republic Prize
(Best Armagnac of the competition).
Concours des Grandes Eaux de Vie d’Armagnac, 2008
*Added option, original, hand-painted gift box, signed and custom-dedicated by French artist, Philippe, Lejeune. Contact us for more details on availability and cost.
Distillerie Du Peyrat
Organic Cognac XO
The Distillerie du Peyrat has distilled Cognacs for several decades but the family has been present as distillers in the Charentes region since 1705. Distillerie du Peyrat produces exclusively 100% organic Cognacs. Located in a small village 10km East of Cognac on the banks of a river, du Peyrat produces, distills and ages their eaux de vie with the respect of the environment and the intense expression of the terroir.
A minimum of 15 years old. 375mL decanter
“...this is a beauty, rich in Sherry and birch beer-like notes, dappled with cinnamon and allspice. The dry finish suggests accents of cocoa and leather.” - Wine Enthusiast Magazine
"97 points - This is a beauty!" Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 2013
Thanksgiving is the ideal holiday meal to introduce "Le Trou Normand," or "the Normand hole." France’s contributions to the detailed rituals of authentic dining are, of course, legendary. Much of that attention to detail has to do with methodical planning for proper digestion of the meal through the order and the volume of which the elements are consumed. “Le Trou Normand” is a perfect example of how ritual and method work to increase one’s enjoyment.
Translated as “the Normand hole,” Le Trou Normand is usually served between courses of a large and long banquet type meal. The purpose (and there is always a purpose for everything at the French table) of this nifty little interlude is to both cleanse the palate from the previous course(s) and make more room for the rest of the meal. The palate cleansing comes by way of a generous tablespoonful of young, or even un-aged calvados in combination with a small scoop of light apple or pear sorbet that completely refreshes the atmosphere of your inner mouth. The additional space is created from that delightful 40-plus alcohol finding its way into your stomach while it simultaneously speeds up your heart and quickens your digestive system, allowing you to, in theory, eat more.
There are many creative ways to interpret this rustic culinary tradition, from its historic origins of straight shots of eau de vie taken directly from the still to a variety of modern stylizations. If you and your table guests are interested in trying this delightful French tradition this holiday season, Heavenly Spirits offers the following options:
Le Trou Normand - Original
It is certain that the first time a palate was cleansed with a young Calvados eau de vie it happened during a meal near to the still during distillation season. With this small sip in whatever glass was available, a tradition was born.
Le Trou Normand – Modern Traditional
This version of Le Trou Normand should be served in a small, elegant, wide brimmed cordial glass or something similar.
1 shot (1-1.5 oz.) Calvados, Roger Groult Reserve, Claque-Pepin Fine
1 or 2 small balls of apple or pear sorbet
1 mint leaf
Place sorbet in the glass.
Pour Calvados over the sorbet.
Add mint leaf garnish.
Serve immediately with small spoon.
Le Trou Normand - Christine
This variation of Le Trou Normand was created by Christine Foubert Cooney for one of her legendary holiday meals. It was served in a small, elegant, wide brimmed cordial glass with a tiny spoon, between courses of the fish and the meat.
1 shot (1-1.5 oz.) Calvados, Roger Groult Reserve
1-2 table spoons of home-made lemon Granita
1 mint leaf
Spoon Granita into the glass, filling half way.
Pour Calvados over the Granita.
Add mint leaf garnish.
Serve immediately with tiny spoon.
Our busy season is officially in high gear and our bags are perpetually ready for visits around the country. We've already been to Atlanta, Georgia to visit with Quality Wines & Spirits, where we participated in their annual grand tasting event.
After Atlanta, Christine traveled to Chicago for the ever-popular Chicago Indie Spirits show, as well as an event called "Boire comme les francais!" (Drink like the French!) in conjunction with BC Merchants and La Creperie, who served wonderfully delicious crepes with a flambé of Marie Duffau Bas Armagnac Napoleon!
We also spent some quality time out West this month, with most of our visit being divided among our three distributors in Northern California. During our nine day visit there, we made a 24 hour, round-trip dash to open our 26th state, Arizona. We arrived in Scottsdale just in time to participate in Diamondback Wine & Spirits' annual trade tasting.
By the time you read this, Christine will have returned from a visit to Maryland and DC to visit with Craft Wine & Spirits. This is a great market that has a growing appreciation for our fine French spirits portfolio and we love working with them.
During the first week of November, Christine will return to the West coast to work with our distributors in both Northern and Southern California. Finally, in mid-November we'll be back in Chicago for the 31st Annual Passport to France! a fantastic annual event sponsored by the French American Chamber of Commerce that does a tremendous job celebrating French culture, especially the food and drink aspects.
It's not every day that the heads of two very respected Cognac and Armagnac houses decide to take a trip to the U.S. TOGETHER, but then again, this kind of pro-active cooperation is what the Heavenly Spirits' marketing strategy is all about. What better way to promote the best-quality, family-owned, French craft spirits available?
Edouard Normandin-Mercier (of the eponymous Cognacs) and Benoit Hillion (of iconic Dartigalongue Bas Armagnac) represent some of the highest quality distillers in the classic French tradition. They started their tour in NY, moved on to Chicago, and ended with a visit to our home state of Massachusetts.
They participated in tasting events as well as on and off premise visits all along the way, finishing with a very informative and entertaining Cognac vs. Armagnac Seminar in front of two full sessions in the renowned cellars of Federal Wine & Spirits, in historic Boston, MA. Their on-going, slightly barbed repartee during the presentation was good humored and witty while remaining informative and fun.
Here are a few photos from their stay in Boston:
We arrived in Bordeaux to attend VinExpo on the second day of this five-day event. In addition to the two of us, we had our 22 year-old son, Austin, who now lives in France accompanying us for the “experience.”
Soon after we began exploring the halls, we all seemed to notice the same unexpected male fashion statement at once, “red pants.” One out of every 40 or so men were wearing red slacks. This is not very common in the US, so it stood out.
On the second day, I began looking closer and photographing examples. There seemed to be a kind of original fashion formula, that most of the variations evolved from, which included a blue and white vertical stripped shirt and a navy blazer. We saw a lot of those but also noticed the variations, which included different color shirts, no blazer, worn out red pants or an even brighter color blazer. After mentioning our observations to an American expatriate friend who has now gone native, he said the trend has been around for a number of years, and he believed it started in Italy.
On the third and forth day I started to notice other variations that I am sure stemmed from the red pants trend, including bright blue pants, and even a sort of yellowish gold color, modeled here by both my brother in law, Thierry and Edourd Normandin-Mercier, one of the cognac producers we work with.
Let me just say it here and now, as a painter and a colorist, I am all in favor of this mild form of peacockism, and sincerely hope the trend one day carries over here to the good old U S of A. I think we can all use more color in our lives.
Held every two years since 1981, VinExpo is known as the world's largest Drinks industry trade show. With literally miles of exhibition space to navigate, it is always a daunting task to see everything and meet with everyone on our list. Christine and I only missed one VinExpo since attending our first in 1996, and this year was one of our most enjoyable experiences.
Every two years, Bordeaux, France hosts VinExpo, the world's largest wine & spirits trade show, featuring miles of exhibition booths and products new and old from all over the world. This professional trade show draws over 50,000 visitors from 43 countries. We always try our very best to attend, our first time being in 1995. This year will mark the 10th VinExpo we have participated in.
VinExpo presents an excellent opportunity to meet with our French suppliers, talk about new trends in the industry, and get caught up with old friends. This year we are particularly excited to be on the hunt for a few new products that we can add to our ever-expanding portfolio of exceptional French spirits. We are not revealing exactly what those products are at this time, but please stay tuned and you will probably find out in our next newsletter. Below are some pictures from our time so far.
It is with great pleasure that we
welcome Advintage Distributing of Ladson, South Carolina to the
growing list of distributor partners representing the Heavenly Spirits' portfolio in the U.S.
specializes in hand-picked wines and specialty spirits. We're very excited to bring our portfolio of French spirits to the South Carolina public. However, with all the paperwork still needed to
be put in place, please look for us there by the end of the summer.
Heavenly Spirits is pleased to announce that four of our products scored higher than 90 points in this years challenge, three were Finalists and one even received the Chairman's Trophy, the highest award possible in the product's respective catagory. In addition, Organic Cognac Distillery, DuPeyrat was given the "Great Value Award" for its "Organic Selection" quality and price, (SRP generally under$35.00), and Distillery Warenghem was given the "Tried & True Award" in recognition of submitting spirits products that are consistently high in quality three years in a row.
According to its website, "Ultimate Beverage Challenge’s mission is to create and establish a new and higher standard of evaluation for spirits and wine that provides accurate, meaningful and useful results in recognizing and promoting the quality of beverage alcohol products. It accomplishes this by the integrity of its people and approach, its innovative and exacting methodology, and through the credibility of its results."
Each year we submit 4-6 products from our famed portfolio for consideration and each year we manage to come away with a handful of awards, which is a testament to the success of our own selection process. The awards are of course a tribute to the dedication, passion and quality that our producers put into all of their artisanally produced spirits. We are proud to represent such fine craftsmanship. Following is a list of awards our products received this year:
Chairman's Trophy, 94 points, Extraordinary! -
Tried & True Award -
ArmoriK Single Malt French Whisky, Sherry Finish
Finalist, 96 points, Extraordinary! -
Dartigalongue 1984 Bas-Armagnac
Finalist, 93 points, Excellent! -
Roger Groult 12 Year Old Calvados, Pays d'Auge
92 points, Excellent! -
Great Value Award -
Cognac Organic Selection DuPeyrat
The judges of this year's competition were inspired to offer cocktail serving suggestions for a few of our winners and we posted these on our cocktail recipe page, here.
ArmoriK Single Malt Sherry Finish received 94 points and the Chairman's Trophy in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2015, as well as the Tried and True Award. The Tried and True Award is awarded to "products that were entered into USC 2015 and a minimum of two prior USCs and have scored 85 or higher each time, are recognized for consistency of product quality with this award."
This French whisky drinks a lot like a Scottish single malt. Traces of rubber, peat and toffee comes through on the nose. In the mouth, it’s apples and sherry with a peppery edge. Still, fresh and vibrant.
In addition, ArmoriK Single Malt Sherry Finish was rated in a classic cocktail, the whiskey sour. The result: Whiskey Sour: 4 Stars, Very Delicious
Du Peyrat Organic Selection Cognac received 92 points in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Awarded Great value indication.
Aromas are redolent of ripe juicy apricots with hints of tropical fruit. Rich and sweet in the mouth, flavors are pristine and focused with stone fruit, white tea and fresh flowers shining through. Smooth and balanced.
The Du Peyrat Organic Selection was featured in a classic cocktail, cognac and ginger ale. The result: Cognac and Ginger Ale: 2½ Stars, Delicious
Roger Groult 12 Years Old Calvados received 93 points and was a finalist in the Calvados category at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2015.
Bright on the nose, it is reminiscent of applesauce and white grapes. In the mouth it is spicy and complex with meyer lemon, white flowers and deep clover honey. The play between savory and sweet is intriguing.
The Roger Groult 12 Years Old Calvados was featured in the Jack Rose cocktail. The result: Jack Rose: 3½ Stars, Very Delicious
Our Newest Distributor State - Colorado!
It is with great pleasure that we welcome Estate Brands Distribution Company of Denver Colorado to the growing list of distributor partners representing the Heavenly Spirits portfolio. Estate Brands specializes in hand-picked wines and specialty spirits. Colorado becomes the 25th state where you can buy Heavenly Spirits products.
Just barely getting out of Providence, RI between two major snow storms, we traveled out to Colorado in mid-February to meet with the owners and some of the sales crew. While we were there, we ate and drank at some amazing places, and spoke with some very knowledgable people in the trade. Bistro Vendome, already a client, is where we dined the first night and we thoroughly enjoyed not only the authentic French cuisine but talking with the pleasant local couple who were dining at the bar next to us. Robin was our bartender and she made us a perfect aperitif cocktail built around calvados Roger Groult, Reserve.
Crepes & Crepes on 16th Street, who we hope will soon be carrying some of our products, was one of the last places we visited in Denver and it was fantastic. On a cold and blustery day, it provided a warm and comfortable haven, with an authentic French atmosphere and menu. The crepes were perfectly made and as tasty and wonderful as any I had ever experienced anywhere, including France.
We also spent an enjoyable evening at the "Source," a new and trending artisan food co-op type of space, located in a former brick factory with two restaurants, a butcher, a bakery, a cheese shop, a wine and spirits boutique retailer and an excellent little bar called RiNo Yacht Club in the middle of it all. Owned and managed by respected Denver Mixologist, Mclain Hedges, "RiNo" stands for Platte River North and the venue is totally worth a visit if you are in Denver. A few other dining establishments we visited include: Snooze, Appaloosa, Ship Tavern and Churchill Bar, the latter two connected to our hotel. We also had the pleasure of visiting the following spirits retailers, most of them already carried our products: Avon Liquor, Valet, The Bottle Shop, Argonauts, Hazel's, Beaver Liquors, and Apple Jacks. It was a great trip overall, and we are pleased to have the Heavenly Spirits portfolio now available in such a dynamic and exciting place as Colorado. See photos from our trip in the Gallery. Did you know Colorado averages 300 days of sunshine per year?
Almost one thousand whisky-loving fans attended Julio's annual Whisky Festival this past Sunday in Westborough, MA, capping off a whole weekend of seminars, tastings and dinners. Christine and I were pleased to be hosting David Roussier, Owner and Distiller of ArmoriK, Breton Single Malt Whisky, who was in town to participate in the festivities. Highlights of the weekend include: the Friday night Loche & K(e)y dinner with guest of Honor, Jim McEwan from Bruichladdich Distillers, Saturday's tasting seminar, "Saying Oui to French Whisky," delivered by David at Julio's Angel's Share room, and a more intimate "Meet and Greet Tasting" for 200 people on Saturday night at Julio's Metro Station Basement room. Though we have participated in this lively weekend event for the past three years, this year marks our greatest involvement yet, as we had a total of five different expressions of ArmoriK to share with the increasingly knowledgeable and ever enthusiastic consumers who attend. In addition to David's help, we also had the participation of Bill Ricker our Boston Sales Associate, Naomi our Office Associate, and Rory Caviness, Head Bartender at La Voile's in Boston. An unexpected piece of good news during the event came in the form of a positive review from the Whisky Advocate in their Spring edition, where the ArmoriK Sherry Finish was awarded 91 points and called "voluptuous ."
All in all it was a fantastic weekend shared with an enthusiastic group of whisky fans.
See more pictures from the weekend here.
How excited are we? Well Julio's Liquors' Whisk(e)y Weekend is this weekend, 2/27-3/1. Those of you who have attended before know it's an absolutely fabulous event, and they've expanded it this year to bring you even more great events and gatherings!
We're especially excited to announce that David Roussier owner of Warenghem Distilleries, makers of our beloved Armorik whiskies, will be giving a seminar on Saturday, February 28th from 1-2 p.m called "Say Oui to French Whiskey!" You can register for the seminar, and tons of other great events here. We promise, this is a weekend you don't want to miss!