The name Claque-Pépin comes from a type of apple variety, which when ripe, rattles when shaken. The name translates to the seeds (pepin) which rattle (claque). The property is located in the Normandie region, nestled between the Domfrontais and the Pay d'Auge, in the 17th century farm next to the ancient chateau of Serans, formerly the family estate of the Louvet family.
Claque-Pépin officially began in 2005. However, current owner Benoît Louvet has been immersed in the world of distilling and ageing for many years. He began his "apprenticeship" fairly young with his grandfather Vital. After working for a few other Calvados producers as cellar master, he decided to start his own artisanal production and perpetuate the art of making calvados, cider, and local Normand apéritifs, while respecting the Normand tradition and the environment.
Calvados is made from cider. Those farmers who are licensed to “boil,” travel from farm to farm with their vintage stills (alambics), distilling the cider into calvados.
Operation of the Alambic:
The cider enters the still through the heat exchanger in the upper region and descends tray by tray. The heat transforms the most volatile elements in the cider (water and esters) into vapor. This vapor then travels in the opposite direction, where it is concentrated with the alcohols, esters, and flavors. This is then concentrated in the smallest column from which the eau de vie emerges at 72%.
The property and orchards are ideally situated in the Calvados AOC, just in between Pays d’Auge and the Domfrontais, producing cider and Calvados with the round and refined flavors of Calvados of the Pays d’Auge and the spicier notes typical of Calvados of the Domfrontais.
Benoît Louvet grows apples and pears but also buys from a few growers around, especially in the Domfrontais, an area he loves. After he makes his cider, an itinerant distiller comes to the farm to distill Benoît’s ciders to his specifications.
The young calvados are redolent with apple and pear, maintaining the subtle aromas of the fruits. The older calvados reveal flavors of orange blossom and candied fruit, as well as hints of balsamic spice, wood, cigar box, and chocolate.
A young calvados with a golden hue, a pronounced aroma of apples, and a soft mouth feel. This quality is a blend of apples and pears which come mostly from the Domfrontais area.
Ideal as an aperitif, mixed in cocktails, or for cooking.
Available in both 375mL and 750mL.
92 points. Excellent/Highly Recommended. Great Value!
"Beguiling bouquet of baked apples, nutmeg, graham cracker, pipe tobacco, and sandalwood. Woodsy and spicy on the palate, pink peppercorn, apple tart tatin, and cinnamon bark join together for a warm, elegant finish dotted with fresh apples and custard." (Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2023)
4 stars. Highly recommended. “I like the zesty first nosing passes as the richness of baked apple pastry that’s slightly spiced with cinnamon makes its case with conviction; with aeration, the juiciness of the apple becomes apparent, and it’s this development that makes the aroma so pleasing. Entry is tangy, apple- and pear-like, baked, spicy (now more mace and nutmeg than cinnamon), but it’s the richness of the velvety texture that rings my chimes; midpalate is chunky, silky in mouthfeel, and vividly tart and apple peel-like, and it’s the acidity that balances the buttery texture, thereby creating a solid four star experience. Ends up gently sweet, juicy, ripe, and amazingly fresh. (Paul Pacult, The New Kindred Spirits 2021)
92 points. "Bright, fresh aromas suggest apple and apricot. The soft, spiced palate shows stone fruit and coconut drizzled with honey, finishing with a baking spice exhale." (Wine Enthusiast 2021)
Claque-Pépin Calvados Hors d’Age is crafted from a blend of old calvados. Aromas of flowers on the nose with flavors of fruit, pear, and vanilla and a slight hint of oak on the palate with a long finish.
94 points. "Concentrated vanilla and spice mingle with a violet hint on nose and palate. The finish is long, warming and tinged with allspice and cocoa." (Wine Enthusiast 2021)
4 stars, Highly recommended. “Whoa, this opening nose is weirdly appealing even though it crackles with earthy, forest-like fragrances that are reminiscent of brambles, vines, and bark; later sniffs after more air contact pick up nutty and fiber-like scents that are peppery, plastic-like, waxy, and just barely fruity and apple-like. Entry defies the olfactory findings as the taste profile offers highly acidic and therefore tangy flavors of unsweetened apple juice, apple peel, apple strudel, and nutmeg; midpalate builds upon the entry impressions by making the wood influence stronger, which brings with it a buttery, silky texture. Finishes medium long, toasty, lightly spiced (clove, salt, cinnamon), and tobacco-like. The lustrous nature of the flavor profile redeems some of the softness of the aroma.” (Paul Pacult, The New Kindred Spirits 2021)
Finalist. Great Value. 93 points. Excellent / Highly Recommended
"Earth and fruit elements on the nose call to mind an apple orchard after a light rain. The flavors follow suit with a muskiness that blends with fresh apples. Gentle spice comes through with cinnamon and notes of zesty lemon peel."
(Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2017)
The first certified organic calvados available in the U.S. Average 6 years old.
A pale yellow amber with a floral, fruity nose with aromas of iris and nuts. Herbaceous and vegetal on the palate.
97 points "Hitting all the right notes, this shows fresh apple and vanilla aromas that lead into a rich butterscotch and honey palate. The feather-light finish shows salted caramel, roasted nuts and a flurry of cinnamon and clove." (Wine Enthusiast, 2021)
92 points. Excellent. Highly Recommended.
"Deep aromas of poached pear, apples and cinnamon. Clean and pure flavors of peach, brown sugar, caramel, and baked pineapple all intermingle on the smooth and full texture creating an overall indulgent effect." (Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2018)
Our newest organic calvados is deeper, rounder and longer than the delicious Vielle Reserve, delicately balancing oaky notes of apple, and pear.
95 points. "Caramel and spice aromas plus a floral hint lead the way. The palate shows toffee-drizzled baked pear and hints of cocoa and hazelnut, lightened by a violet exhale. Cinnamon warms the long finish." (Wine Enthusiast 2021)
(Brandy Consumer Choice Awards 2021)
93 points, Finalist. Excellent, Highly Recommended
(Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2020)
Cask Strength: 61%
Finished in Cognac Barrel from Distillerie du Peyrat (organic)
Tasting Notes from Benoît Louvet:
Copper orange hues. The first nose releases hints of spices and vanilla, followed by complex notes of fruit compote with some pitted plum and a light orange rind finish. The palate is very intense, spiced and voluptuous, with persistent notes of dried fruits on the finish.
Dark gold color with hints of amber. Pear forward nose balanced with aromas of wood, tobacco, spice, cinnamon, and candied fruit on the nose. The palate is redolent of port, walnuts, and wood and presents a remarkable smoothness. This high-quality calvados is made from fruit from the designated calvados area.
93 points. "A mix of toffee, cigar wrapper and leather aromas entice on the nose. The palate is drying up front, echoing leather and spice. The midpalate is enlivened by tart lemon peel, plum skin and dried cherry. Hints of vanilla, toffee and clove entwine on the mouthwatering exit." (Wine Enthusiast 2021)
4 stars. Highly Recommended. “Wow, I pick up intriguing fragrances of old library, leather-bound books, sawdust, toasted almond, and maple syrup, each in abundance, each nicely melded to each other; here, after more aeration, the totality of the bouquet becomes apparent in the impressions of dried flowers, cane sugar, nougat, candy bar, and spiced apple. Entry is buttery; creamy in texture; toasted; charcoal-like; spiced, baked apple-like; baked pear-like; nutty; and flinty dry. Midpalate echoes all the entry impressions adding apple peel, toasted marshmallow, candied apple, and tree bark. Concludes medium long, dry, and tangy.” (Paul Pacult, The New Kindred Spirits 2021)
Red mahogany color, nose of dried fruits, cigar box and hint of orange peel. The palate is very much like the 20 years old with a stronger intensity of the wood and an added note of caramelized apple and a touch of smoke. It has a very refined finish, really round and silky, where the fruits (apple and pears) manage to still be lively. It’s amazing to see them come through so well after 30 years!
Sweet and balanced, best enjoyed as an after-dinner drink.
Shiny copper color, toasty baked apple nose with resiny walnut notes. The palate is sweet initially, then dries up, revealing flavors of cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa, and then sweetens again with notes of quince paste and caramelized apple pie (tart Tatin). Toasty long finish, where all the flavors of the palate remain in unison long after the last sip.
94 points "Celebrate a special 40th birthday or anniversary with this bottle. Leather and baking spice aromas lead into a light palate that opens with toffee then evolves into lemon peel, cigar wrapper, chamomile tea and walnut. It exits with a long cocoa powder fade." (Wine Enthusiast 2021)