Armagnac Réserve de la Famille

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Compared with its more popular, double-distilled younger brother Cognac, Armagnac has always stood timidly in the shadows. But now Armagnac Réserve de la Famille (www.domaineselect.com, $89)—a continuous distillation from Mauléon d’ Armagnac in Gascony, just 125 miles south of the Cognac region—has stepped into the spotlight in the guise of a 20-year-old XO made by the founding family’s sixth generation. Although Armagnac Castarède has existed since 1832, it gained attention in Bordeaux during the 2007 Vinexpo with its Hors d’Age, as the Réserve de la Famille is known in France. But alas, this copper-gold-hued distillation, with its deep, musty, floral flavors, had no U.S. distribution at the time. Now it does, and its honeyed overtones with cedar and spice can finally be enjoyed as a digestif worthy of the name.

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