zondag 16 juli 2023

Calvados Morin

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my family in the charming village of Ivry-la-Bataille, nestled in the picturesque region of Normandy, France. One of the highlights of this area is its renowned production of a popular spirit known as Calvados. During our stay, we visited the Calvados Morin caves, located just a short distance away.

Normally, tours of the cellars were only available on Fridays. However, due to the national holiday on the 14th of July, this posed a challenge. Fortunately, the accommodating guide, upon learning about my blog and passion for spirits, graciously offered to conduct a private tour for us anyway.

Calvados Morin can be compared to the top independent whisky blenders and bottlers. They source their spirits from a selection of 7 or 8 trusted distillers in the Calvados region, skillfully aging them in enormous oak casks before creating their unique blends. It was fascinating to discover that this entire operation is managed by a mere five individuals, despite 60% of their production being exported. 

We also learned that any Calvados brand wishing to feature an apple tree on their label must have a live apple tree present on the premises of their head office. True to this tradition, Calvados Morin proudly maintains an apple tree at their location.

Descending into the depths of the cellars, we marvelled at the casks of Calvados quietly maturing over the course of several decades. Some casks we encountered were already more than 40 years old. A noteworthy detail is that the labels of the bottles always indicate the age of the youngest spirit in the blend. Unlike similar products that undergo a secondary phase in large glass "dame Jeanne" bottles, Calvados Morin exclusively ages their spirits in oak casks before transferring them to the final bottles for sale.

The last segment of the cave tour took us through a narrow passage lined with shelves, where up to 300 bottles of each production patiently awaited harmonization with the ambient elements. The presence of multi-coloured yeast-mold in this confined passage was extraordinary, as can be seen in the photos. However, it is important to note that while visually intriguing, this mold has negligible impact on the spirit itself, which ceases to age the moment it leaves the oak casks. These moldy bottles primarily serve as a marketing spectacle.

Naturally, the tour included a delightful tasting session featuring several bottles from their main range, some of which had been aged for up to 50 years. Tasting the various expressions proved to be a fascinating experience, allowing me to discern the nuances brought forth by the aging process. The younger spirits delivered a fruity burst of fresh apples, which I particularly relish in cocktails. On the other hand, the older bottlings exhibited a more subdued alcohol burn, accompanied by a complexity of flavour and aroma.

The guide also offered me the opportunity to sample a special bottle, a project crafted by their master blender to cater to whisky enthusiasts. This particular Calvados displayed a pronounced freshness, with the fruity apple notes taking a backseat to subtle hints of citrus. What intrigued me most was a distinctive sour note that instantly evoked the local product of apple cider. The guide revealed that this unique bottling was partially aged in ex-cider casks. I couldn't help but feel a sense of pride as he commended me for being the first visitor to ever make the connection to cider.

Calvados Morin, 10 Rue d’Ezy, 27540 Ivry-la-Bataille.

Disclaimer: All pictures and texts are copyrighted by Geert Conard and Esito Consulting unless stated otherwise in the article. While some items might have been gifted by the producer or distributor, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations.  

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