Clos Martin 15 year old XO Armagnac far exceeds the ageing regulations for an XO Armagnac, the XO blend being bottled at between 15 and 20 years old. By law the youngest component of the blend in an XO Armagnac has only to be 6 years old. This is bottled as an Appellation Bas Armagnac Controlee and is made from a blend of spirits produced from the (increasingly rare) Baco and Ugni Blanc grape varieties.
Clos Martin Armagnac is produced by M&T, near Nogaro, in the heart of the Bas-Armagnac. M&T owns and manages a group of domaines that produce Armagnac in the Landes and Gers departments of France. Pruduction is overseen by cellar master Jose Barbe. The traditional stills used by Clos Martin’s domaines are very small and allow a lot of the heavy, congener and fusel-rich vapours to pass over with the heart of the distillate. Therefore Clos Martin’s Armagnacs always have a rich, earthy character and are fine, flavoursome and well-balanced. After about 10 years in barrel, the true quality of Armagnac prodcued from a continuous still emerges; it is at this point that all the balance, complexity and roundness one expects from a quality spirit begins to come through.
In terms of ageing, Clos Martin 15 year old XO Armagnac is a superb value for money for a 15 year old brandy, a great example of a rich and spicy, yet smooth and mellow, Armagnac.