Maturity begins at 30. The fresh fruit is transformed into dried and candied fruit, the spicy character asserts itself, the first aromas of « rancio » appear and the alcohol is perfectly mellow. The fiery youth softens and relents. This Grand Assemblage is the perfect example of magnificent balance that one finds in eaux de vie of this age.
Francis and Marc Darroze roamed the estates on the best terroirs, that of the Grand Bas Armagnac and its tawny sands, to select, raise and bottle the most beautiful discoveries. Around 30 estates contribute to this extraordinary collection that complete and perfect their ageing in the Roquefort and Labastide d’Armagnac cellars. Rare and ancient barrels, where the eaux-de-vies leave the alembic from a small property, distilled by a reputed mobile distiller and that demand several decades of subtle and careful ageing in oak barrels for 15 to 50 years in order to express the qualities of the place and the vintage. No other Armagnac house can offer such diversity, and just from the fairly small area of Grand Bas Armagnac. The typical Armagnac farmer raises all the possible farm animals fed by many different crops plus a small vineyard the part production of which is distilled every year and aged in one or more barrels, which constitute the savings of the farm. A sick bull or a dying horse or tractor are repaired or replaced by the sale of a barrel. Multiply by the number of farms and years and you have the variety of the Darroze collection, so differentiated because each farm is unique. Add to this no reduction, by water, only through ageing, no caramel colouring, the date of distillation and the date of bottling, because all that matters is the time spent in the barrel. Once in the glass, nothing changes, nothing improves. An 1890 Armagnac bottled in 1900, is no better than 2007 bottled in 2017, but collectors do not want you to know!