Our Bottlings

The Distillates Bottling N.003 & N.004 [Spring 2024]

The TLDR; The Distillates is really excited to announce three bottles, two well aged Armagnac and one Irish whiskey, coming up for sale. And yes, they really are abnormally dark. The armagnac was available for pre-order until March 2, 2024 when I headed to France to bottle them. This was invite only, and was not shared on any public channels. These bottles are part of a decade long project and I’m thrilled to be hitting the first milestone.

The Marriage Between Irish Whiskey & Armagnac

As a passionate geek, I often wish we could really experience the DNA of a bottling. Whisky is profoundly shaped by the wood in which it is aged, and often, the wine or spirit which came beforehand. I love both Highlands and Irish whisky aged in “sherry cask” but would trip out if they actually said aged or finished in a “Toro Albalá Convento Selección Añada 1958” cask. Given the huge influence of cask finishing, imagine trying the aged whisky before and after it has been finished, as well as the actual spirit / wine which influenced it. I’ve often wished to see what the marriage between a good whisky and a top caliber Armagnac cask could produce. But of the few rare Armagnac cask finishes I see, they never know the domain. So, I decided to make it happen. 

This journey began in Ireland. Vincent, from L’Encantada, and I ran a sold out Armagnac tasting at the Belfast Whisky Week festival in 2021. He spun marvelous stories in French, and I butchered them into English, while we all sipped from domains I had yet to experience. Vincent had to head home, but that night I shared a table for dinner with Katy and Anthony (owners of Irish Whisky Auction) and Jarlath Watson (Echlinville Distillery). I popped open a few bottles of old Armagnac and we had a grand evening, introducing them to the category and going head to head with some powerhouse Irish spirits. Out of that conversation, I was invited to come come visit Echlinville Distillery where I pitched them on my idea of enabling me and the geek community to follow the entire aging journey. Upon coming home, they sent Vincent and I a number of different new make samples, as well as aged spirits. Vincent and I selected three 420L casks to send to Northern Ireland (Lous Pibous 1995 #144, my Le Frêche 1989 L121 and my new Grand Mole 1985 #17). Damn I wish I could also have had the Pibous juice but some tricky lads beat me to it by weeks. Snoozed and lost. 

The Grand Mole cask was filled with 19 year old ****** Irish spirit (ask me privately and I’ll share which distillery) in March, 2022. We kept a few bottles of the 19 year whiskey aside, which I plan to use in a group tasting to explore the whole journey. I was planning to wait longer before bottling, but Jarlath filled a few hip flasks and took it to Whisky Live in three different regions. The feedback was bottle it!!! So I went up to visit in January 2024, spent the day discussing blending with their head distiller, and tasted all three casks. Dang, the 21 year old Dunville’s is a beauty. But I still wanted to see what would happen with even more time. I asked if it’s legal in Ireland to only bottle part of a cask, as they often do in France. Turns out it is. 

I’m bottling ⅓ of the cask in spring of 2024 as soon as we make it to the front of the bottling line. In 2025, we’ll bottle another ⅓ at 22 years. And in 2026, the final drops at 23 years. It’s so damn good now, but I want to see how more time in that wood brings forth the spirit’s character.

While the grand môle was a cask finish project (although is 5 years really a finish?!?), the other two are full maturation. For the single malt aging in the Le Frêche cask and the potstill aging in the Pibous cask, we’ll talk at some point in early 2030 once I feel they have been well baked. I’ve had a number of people ask me if I might be willing to bottle a little bit of the Le Frêche 1989 now as they didn’t score back in 2020, rather than wait another decade.  I need to keep enough so that I can bottle it together once the Echlinville/Dunville’s single malt is at peak yumminess. But I’ll bottle a handful when I go there in March. 

L’Encantada Grand Môle 1985 Cask #17 70CL 62.6% ABV

This cask is part of a larger whiskey journey collaboration between The Distillates, L’Encantada and Echlinville distillery (Dunville’s). Stay tuned for the first release of Dunville’s 2003 21 Year Irish Whiskey finished for 2 years (and more) in this specific Grand Môle cask. It’s something quite special and nothing is cooler than trying world class whiskey and the armagnac which influenced it.

The short backstory: Vincent, maitre de chai of L’Encantada, slipped me a 10cl sample of motor oil while at Belfast Whisky Week in 2021. “This is your kind of anomaly Shane. Tell me what you think.” I tried it and tripped out. He explained that it was an error in the chai that turned out to be something quite special. A cask from 1985 of Grand Môle was misplaced at the bottom of a stack and evaporated to the point where it became deeply concentrated, far outside the normal profile. For those of you familiar with the domain, this is not yo’ mama’s Grand Môle. It’s a one off. I have a palate that sometimes steers towards the neurotic, but had just enough in that sample bottle to get some feedback and many agreed we had a truly unique cask. An old world whisky drinker’s armagnac. A huge deep dark tropical fruit bomb. If you are into Irish whiskey, its akin to an old single cask Redbreast. To be fair, some people found themselves a touch overwhelmed. You have to be down with the good wood. 

I took the following notes in early 2022:

Nose:  sun ripened prunes, mom’s unsweetened strawberry fruit leather, a super fragrant and spicy fruit mojito concentrate, dr pepper syrup, cinnamon + cloves and a touch of orange zest.

Palate:  chewing on a liquorice root, freeze dried strawberries, thick black currant syrup, a sprig of spearmint, violet flowers on a bed of arugula, fennel bulb salad with grapefruit wedges, what an amazing sweet tart… tonight, tart wins.

From a totally different angle, my buddy Rob Bauer from the independent bottler Grape of The Art calls this cask “one hell of a Guadeloupe agricole rhum bomb”. So there you have it.

L’Encantada Le Frêche 1989 L121 70CL 50.2% ABV 

This cask is part of a larger whiskey journey collaboration between The Distillates, L’Encantada and Echlinville distillery (Dunville’s). The now empty cask was shipped to Ireland in early 2022 and 420L of new make single malt Irish whiskey was laid to rest. The armagnac now rests in demi-jeanne safely in the arms of L’encantada. I’m keeping most of what remains to be bottled and sold alongside the whiskey when it finally matures so that we can all experience what a full armagnac cask maturation is like, and try the original spirit. BUT, I’ve had a number of very kind people ask me if I would be willing to do a small bottling for friends in the meantime.

If you aren’t familiar with Domaine Le Frêche, check out Adam Clary’s fun sleuthing, to find the origins behind this moniker. This cask already has a pretty vaunted reputation in the USA, from which the Orlando Whisky Society did a private bottling in late 2020. A few of us who like a good lick of oak declared it one of the best le Frêche released. e.g. Dan from Afishionados and my review from 2021. I liked it so much after buying 6 bottles, I called Vincent and paid to lock down the remaining 100L of the cask. I don’t know how many privately owned Le Frêche or Pibous casks there are left, but I bet you can count them on one hand. Probably two fingers.


A heady, rich and robust aroma. Rhubarb pie topped with candied walnuts. Baked apples dusted with cinnamon. Bourbon soaked cherries. A hint of funk in that sweetness – like some brilliantly horrific gorgonzola cheese cake concoction. It is not just a pretty face. There is depth and its well integrated.


This bottle bring such a powerful concentrated sweet fruit goodness. Ripe figs and quality tonic. Homemade orange cranberry relish Julie’s mom would cook on Thanksgiving. Then into the pantry for a dusting of cloves which then shifts into old timey root beer barrel candy.

We live in a small island that claims Spain as its alma mater. This harkens to a truly world class sangria. The tannins of the wine, the tang of citrus layered into a bold sweetness. Then, BAM, oak. Oak for days, without clobbering everything else. A bourbon lover’s oak.

Tasted blind, my money would have been on a top shelf bourbon with some razzle. While it is not as complex as some of the more neurotic Le Frêche Casks, every note is just freaking delicious. This is the American’s bourbon-drinkers Armagnac. Bottles like this are what keeps bringing Armagnac to the new world and then break my bank account.

The Distillates Bottling N.001 & N.002 [Summer 2022]

The Distillates is delighted to bring you a very limited bottling of two unique Armagnacs from Domaine Rounagle. Who? No one we know had heard of them either, although they have quite a following in Italy. How we found them is convoluted, but suffice it to say that Borger is genetically 32.7% bloodhound. We picked these in the early days of the brandy tariffs. But then Covid hit and you get the gist. They spent nearly 2’ish additional years in oak since we first tried them. These are not your garden variety armagnac. They are opinionated and complex. And frankly, each will appeal to very different palates.

We aren’t adding any markup at all for the community if you pre-order. This is at cost and not a cent more. The work that went into procuring these bottles was an act of love and passion. We want to see them opened, enjoyed, and debated. 

Import and distribution for this Edition is handled by some amazing partners.

Europe / Worldwide: armagnac.de

USA: Mufson, Faron & Brand imports

Domaine Rounagle 1984 – “Here be Dragons”

The 1984 is for those who seek the path less traveled. For ye who packs a machete when going on vacation. Blake, Ryan and I literally could not look away from the maw of the beast. I had to go back three different days to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. It’s like making out with She Hulk. This is technically a millesime and a single cask (84-3). Hugh has 4 casks of 1984 and blends them back together every winter. All the flavors are full throttle. Nothing subtle here my friends. A kalimotxo, but made with Dr Pepper instead of coke. And a powerful indian tonic / quinine tartness with citrus zest – not tannic, just full on pucker!!! Crushed Cranberries and walnuts. Spiced Plum butter. Walking into a cedar-lined closet. Hand made, small batch black licorice. And a lick of worcestershire sauce. All turned up to 11.

Region: Armagnac Ténarèze
Grape Variety: Ugni Blanc Trauben
ABV: 52.0% (Cask Strength)
Bottle Size: 70 cl

Preorder Price: US 91.40 USD + ship + local tax || Europe 103 EUR + ship

Rounagle 1967 – “Shaken, not stirred”

The 1967 is a dapper pour that showcases an incredibly rare tropical rancio. Hugh would only let us have 100 bottles. He cranked up the price last minute, and I nearly had to break his arm to get any at all. He is keeping this single cask for a 60 year special bottling, so this is all we get lads & ladies. Quality Armagnac still in cask from the 60’s is a rare thing, and I expect we’ll pop the top and treasure each sip together. Sascha, Brian & Dressler were the force behind the 1967. We’re talking about a wonderful balance between the orchard and the garden. Prunes, papayas, bruised pears & mangos, tarragon, walnuts, stewed tomatoes and a brush of Christmas spices. The rancio here is a rare treat – it’s not often you find a brandy that matured beyond the walnut butter and Bleu cheese rancio into the rarified magical land of subtropical fruit.

Region: Armagnac Ténarèze
Grape Variety: Ugni Blanc Trauben
ABV: 47.3% (Cask Strength)
Bottle Size: 70 cl

Preorder Price: USA 145.60 USD + ship + local tax / Europe 166 EUR + ship