Darroze, Bapt & Clem’s Collection
|Country & Region||France, Southwest|
|Founded||Bapt & Clem started in 2015|
M arc Darroze formally joined his father’s artisan Armagnac firm in 1996 and soon thereafter took the helm. Over the next twenty years he developed close ties to farmers and producers in Armagnac and became intimately involved in distillation. At the same time, in the course of his travels around the world representing the Darroze brand, he visited other distillers to see how they did things. He’s a dynamic man, Marc, ever curious and never one to sit still.
He befriended many of those distillers. He raised two sons named Baptiste and Clément. He came to have an extraordinary frame of reference with spirits, be it distillate made in France or overseas, and he acquired a fondness for rum (a logical step, given France’s colonial legacy in the Caribbean Sea and Indian Ocean). Over time, an idea germinated and then quickly took shape: why not do a limited barrel selection of his favorite spirits from fellow distillers?
In 2015 he decided to go forward with Bapt & Clem’s. With every spirit, the process was and is the same: Marc chooses one or two barrels—or makes a blend—from a distiller whom he has known for many years. The spirit has already been made and fully aged at its place of origin, and Marc’s choice, a deeply personal one, is to buy the barrel or blend only if what he’s tasting really sings to him. The spirit is then racked into a special container, shipped to France, and then racked into large glass containers to ensure freshness. Water is added if need be to bring the alcohol level down, but nothing else is added to the spirit. Each is bottled by demand.
In 2016, the first of the distillates arrived to the small Darroze warehouse in Armagnac and the first bottlings were undertaken. In the beginning there were seven spirits.
The Eaux de Vie Spirits
|Domaine Drouin 6-Year Calvados, Pays d'Auge||80% bittersweet and 20% acidic apples||Two 200-liter barrels selected by Marc as an exemplary Calvados.
|Château de Montifaud 7-Year Cognac||Ugni Blanc||A venerable family estate. Grapes from Petit Champagne in the heart of Cognac. One 4-year-old barrel. Double distillation; 935 bottles.|
|Oxenham 4-year Rum, Maurice Island||Molasses||The smallest distiller on Maurice, and the youngest. Single and double distillation. Aged in 600-liter sherry casks with 6 to 8% evaporation per year, making for an early maturing distillate. 935 bottles.|
|Savanna 12-year Rum, Réunion Island||Molasses||Aged in warm, humid conditions in 3-5-year barrels from Cognac. Single distillation; 2073 bottles.|
|Oliver & Oliver 18-year Rum, Dominican Republic||Molasses||A blend assembled by Marc of rums made by different techniques: single distillation at 90 ABV and aged in older American bourbon barrels; single distillation at 61 ABV and aged in older American bourbon barrels; single distillation at 68 ABV and aged in a solera. 930 bottles.|
|Reimonenq Rum Vintage 2009, Guadeloupe||Sugar cane||Single distillation and aged in older 600-liter French barrels. 1776 bottles.|
|Reimonenq Rum Vintage 1999, Guadeloupe||Sugar cane||Single distillation and aged in older 600-liter French barrels. 615 bottles.|
|Foursquare 5-Year Rum, Barbados||Molasses||A blend of spirits from pot stills and column stills. The aging was finished chez Darroze in barrels previously used to age late-harvest Juraçon wine. Great purity, excellent accessibility.|
|Alcoholes Finos Dominicanos 8-Year Rum, Dominican Republic||Sugar cane||Brought up in bourbon casks in the Dominican Republic and finished in Gascony for ten months in decades-old Armagnac casks of 2,000 liters.|
|Darsa 5-Year Rum, Guatemala||Molasses||Made from molasses, not from the fermented and distilled sugarcane honey so often used in Guatemala. The fourteen months spent in the Darroze cellar in French oak barrels (in which Sauterne wines were aged previously) finished its tailored ageing.|
|Beenleigh 6-Year Rum, Australia||Molasses||Aged for 4 years in Australia followed by a long two years tailored finish in the Darroze cellar in Gascony in Jurançon casks. The sweet Jurançon contained in these casks in the past brings a round and soft touch to this cuvée. Beenleigh distillery is one of the oldest distilleries in Australia, dating to 1884.
|Licorera Cihuatán 7-Year Rum, El Salvador||Molasses||Aged for 6 years in El Salvador in ‘solera,’ the traditional ageing system in South America (where the oldest rum is six years old). In the Darroze cellars since July 2018 ageing in French oak barrels previously used to age Sauternes wines.
‘Cihuatán’ means ‘beside the woman,’ referring to the Guazapa Mountain nearby which looks like the silhouette of a sleeping woman.