Larsen’s new Aqua Ignis has a curious claim to fame: It is the first spirit in the world aged in steam-toasted barrels, specifically “triple-steamed brasero toasted barrels.” What does that mean? Instead of only toasting the barrels with open flame, they are immersed in hot water, then toasted in a brasero, causing the water to evaporate. This process is repeated twice. The resulting barrel is significantly different than the traditionally toasted/charred barrel, lacking the “alligator char” of classically charred barrels and looking much more like a smooth piece of darker, polished wood.
One of the fundamental goals of this approach is to bring out a stronger mocha character, and that is born out here in this non age-statemented product. While the nose of Aqua Ignis exudes some youth in the form of a sharper, clean linen note, it is indeed laden with chocolate and coffee notes right from the start. Those are amplified on the palate, which is richly fruited with spiced raisin and plum notes, the classic trappings of Cognac, segueing from there into a rich and nutty milk chocolate character. Notes of rich almond nougat, more baking spice, and a gentle warmth arrive on the finish.
Aqua Ignis doesn’t change the game completely, but the formula they’ve hit on is impressive and inventive. It’s lovely stuff, especially at this price level. Feel free to cocktail with it.
A- / $45 / cognac-larsen.fr