Coquerel is clearly the most prominent Calvados in the Baltic States. You can find it for sale in almost every grocery store and very often it is the only calvados available. Maisons de Coquerel started producing calvados in 1937 in Normandy, northern France. The company has been producing calvados ever since, although its owner has changed several times. Today, the company is again owned by French, when it was bought from the alcohol giant Diageo in 1996. Coquerel uses more than 40 different apple varieties and they come from four different plants. The apples are fermented with natural yeasts and the process takes at least 3 weeks, but in some cases also several months. Fermentation times of different lengths yield different-tasting ciders, which causes more versatile calvados taste. Coquerel VSOP is a blend of distillates aged at least 4 years in oak barrels. A 50 cl bottle cost €13.95 in Latvia.
The nose has a ripe and sweet apple at the beginning, but in the background there is also a slightly sour aroma of cider. The taste is very warm and spicy. Ripe apples and the sour aroma of cider are present at the beginning. The oak aroma is quite strong, cloves and vanilla also emerge from the background. The taste is quite dry and also strong, the alcohol bites quite sharply, although its effect is short. The aftertaste has spices, oak, nuts and aromas of fermented apple juice, which lingers in the mouth for a long time. Although you can immediately feel that the booze is made from apples, it already has the traditional brandy aroma. Apparently, the longer calvados are aged, the more cognac/brandy-like it becomes. Coquerel VSOP is very different from the previously reviewed Pere Preux VS, which was a very sharp and pungent calvados. There is certainly a difference in the raw materials, the preparation method and of course also in the length of maturation. Although Coquerel VSOP was also very affordable, it is pleasant to sip. The taste is clearly richer than in basic cognac. I’m not a big fan of apple cider, so the slightly sour cider taste is a bit strange. But maybe I will get used to it. Coquerel VSOP shows nicely that calvados can also be a reasonable choice when looking for a new brandy in the store.