8 Vibrant Calvados Brandies Crammed With Normandy Apples


This article contains affiliate links that allows us to earn a small commission on purchases made though the links (at no extra cost to you). We appreciate your support!

Everyone has heard of cognac, and brandy geeks know Armagnac, but have you heard of France’s third great brandy, calvados? The best calvados brands create a flavoursome brandy from select French apples and sometimes pears.

Calvados has a long history in France, but Louis XIV banned it from being exported beyond Normandy in the eighteenth century. Thankfully, some of the finest calvados are finally making their way onto international shelves.

What Is Calvados?

Calvados is the brandy of Normandy, made with the fruit of up to 200 different varieties of apples and perry pears. It gained appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) status and may only be made in a designated area of Normandy. 

Pays d’Auge calvados has additional requirements, and producers must make Domfrontais Calvados with a minimum of 30% pears.

How Is Calvados Made?

The making of calvados begins with French apples and sometimes pears, which are crushed and fermented to make cider. This cider is distilled in pot or column stills to make eau de vie and aged in oak barrels for at least two years. (Source: Drinkcalvados.com)

Best Calvados Brands

We have selected 8 of the best calvados brands available internationally to give you a handy starting point with this magnificent French apple brandy. Let’s dive into the exciting world of calvados!

1. Boulard VSOP Calvados Pays d’Auge

 Boulard VSOP Calvados Pays d'Auge
Credit: Boulard

Overview

  • Distiller: Boulard
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Amber Gold

Review

The house of Boulard was founded in the Pays d’Auge in 1825 by Pierre-August Boulard. This calvados distillery has remained in the family ever since.

A Pays d’Auge calvados, Boulard produces its VSOP from 120 varieties of apple from Boulard’s orchards and around 500 local growers.

Much like cognac, it’s fermented and double distilled in copper pot stills. It is a blend, with the youngest part aged four years in seasoned oak barrels.

Taste Notes

Opens with hazelnut and vanilla notes; cider and applesauce mingle with dry oak. The finish is sweet apple and oak with lingering pepper and vanilla tones.

Best Served

I recommend that you enjoy this young and fruity calvados neat over ice. You can also use it as a base for cocktails such as Calvados Old-Fashioned, Sidecar, or a Norman Negroni.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

2. Berneroy Calvados Fine

Berneroy Calvados Fine
Credit: Berneroy

Overview

  • Distiller: Berneroy
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Light Gold

Review

Berneroy, a calvados producer from the broader Calvados AOC region, produces high-quality calvados from over 180 varieties of apple and ages them in oak barrels.

An AOC calvados, Berneroy Fine is fermented for four weeks, single distilled in a copper column stills, and aged for two to three years in seasoned Limousin oak barrels.

Taste Notes

A fresh and fruity calvados, with prominent apple notes and light oak. Aftertaste lightly oaked, with delicate cinnamon and nutmeg spice and lingering apple.

Best Served

Best served neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails such as the Gummy Berneroy, Norman Delight, or Viking Margarita.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

3. Christian Drouin Calvados Pays d’Auge XO

Christian Drouin Calvados Pays D'Auge XO
Credit: Christian Drouin

Overview

  • Distiller: Christian Drouin
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Pale Gold

Review

Christian Drouin senior established the house of Drouin in the Pays d’Auge, with the help of an established calvados producer. The family is now a third-generation calvados producer.

For this award-winning XO Pays d’Auge calvados, Christian Drouin begins with some thirty varieties of apples, fermented and double-distilled, before the signature ageing.

They age the calvados that makes up the XO expression in ex-bordeaux, ex-cognac, and ex-sherry casks for a minimum of eight years, with some of the stock being far older.

Taste Notes

Rich baked apple, nutty flavours, plus overtones of apricots and light oak. The aftertaste displays raisins and cinnamon.

Best Served

This stunning calvados is best enjoyed neat, at just below room temperature, from a tulip glass. You could certainly use this aged apple brandy in a flavoursome sangria.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

4. Chateau Du Breuil Calvados 12 Year

Chateau Du Breuil Calvados 12 Year
Credit: Chateau du Breul

Overview

  • Distiller: Chateau Du Breuil
  • ABV: 41% (82 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Light Gold

Review

The castle, or château, of Breuil in Normandy has become the home of La Spiriterie Française, a producer of fine French spirits. As they are located in Normandy, it’s no wonder that their focus has been on calvados.

Chateau Du Breuil Calvados 12 Yr is a Pays d’Auge calvados, double distilled in pot stills and aged at least 12 years in oak barrels in the castle’s cellars.

Taste Notes

Fruity, with notes of apricot, cocoa, liquorice, and mild woodiness. A long finish with mild spice and a touch of sweetness.

Best Served

I recommend enjoying it neat as a flavoursome aperitif or digestif. To my palate, it’s similar to a sweet vermouth.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

5. Busnel Calvados Pays d’Auge Fine

Busnel Calvados Pays d'Auge Fine
Credit: Busnel

Overview

  • Distiller: Busnel
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Gold

Review

Established in 1820 by Ernest Busnel and Madame Quétel, the Busnel family has run this esteemed calvados producer for four generations. They have been the official suppliers to the RMS Queen Mary and the SS France.

A Pays d’Auge Calvados; they make Busnel’s Fine from a blend of different Pays d’Auge calvados and age it for at least two years in oak barrels.

Taste Notes

Fresh apple and pear flavours mingle with hints of citrus and vanilla and floral notes. I love the long finish with subtle woody smoothness.

Best Served

Serve neat or with ice, or in cocktails such as apple mojitos, calvados and tonic, or pair with ginger ale.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

6. Calvados Morin Selection Contrilie

Calvados Morin Selection Contrilie
Credit: Morin

Overview

  • Distiller: Morin
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Gold

Review

Calvados Morin began in 1889 in the Risle Valley before its modern incarnation in 1945 in Thélème Distillery’s former facilities in the Eure Valley. Jacques Viry, who has been with the company since 1945, and his son, have succeeded Pierre Morin.

An AOC calvados, Calvados Morin Selection is aged in Limousin oak barrels for two to three years in the underground chalk cellars of Eure.

Taste Notes

Fresh and fruity, with prominent apple notes and well-integrated wood—a moreish toasty finish.

Best Served

I must say that this tasty calvados is best enjoyed neat. You can also pair it with tonic water or cocktails such as a calvados Sidecar or a Normandy Flower.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

7. Pere Magloire Calvados Pays d’Auge VSOP

Pere Magloire Calvados Pays D'Auge VSOP
Credit: Pere Magloire

Overview

  • Distiller: Pere Magloire
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Golden Brown

Review

Begun in 1821 and named after innkeeper Dominique Magloire, by 1900, Père Magloire had become France’s leading producer of calvados. Its reputation grew over the twentieth century. Debrise-Dulac owns the brand, which is now the leading export brand of calvados.

Pere Calvados VSOP is double distilled in pot stills and aged in oak barrels for at least four years.

Taste Notes

Apple blossom and cider mingle with butterscotch vanilla and bitter oak. This finish combines lingering oak with candy apple, vanilla, and hazelnut notes.

Best Served

Enjoy neat or in cocktails such as apple mojitos, Norman Negronis, and Norman mules.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

8. Roger Groult Calvados Pays d’Auge Venerable

Roger Groult Calvados Pays D'Auge Venerable
Credit: Roger Groult

Overview

  • Distiller: Roger Groult
  • ABV: 41% (82 Proof)
  • Country: France
  • Colour: Light Gold

Review

A family producer that began in 1860 with Pierre Groult, the brand has remained in the family’s hands for five generations. Roger Groult gave the brand his name and letters of nobility after World War 2.

A Pays d’Auge calvados; Roger Groult Vénérable is double distilled in copper pot stills before being aged for a minimum of eighteen years in oak barrels to develop complex flavour.

Taste Notes

Spiced apple pie and cherry wood with notes of orange peel—aftertaste persistent baked apple and gingerbread.

Best Served

Serve neat, at room temperature, in a tulip glass, or as a Vénérable Old-Fashioned. Wow!

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

Seperator

Ingrid’s Top Pick

best calvados brands

Christian Drouin Calvados Pays d’Auge XO

My top pick is Christian Drouin Calvados Pays d’Auge XO. This incredibly rich calvados unleashes delicious baked apple with hints of apricots and smooth light oak. The finish is cinnamon-dusted dried fruits.

Understanding Calvados Age Lettering

A simple lettering system displays the age of the cognac; 

LabelMeaningDetail
V.SVery SpecialAged for a minimum of 2 years
ReserveReservedAged for a minimum of 3 years
V.S.O.PVery Special Old PaleAged for a minimum of 4 years
X.OExtra OldAged for a minimum of 6 years

Conclusion

So that’s eight of the best calvados brands, which should give you a fair idea of the range of this beautiful French spirit. If you have not yet tried calvados, it’s time for you to make the acquaintance of France’s third great brandy. Finally, let’s not forget the Greeks…. check out my article on 7 Metaxa Brandes to fall in love with.

Further Reading

Below are some additional articles from The Drinks Geek blog. We write articles on several fascinating areas of drinks, including different brands, drink types, cocktail recipes and more.

Author Bio

Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected !!