André Lelouvier started his business as a wine and spirits merchant in 1933 at Briouze in the Orne. Alongside this activity André Lelouvier soon began to age calvados and beers that he marketed under the Lelouvier brand name. In the nineteen-sixties he became a leading figure in the area, both in terms of the quality of his calvados and of his relationships with the excise authorities ! In the seventies he founded calvados Lelouvier, a company that he could hand down to his 11 children. His son Christian took over the management. It was at le Ferté Macé in the Orne departement in the « domaine des champs », André Lelouvier's home, that the calvados was then aged. In 2016, on the death of Christian Lelouvier, the company's business was taken over by Calvados Christian Drouin SAS.
A merchant - producer couple
André Lelouvier devoted his life to seeking out the best Calvados everywhere in the Normandy countryside. His obsession was to get hold of the best spirits so as to age, improve and transform them. André Lelouvier's talent lay in his ability to raise young spirits to exceptional heights as mature Calvados. He was a master in the art of aging through the choice of casks, the blending, etc.. In his quest for the best Calvados André Lelouvier received precious help from his wife Cécile who excelled in tasting. André Lelouvier bought thousands of liter of calvados during his lifetime, but never concluded a purchase without the approval of his wife.
Good spirit can only be produced from good cider. Lelouvier Calvados is made from top-quality ciders with a subtle blend of different apple and pear varieties. The apple are harvested in the autumn and then stored until they reach full maturity while the pears, being more fragile, are crushed and brewed immediately.
The fruit is crushed by means of a mechanical grater. The pulp is then taken to the press and pressed using traditional methods. The juice obtained is known as the "must".
After several months the cider is said to have become dry since it no longer contains any sugar. It can then be distilled. Distillation is performed once only, in a column still. The spirit, known as « Blanche » with its flavors of apple and pear, drips slowly from the still.
The principe of distillation is simple : it involves separating the alcohol and the more subtle aromas from the water. When the cider is heated the alcohol it contains evaporates before the water. It is condensed by cooling so as to be collected.The result is a distillate that will become calvados.
The mobile still travels from farm to farm to distill the ciders of the previous year.
A vital stage in the development of the flavor of a calvados, aging depends on a combination of several factors :-Preponderance of small casks
-Absence of new casks
-Regular movement of the alcohol
-Slow reduction in alcohol content
-Slow variation in temperature
On contact with the air and the wood the calvados ages slowly and progressively acquired its natural amber color, its extrem subtlety and its ability to linger on the palate. The fresh fruit aromas are complemented by notes of preserved fruits and spice bread.