Discover The Best Calvados Brands: A Comprehensive Guide

Calvados is an apple brandy produced in Normandy, France. This distinctive spirit has a long and varied history, with production methods ranging from small-scale distilleries to larger commercial producers.

In this guide, we will explore the different types of Calvados available, as well as some of the top brands to try. We will also provide tips for enjoying Calvados responsibly and safely.

Read on to learn more about this unique and delicious beverage.

Key Takeaways

  • Christian Drouin, Dupont, and Busnel are three of the top Calvados brands known for their high-quality spirits.
  • Calvados is a brandy produced in Normandy, France, and is distilled from cider made from apples.
  • The flavor of Calvados can range from sweet to dry, and it is often enjoyed neat or as an accompaniment to desserts.
  • There are different types of Calvados, such as Pommeau, Vieux or Aged Calvados, and VSOP, each offering a unique flavor profile and aging process.

What is Calvados?

Calvados is a brandy produced in the French region of Lower Normandy, distilled from cider made from apples. The process involves fermenting and distilling the apples to create an alcoholic beverage with an ABV between 40% and 45%.

It has a unique flavor that can range from sweet to dry, depending on the type of apple used. Calvados is often enjoyed neat or as an accompaniment to desserts such as crème brûlée or tarte tatin.

It can also be included in cocktails for added depth and complexity of flavor. Calvados has become increasingly popular around the world due to its well-balanced profile, making it the perfect spirit for any occasion.

History of Calvados Production

Production of the distilled apple brandy known as Calvados has its origins in Normandy, France. This region is renowned for its cider and Calvados production, which dates back to the 16th century:

Quality: Cider apples are used to produce a high-quality spirit that is aged in oak barrels.

Distillation: The process is done slowly and carefully; distillers take their time to get the best flavor.

Appellation: The AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) regulates production and makes sure it meets certain standards.

Popularity: Once a popular drink among sailors, Calvados became popular with other people over time.

Marketing: It has been marketed as an elegant and sophisticated drink across Europe and beyond.

Varieties: There are multiple varieties available that differ in strength, taste, aging processes, etc.

Types of Calvados

Due to the AOC’s standards, Calvados is available in several varieties that differ in strength, taste, and aging processes.

The most common type of Calvados is Pommeau, which has an ABV of 17-20%. It is made from equal parts apple cider and apple brandy, then aged for two years in oak casks.

Another type of Calvados is Vieux or Aged Calvados. This type is made from 40% pomace distillate and 60% cider brandy and must be aged for at least two years in oak barrels.

There are also other types such as VSOP (Very Special Old Pale), XO (Extra Old), Hors d’Age (Beyond Age) and Single Distillery Casks that are produced according to very rigorous standards by the AOC.

Each variety offers a unique flavor profile with varying levels of sweetness, acidity, tannins, woodiness and complexity.

Top Calvados Brands to Try

Calvados is an apple brandy produced in the Normandy region of France. It is known for its high quality distillates. Among the most popular Calvados brands are Christian Drouin, Dupont and Busnel. These brands have long-standing reputations for producing excellent Calvados with unique tastes and aromas.

In this article, we will look at each of these three brands in detail. This will help you discover which one might be perfect for your personal taste.

Christian Drouin

Christian Drouin is a family-owned Calvados distillery located in the Pays d’Auge region of Normandy, France. Established in 1948, it has been producing high-quality spirits for generations and is now managed by the fourth generation of the Drouin family. Its premises have remained unchanged since its founding, giving Christian Drouin an authentic charm.

Its Calvados is made from a blend of local apples and pears, selected from more than 130 varieties that are grown on site. The resulting spirit is double distilled in copper pot stills then aged for several years in oak casks before being blended to create its signature taste.

With its history rich with tradition, Christian Drouin provides a unique experience to any calvados connoisseur looking for an unforgettable tasting journey into Normandy’s past.


Moving on from Christian Drouin, Dupont is another renowned Calvados brand that has made a name for itself in the spirit industry. Founded in 1788 and located in the heart of Normandy, France, this distillery has crafted exquisite Calvados over centuries with an unwavering commitment to quality:

  1. The apples used for the spirits are sourced directly from local orchards and harvested by hand.

  2. The distillation process lasts up to three weeks and uses traditional copper pot stills.

  3. Dupont ages its cuvées in French oak barrels for at least two years prior to bottling them for sale.

The result of their time-tested methods is a range of Calvados that celebrates the region’s heritage while also pushing boundaries with innovative flavor profiles that will captivate any connoisseur’s palate.


Busnel is a Calvados distillery located in the Pays d’Auge region of Normandy, France, established in 1820 by Jean Busnel. It is one of the oldest Calvados producers in France.

The company’s production process uses traditional methods and results in a wide range of spirits that are full-bodied and robust with a mildly sweet flavor profile.

Busnel has produced several award-winning Calvados varieties including their VSOP Reserve and XO Grande Reserve varieties which have been aged for at least four years. They also offer an extensive selection of blends, flavored spirits, and single cask bottlings.

In addition to their Calvados offerings, Busnel produces gin, rum, whisky, cognac, Armagnac as well as liqueurs such as crème de menthe and crème de cassis.

Their products are available worldwide for those who desire the ultimate freedom to enjoy high-quality spirits from one of France’s most esteemed producers.

Tips for Enjoying Calvados

Calvados is best enjoyed when served cold and sipped slowly. To gain the most flavor, allow Calvados to open up in your mouth over time. It should be swirled around the tongue while taking short breaths through the nose to fully appreciate its unique flavor profile.

Try different kinds of Calvados at a range of temperatures to identify what works best for you personally. You may find that higher proof Calvados is more suitable for straight drinking than lower proof varieties. For mixed cocktails, go with a lower proof spirit so as not to overpower other ingredients.

With these tips in hand, you can confidently enjoy all that Calvados has to offer!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Calvados and other spirits?

Calvados is an alcoholic beverage distilled from cider or apple juice. It is a type of brandy, and has a distinct flavor profile that differs from other spirits due to the primary ingredients used in its production. Calvados typically has a higher ABV than other liquors, and is often consumed as an after-dinner drink.

How much alcohol does Calvados contain?

Calvados is a spirit with an alcoholic content of 35-40%, depending on its age. It is made from specially selected apples and pears, distilled and aged in oak barrels. Its high alcohol content makes it a strong drink best enjoyed in small amounts.

What is the best way to store Calvados?

Calvados should be stored in a dark, cool place, away from direct sunlight and heat. It should also be kept in an upright position to ensure that the cork remains moist and secure. The bottle should not exceed 21 degrees Celsius. Regularly check for signs of spoilage or leakage.

Are there any health benefits associated with Calvados?

Calvados may offer some health benefits due to its natural components, such as antioxidants and enzymes. Studies suggest that moderate consumption of calvados may reduce the risk of certain diseases, improve digestion and boost the immune system.

How long does Calvados last after being opened?

Calvados, a type of apple brandy, can retain its quality for several months after being opened as long as it is sealed and stored in a cool, dark place. However, the flavor will eventually change over time.

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