Who We Are
An uber small operation importing and distributing geeky spirits in the US.
PM stands for 'Paul-Marie'. PM Spirits is a tribute to Nicolas Palazzi’s late father, Paul-Marie Palazzi.
What We Do
Our trips to Cognac France are supposed to be spent in hidden cellars tasting those casks that are kept for family use only; in fact they mostly consist of interminable lunches with artisan distillers who have been retired for decades, have no specific schedule to keep and not much else to do that day. They also happen to have an extremely high tolerance for alcohol, from the local Vins de Pays to their Pineaux and cognacs.
We import cool spirits made by small artisan distillers we are friends with. While we mostly focus on our primary love, cognac (both the cognacs we bottle ourselves under our own label and the cognac that our friends bottle under theirs), those spirits include, as of now, grappa from Sicily (Frank Cornelissen) and single casks of spanish brandies (a joint project with Equipo Navazos).
We distribute in New York State the above mentioned cool spirits as well as some other awesome stuff we are sourcing from different areas of the U.S. (read California) or the world (right now that would be Mexico and Spain.)
Most importantly we bottle/import/distribute/sell only artisan spirits we would DRINK.
We have plans for world domination by artisan spirits through education and tastings … and some drinking too.
As of today we are using the good people of USA Wine Imports in NY for the logistics. We distribute to 16 states and counting.
What We Believe
We believe in artisan spirits made by independent and passionate people dedicated to the craft specific to their spirits.
We believe in products made by actual human beings rather than by Skynet; that is to say we have more trust in people using their noses and palates to determine when to cut the head and/or tails during the distillation process than in those who use algorithms to run their stills.
We believe in spirits made, aged, and bottled pure – ZERO additives.
We have faith in spirits that reflect both a sense of place and the craftsmanship of their makers. Now we are not strict to the point of counting the water used to bring down the proof as an additive…so water is fine, as long as its use is justified.
We believe that bottling things at 40% ethanol (40% alc/vol or 80% abv) without trying to find the spirit’s optimal proof is nonsense and usually the manifestation of someone trying to make more cash by diluting so more spirits can be made out of the initial volume of distillate.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying all spirits at 40% alc./vol. are bad; all we’re saying is that there must be a reason for a spirit to be bottled at this legal minimal proof other than the obvious economic one. We import and distribute some spirits at 40% alc./vol, because they taste better than the full proof stuff.
We believe that spirits are like wines: there are as many aroma and flavor profiles as there are small makers distilling those products.
We have nothing against blends; some are plain amazing and we drink quite a bit of those. As a matter of fact some products we sell are blends.
We just feel that Robert Watlers’ words on grower Champagne (The World of Fine Wine – Issue 34 – 2011) also per- fectly describes the world of grower cognac: “(Champagne) producers typically blend many different wines from different parts of the region in order, they say, to achieve a consistent house style, or as one (Champagne) website puts it, ‘to achieve a quality that is greater than the sum of its parts.’ There is no desire directly to reflect the personality or terroir of any particular parcel of vines, whose wines would be supposed to lack balance, complexity and harmony of a multi-vineyard blend. The ‘art of the blender’ is a convenient myth that diverts our attention from the historical factors that led to blending becoming the norm (in Champagne), as it did in many other countries. If the role of blending described above sounds familiar, it is. Most large, industrial-scale wine producers across the globe follow this multi-region or multi-terroir blending model. However, this logic, or recipe, is highly unusual when it comes to high-quality French wines of France. When wine travelers thing about the greatest wine of France, they nearly always think of wines that derive from single vineyard, estate or commune (i-e small geographic areas), of wines that speak of their place of origine.”
There is a world beyond blends, and (good) single casks expressions are here to prove it. Small producers do try to achieve some kind of “house style” via blending. But by not having enormous amounts of product to blend from, this style will most likely evolve a little over the years.That is what makes those bottlings interesting as opposed to predictably boring.
What You Won't Find in Our Portfolio
When people ask “what brands do you rep?” the answer is usually, “Most likely nothing you would have heard about—we don’t do brands.” Not because we are too snobby to rep brands. We wish we had brands, it would be easier to sell. But when you are small, the reality is, you don’t represent brands. And that is not such a bad thing.
So we don’t do brands. And we seriously doubt we’ll ever see shots of a bottle of Guillon-Painturaud VSOP sitting on a nightclub’s table in a video for a new Jay-Z’ song entitled “Pass me the GP”.
Much like wine importers carry guys from Vacqueyras, Cour-Cheverny or Wachau who do cool stuff but have not been featured in GQ (yet), we have a list of small spirits producers that are worth looking into, even though some of their names are quite unpronounceable.
Because artisan spirits are expensive to make and require knowledge, equipment, and a lot of time to be well made (and aged), when made in limited quantities by small families/makers, those products will not be able to compete with spirits made by the millions of cases.
Distillation may not be measured off by a computer. It is likely that the process is not streamlined nor extremely ef- ficient. The main problem small distiller face is that the attention to detail will show in the quality of the spirit, but perhaps no one will truly appreciate what it takes to get there. Those products are very likely to be better (truth is, some are not) than what other producers put on the market, but it costs more to make it. The time, the effort, the materials, the necessary bottom line – it’s very expensive. The question is: are people willing to invest in that kind of effort?
We are, and we kinda hope you will too. So yes, artisan spirits are slightly more expensive than the mass produced stuff. Because quality, uniqueness and craft have a price.
We don’t do “smooth”. Smooth is not a descriptor. Just like “yummy” or “tasty” are not descriptors for wine.
If one wants “smooth”, one does not want to drink spirits with personality. The whole point of artisan spirits is reflecting a terroir and a craftsmanship; “smooth” is what is left when a spirit is mass produced and has nothing else to give.
“Smooth” is the politically correct term to describe something that is so easy to drink it could be replaced by any other liquid without making any difference since it is not soliciting one’s brain. If anything, good artisan spirits are balanced. They are not “smooth.”
We don’t do boring. We don’t do “smooth.”
You won’t find “small batches” product either. Why?
Because it does not mean anything. By definition a spirit made by artisan distillers is in limited supply because those people own a limited amount of land (or buy a limited amount of material to distill). Since they are not multi-billion dollar companies (not that there is anything wrong with that), they make product in finite quantities; and they do not say they do small batches because it is obvious. “Small batch” spirits are a convenient marketing denomination to make believe said spirits are made in small amounts. Coincidentally the size of the “small batch” is never mentioned. Nor is the amount of those “small batches” made per day. The largest producer we represent is a family of 5 people. They ARE small. They don’t need to write “small batch” on their label.
How You Can Help Us in Our Quest for World Domination
By experimenting yourself with spirits in the same way you do with wine, beer, coffee, tea etc.
By inciting your friends, clients, guests, colleagues to get out of their comfort zone and try new things that they might have never heard about. Who knows? They might like it; and you’ll be their hero.
The pages that follow are the products we bottle/import/distribute.
We do plenty of staff trainings, seminars, dinners etc…so feel free to ask. And let us know if you would be interested in tasting any of our spirits.