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Applejack


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#61 eje

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 01:00 PM

Out here, the blended AppleJack is around $15 and Laird's bonded (100 proof) Apple Brandy is $19.

I've also heard good things about Clear Creek's Apple Brandy, aged 2 years and around $25.

The aged apple brandies are significantly more expensive. The Laird's 12 year is around $60 and the Clear Creek 8 year $40.
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#62 lancastermike

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 01:18 PM

If you can get the Laird's Bonded I urge you to do so. I made sidecars with it the other night and they were much better than ones I have made in the past with the blend. I have a little of the blend left and other than mixing it with cider I'm not sure I will use it again.

In PA the Laidrs's bonded is a special order item, but it well worth it

Edited by lancastermike, 15 October 2007 - 01:19 PM.


#63 David Santucci

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 11:34 AM

If you like your drinks on the dry side, as I do, I would recommend seeking out Laird's "Old Apple Brandy". It is 7½ years old and bottled at 80 proof. For cocktails with lots of sweet and/or sour, the bonded stuff is fine, but if you're going to mix a cocktail that mostly applejack, the extra few years of aging really make a difference in the final product.

Edited by David Santucci, 16 October 2007 - 11:36 AM.


#64 kvltrede

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 11:48 AM

My experience is that any store that carries the blended stuff can get the bonded, it's just a matter of whether they care enough.

-Andy

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Not in Chicago. Well, not at the biggest store in town anyway. Sam's is happy to special order but they couldn't get the bonded Laird's for me. They do carry the bonded Captain Applejack, fortunately, but despite what I was told by someone in the sales dept. at Laird's I don't believe these are the same product in different packages. The Captain Applejack is a noticeably inferior product, though not significantly so. The Captain Applejack is a little hotter and a little less "apple-y". The color's a little different too. I wouldn't think twice about drinking the bonded Laird's neat. The Captain Applejack gets an ice cube or two.

Admittedly, my sample is limited to a single bottle of each. I suppose the difference could be a matter of the bottles being the result of different batches.

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#65 eje

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:45 PM

Picked up a small bottle of the Clear Creek young Apple Brandy yesterday along with a new bottle of the Laird's Bonded and a bottle of Morice Calvados Pays D'Auge. I think these are all young apple brandies, so it will be interesting to compare them along with the Germain-Robin Apple Brandy I've been mixing with lately.

Initial impressions of the Clear Creek are that it is pretty young and hot on the tongue. It was tasty mixed in a cocktail.

Hmm... I see along with Calvados, Bénédictine is also produced in the Normandy region of France. Anyone experimented with Calvados (or Apple Brandy) and Bénédictine? I don't see any recipes which combine the two in the Cocktaildb.
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#66 mkayahara

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:47 PM

Hmm...  I see along with Calvados, Bénédictine is also produced in the Normandy region of France.  Anyone experimented with Calvados (or Apple Brandy) and Bénédictine?  I don't see any recipes which combine the two in the Cocktaildb.

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Isn't a Widow's Kiss made with both of those? It's one of my favourite nightcaps...
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#67 eje

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:54 PM

Yep, you're right!

I missed it when I was scanning the list of cocktails.

Though, hmmm... One ounce of apple brandy, 3/4 oz of Benedictine, 3/4 oz of Yellow Chartreuse, and a dash of bitters sounds awfully sweet.

I guess I was thinking more along the lines of the Vieux Carre or Cocktail a la Louisiane.
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#68 bostonapothecary

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:58 PM

Yep, you're right!

I missed it when I was scanning the list of cocktails.

Though, hmmm...  One ounce of apple brandy, 3/4 oz of Benedictine, 3/4 oz of Yellow Chartreuse, and a dash of bitters sounds awfully sweet.

I guess I was thinking more along the lines of the Vieux Carre or Cocktail a la Louisiane.

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widow's kiss is a 2:1:1 + bitters... i had it last at green street's chartreuse event... one of the best drinks i've ever had...

under the golden ratio all spirits still get equal footing... delicious.

i think that apple brandy is a great foil for singlemalt scotches in a vieux carre

Edited by bostonapothecary, 17 October 2007 - 01:00 PM.

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#69 eje

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:04 PM

Oh, huh, 2-1-1 is what it is in the Savoy Cocktail Book. Wonder where that rather sweet sounding Cocktaildb Widow's Kiss recipe came from?

So many cocktails to try.

Edited by eje, 17 October 2007 - 01:05 PM.

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#70 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:25 PM

I normally do 2 dashes Angostura and make the drink very small (2 oz total) and I find it scarcely sweeter than a de la Louisiane, both of which are perfect for after dinner.

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#71 bostonapothecary

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:47 PM

I normally do 2 dashes Angostura and make the drink very small (2 oz total) and I find it scarcely sweeter than a de la Louisiane, both of which are perfect for after dinner.

-Andy

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these sweet drinks are making me curious. sugar is a serious flavor enhancer but can so easily hit the cloying point of no return.

i think i will make a standard 2:1 manhattan, measure its sugar content and then compare it to a 2:1:1 widow's kiss. who wants to put a bet down on what % more sweet in brix it is? it could be 15 to 20% sweeter...

creole shrub is 36 brix. that is madness to me... sweet vermouth is 25... who knows where benedictine and yellow chartreuse fall in between...
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#72 mkayahara

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:56 PM

Brix aside, I think there are other factors that affect perceived sweetness, like the bitters. (Sour, too, but that doesn't apply in this case.) I use green Chartreuse in my Widow's Kisses (Widows' Kisses?), and while it's sweet, it's never struck me as being cloying, even all on its own. Benedictine, on the other hand, I find to be cloying unless it's mixed. (Yellow Chartreuse isn't available in Ontario, so I haven't had enough of it to know how sweet it is.)

Anyway, I'd be interested to see your results. Let me be the first to bet that the Widow's Kiss is the sweeter of the two!
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#73 Kent Wang

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 08:47 PM

Picked up a small bottle of the Clear Creek young Apple Brandy yesterday along with a new bottle of the Laird's Bonded and a bottle of Morice Calvados Pays D'Auge.  I think these are all young apple brandies, so it will be interesting to compare them along with the Germain-Robin Apple Brandy I've been mixing with lately.

Initial impressions of the Clear Creek are that it is pretty young and hot on the tongue.  It was tasty mixed in a cocktail.

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Is this the same as "CLEAR CREEK APPLE EAU DE VIE [USA] 375ML 21.67"? I'm thinking not. Would an apple eau de vie go well with Laird's bonded, to make a super-applelicious drink?

#74 eje

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 09:11 PM

Is this the same as "CLEAR CREEK APPLE EAU DE VIE  [USA]  375ML  21.67"? I'm thinking not. Would an apple eau de vie go well with Laird's bonded, to make a super-applelicious drink?

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I dunno, Clear Creek makes a few apple products.

Clear Creek Apple

One is a 2 year aged apple brandy and the other is a 8 year old apple brandy. They also do an apple brandy with an apple in a bottle.

They all say "Eau de Vie de Pomme" at some place on the label.

The two year apple brandy seems a bit close to the Laird's bonded to add much interest to a cocktail. The 8 year is closer to a Calvados, with prominent oak flavors.
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#75 eje

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 09:16 PM

these sweet drinks are making me curious. sugar is a serious flavor enhancer but can so easily hit the cloying point of no return.

i think i will make a standard 2:1 manhattan, measure its sugar content and then compare it to a 2:1:1 widow's kiss. who wants to put a bet down on what % more sweet in brix it is? it could be 15 to 20% sweeter...

creole shrub is 36 brix. that is madness to me... sweet vermouth is 25... who knows where benedictine and yellow chartreuse fall in between...

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After trying the 2-1-1 Widow's Kiss, I'm gonna say, at least 20%, maybe more. Though, it is pretty tough to judge percentages. To me the Widow's Kiss is is much closer to the Bijou than a Manhattan. Bijou cocktails are borderline too sweet for me.

I would also bet that Yellow Chartreuse is pretty close to clement creole shrubb in brix.
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#76 eje

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 09:39 PM

Taste off between Clear Creek 2 year Apple Brandy, Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy, Germain-Robin Apple Brandy, and Calvados Morice.

First note, the Calvados is really different in character from the American Apple Brandy.

The American Apple Brandies have clean apple flavors.

The Calvados tastes and smells vinegar-ish. It has the funky flavor I associate with British Hard Cider. Is it good that they capture the flavor of fermented cider rather than apple fruit?

Of the American products, the Laird's and Clear Creek are quite similar. The Clear Creek seems to have a spice character I don't notice in the Laird's. The Germain-Robin is the most sippable and gentile. I don't know if it is twice as nice as the Clear Creek or three times as nice as the Laird's; but, it is noticeably smoother. None have much noticeable Oak character.

I'll be interested to try an older Calvados or American Apple Brandy to see how the flavors develop.

edit - post brandy typos.

Edited by eje, 18 October 2007 - 09:21 AM.

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#77 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 02:26 AM

I normally do 2 dashes Angostura and make the drink very small (2 oz total) and I find it scarcely sweeter than a de la Louisiane, both of which are perfect for after dinner.

-Andy

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these sweet drinks are making me curious. sugar is a serious flavor enhancer but can so easily hit the cloying point of no return.

i think i will make a standard 2:1 manhattan, measure its sugar content and then compare it to a 2:1:1 widow's kiss. who wants to put a bet down on what % more sweet in brix it is? it could be 15 to 20% sweeter...

creole shrub is 36 brix. that is madness to me... sweet vermouth is 25... who knows where benedictine and yellow chartreuse fall in between...

View Post


Of course the Widow's Kiss will be significantly sweeter than a Manhattan, just as TBA is sweeter than brut Champagne. You wouldn't want a Widow's Kiss before your meal (and I for one rarely want something like a Manhattan after one) just as one wouldn't have late harvest wine with their hors d'ouvres. For me, with drinking, context is everything.

And while the WK will always be the sweeter drink, I would think the sweetness (to say nothing of the perceived sweetness of the two drinks has much to do with brands and bottlings used. No getting away from a drink that is 50% liqueur being sweet, but I typically find Bourbon Manhattans bordering on inappropriate for preprandial consumption whereas one with Rye is my preferred aperitif. To each his own.

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#78 TBoner

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 04:28 AM

FWIW, eje,

I have made some fine (though not exceptional) variants on the Vieux Carre that used both Benedictine and Laird's bonded. The best of these were one using Laird's and a bonded bourbon (an old Old Forester) and one using Laird's and an anejo tequila (with Bianco vermouth instead of sweet). I would say experimentation may need to go in another direction than the Vieux Carre to yield something truly brilliant, though. YMMV.
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#79 eje

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 03:25 PM

re: Vieux Carre Variation

I tried one with Clear Creek Apple Brandy, Compass Box Asyla, Carpano Antica, Benedictine and Angostura bitters last night.

It was all right. For me there wasn't enough contrast between the flavors of the spirits for it to be truly interesting. Maybe a dash of stronger flavored Scotch?

Of course, my poor addled brains failed to remember this Vieux Carre variation. No wonder it seemed like a good idea...
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#80 TBoner

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 04:56 PM

re: Vieux Carre Variation

I tried one with Clear Creek Apple Brandy, Compass Box Asyla, Carpano Antica, Benedictine and Angostura bitters last night.

It was all right.  For me there wasn't enough contrast between the flavors of the spirits for it to be truly interesting.  Maybe a dash of stronger flavored Scotch?

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Stronger-flavored Scotch might work. I think bourbon, rye, tequila, and rum have in common a more distinctly spicy sweetness from the barrels and/or the distillate themselves that yields an interesting contrast to the fruity assault of bonded Laird's. I actually think younger products are better in this case, too (though Asyla is not an extra-aged product). Maybe Talisker 10 or even a well-peated bottle of Glen Garioch 8? A pricier drink, then, to be sure (at least with Talisker), but it might improve things. Even the spice and burnt-sugar notes of Saz Jr. might be worth a shot.

All that said, as I mentioned upthread, I wonder if experimentation might need to evolve in a different direction. I have some homemade pimento dram that I think might do well with Laird's, a bit of Benedictine, and then...something else to counter the sweetness of the whole mess. I had considered dry vermouth, but that's likely too herbal. Maybe I'll play with a couple of recipes this weekend and see what I can figure out. Tonight, I have too much work to get done, but I think there has to be something great involving these two ingredients; just a matter of discovering it.

Edited by TBoner, 19 October 2007 - 04:53 AM.

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#81 bostonapothecary

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 09:43 PM

re: Vieux Carre Variation

I tried one with Clear Creek Apple Brandy, Compass Box Asyla, Carpano Antica, Benedictine and Angostura bitters last night.

It was all right.  For me there wasn't enough contrast between the flavors of the spirits for it to be truly interesting.  Maybe a dash of stronger flavored Scotch?

Of course, my poor addled brains failed to remember this Vieux Carre variation.  No wonder it seemed like a good idea...

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you might want a less intense vermouth as well...
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#82 David Santucci

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 07:59 AM

It was all right.  For me there wasn't enough contrast between the flavors of the spirits for it to be truly interesting.  Maybe a dash of stronger flavored Scotch?

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Or you could just leave out the brandy and have a perfectly delicious Bobby Burns. The Vieux Carré is one of those cocktails that has a cool name but just really doesn't live up to it. Probably there is a combination of whiskey and brandy that could work, but your time might be better spent on something that starts out with a recipe that is as good as or better than its name. Like the Fine and Dandy -- horrible name, good cocktail.

#83 eje

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 03:59 PM

Actually, I really enjoyed the Amber Rhum Agricole, Applejack, and Punt e Mes version of the Vieux Carre.

The Scotch, Calvados, Bianco Vermouth, and grapefruit twist version was also really nice. The way the grapefruit twist combined with the Scotch really pulled it together in an interesting way.

But, I agree, it probably comes down to picking your ingredients carefully, and a Bobby Burns is a much less finicky drink.
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#84 TBoner

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 03:54 PM

So, a week or so ago I came across 2 bottles of the 12-yr Laird's Apple Brandy. $53. Hmm...the Calvados I use for mixing regularly (and occasional sipping) is just over half that price.

But, in reading through this thread, I see that the 12-yr was perhaps produced only once, for the holiday season, a few years back? If this is the case, my interest is piqued, because I'm a bit of a junkie for out-of-production liquor. Further, it may be my only chance to taste this product.

Regardless, I only collect to drink (eventually), so I'm wondering if anyone has any opinions to offer regarding the cost and relative merits of this stuff. If I spend $50 on a bottle, it's going to be for drinking neat, with maybe one or two occasional cocktails in the mix.

Any opinions or experience beyond what little is stated earlier in the thread?

EDIT: By the way, Erik, I posted in the Drinks! thread about a sort-of Vieux Carre variation with AJack and Benedictine. At first, I didn't know if the contrast between rye and ajack was significant enough, but with all Laird's the drink borders on cloying. The rye does its job well.

Edited by TBoner, 21 October 2007 - 06:07 PM.

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#85 jsmeeker

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 08:35 PM

picked up a bottle of Laird's Applejack this weekend. Just the regular, blended stuff. They didn't have the bonded.

Made an Apple Cart with it. Pretty good. A little tarter than the sidecar I whip up. But I could taste apple in it. Not bad. Now, I need to try some other things with it.

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#86 kvltrede

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 04:38 PM

...Sam's is happy to special order but they couldn't get the bonded Laird's for me. They do carry the bonded Captain Applejack, fortunately, but despite what I was told by someone in the sales dept. at Laird's I don't believe these are the same product in different packages. The Captain Applejack is a noticeably inferior product, though not significantly so. The Captain Applejack is a little hotter and a little less "apple-y". The color's a little different too. I wouldn't think twice about drinking the bonded Laird's neat. The Captain Applejack gets an ice cube or two.

Admittedly, my sample is limited to a single bottle of each....

I happened to be in Sam's last night and much to my surprise and delight it appears they are now able to get the bonded Laird's. Instead of the Captain Applejack I found three bottles of the Laird's Straight Apple Brandy on the shelf next to the blended Laird's. Nice.

The other big deal for me was finding Carpano Antica in the vermouth section. I'm not sure I'll ever splurge on a $30+ vermouth but at least now I have the option.

FYI, neither is listed at the Sam's website yet.

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#87 KatieLoeb

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 12:39 AM

I'm experimenting with a tall autumnal drink for the fall/winter cocktail menu.

Spiced Apple-Rum Rickey

1 oz. Laird 7.5 yr. old Applejack
1 oz. Sailor Jerry's Spiced Rum
.5 oz. fresh lime juice
.25 oz. Spiced simple syrup
Fresh orange twist
Club Soda

Build in a Collins glass and fill with soda. Stir and enjoy.

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#88 rlibkind

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 07:48 AM

Katie, have you taste-tested it with Laird's bonded vs. applejack?
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#89 KatieLoeb

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 01:42 PM

Bob:

The bonded is delicious but not what I have available at the bar. We'll soon have the regular listed Laird's Applejack as well (for hot cider toddies), but having tasted through the line we decided the limited shelf real estate was better served with the 7.5 yr. old since it was more versatile for mixing or drinking neat. The bonded is just too hot for that.

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#90 David Santucci

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 01:56 PM

...having tasted through the line...

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How does the 12 yo compare to the 7.5?