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The now and forever official brandy thread


ChrisTaylor
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There's a single malt whisky thread. I may or may not have loaded it up with comments about bourbon and rye and other things that are not single malt whisky. Luckily, this here is the brandy there. 'Brandy' is a very broad category, running from inexpensive rotgut to very expensive, highly sought after cognac. Not to mention brandy-based liqueurs such as Grand Marnier. Or things like Laird's apple brandy.

 

This thread is, I guess, the brandy version of the malt whisky thread. What are your favourite brandies? Which do you like to sip? Which do you mix with? Which brandies do you treat as your go-to--acceptable for the occasional cocktail and sipping? Do you have anything special in your collection? Have you tried anything special at a bar or restaurant recently?

 

My personal collection has grown. The first brandy I ever tried and liked was cognac. Mass produced cognac, to be sure, but cognac nonetheless. Enough to keep me amused for a few years before I got around to venturing outside that very specific region. It's very much something I'm still discovering. With a lot of aged brandies I get bashed over the head by oak and have to really contemplate the more subtle differences. 

 

Things I have at the moment:

 

KWV 10. This is a South African brandy. I had shit South African brandy when I was in Zimbabwe (Old Meester or something like that--maybe even a younger KWV) but this is pleasant. Locally, at least, it's $50AUD. From memory it was cheaper still in Zimbabwe. If you can get your hands on it, it's good. Out-of-this-world? No. Perhaps a little one dimensional. Perhaps a little rough in places that a stunning cognac mightn't be. But for the odd sip or as a cocktail ingredient? Can't go wrong. I know that locally, unless I stumble across some random special or weird markdown, this is the best I'll get at a price point that's still arguably 'bottom shelf'. The older variants are affordable, too (i.e. there's not the massive price jump of something like Glenfiddich).

 

Jean-Luc Pasquet L'organic VS. My go-to bottle-o, Nick's, used to promote this range heavily. With good reason. At roughly the same price point, VS-wise, to Martell and Hennessy (and much cheaper than those when it comes to the XO) I think it's a superior product. Smaller producer and all. Stunning? Perhaps not. Have owned the XO and the VS. The XO was at a price point where I didn't feel bad using it in a Sazerac if that's all I had around on the brandy front. 

 

Magno Solera Reserve Brandy de Jerez. Almost as ridiculously long a title as Star Wars - Episode 3 - The Revenge of the Sith. This is kind of bad, although not undrinkable. Purchased it to make Rafa's 'Man Comes Around' cocktail. Suspect this bottle will last me a good long while. Suspect, too, someone may have ninjaed into the production plant with a bottle or ... umm ... truck of caramel colouring.

 

Torres Jamie I 30. Just had to post a photo of the fiddly-to-open packaging. Frustraingly hard-to-open bottle, too. You're paranoid--or I am, anyway--that you're going to snap the cork. Did that accidentally with a particularly disagreeable bottle of Booker's, once. Anyway. When I first tried this stuff I was very impressed. Have ... not gone cold on it, but become less enamored with it as time has gone on. It's good but I doubt I'd buy a second bottle, despite it being very affordable for an aged brandy (altho', yeah, solera). Rich. Rich but lacking something a spirit that is at least in some small part older than me needs to have. 

 

DSC_0064_zps50af3d02.jpg

 

Still, nice box.

 

Janneau Napolean Grand Armagnac. Yet to really sink my teeth into this one. I mean, I've had a wee nip and thought it was good but that is all. Yet to explore it fully. Picked this up as a blind buy at what amounted to half the usual price.

 

Some other things: Laird's bonded and apple brandy. Some shit pisco. Some shit apricot brandy. The standard Marnier. 

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Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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  • 5 months later...

I think it's just a marketing thing. An air of the regal or ... whatever. And different types of brandy? Shit, man, brandy is about a broad a term as any--encompassing everything from Pisco to those mysterious bottles at your local bottleshop that hail from Eastern Europe to sweet Pedro Jiménez-based products. It's a bit like asking for a list of the kinds of noodle. Are you interested in a specific kind of brandy? My point is: you're going to have to be a bit more specific about what you want, even though I suspect you don't want to be, to get good information. Asking about the child category that is 'filled noodles, Italian-style' as opposed to the mother category of 'noodles' will probably yield a better outcome. 

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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It's real simple:  Toots and I were looking for brandy today to use in some eggnog I'm going to make.  She had an almost empty bottle of "Napoleon" brandy in her cupboard, liked it for her purposes, and wanted to get some more of the same.  She asked if I knew what Napoleon brandy is compared to other brandies, I didn't know, so I said I'd ask here.  Neither of us drink, so we're pretty ignorant of the various types of alcoholic beverages on the market, although we do enjoy an occasional beer and sometimes some wine and, for special times, a bit of champagne.

 

You've answered my question about the different types of brandies.  I'm curious to see what others say about Napoleon brandy.

 

Thanks!

 ... Shel


 

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As far as I can make out, 'Napoleon' has no legal significance when applied to brandy. I may be wrong; my conclusion is based on a brief online search (aka 'Google') for "Napoleon brandy". My search mostly revealed that fine chains such as Aldi sell the stuff, so I think it's safe to conclude that they put the 'Napoleon' on the bottle because the head of marketing said she didn't care how damn ironic the art department guys are feeling, they can't use 'Fancy pants' on the label, and that's final.

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Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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