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jackal10

Applejack

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I think sam can give us the full lowdown, but the bonded has a much larger concentration of apple flavor, due to the increase number of apples used to process the bottle:

• It takes 7,000 pounds of apples to produce one barrel of apple brandy.

• A 750 ML bottle of Lairds AppleJack - 6lbs of apples

• A 750 ML bottle of Lairds 7-1/2 Year Old Apple Brandy - 16lbs of apples

• A 750 ML bottle of Lairds Apple Bond - 20lbs of apples

• A 750 ML bottle of Laird’s 12 Year Old Apple Brandy - 30lbs of apples

You can definatley tell the difference between the taste and nose of the bonded vs. non-bonded. If you smell the side-by-side the apple aroma of the bonded is off the chart.

John


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Yes, Laird's Bonded Applejack is now being brought into NYC! As johnder points out, they've got some in at Pegu Club. Spread the word to your local bars that Eber is bringing it in, and they should make the call to put in an order. Also, put some pressure on your favorite local liquor sources. I'd love to be able to tell Astor Wines that, if they order 3 cases of bonded applejack, it will fly off the shelves.

If you've never tried the bonded stuff, it's well worth it. The difference between regular Laird's Applejack and Laird's Apple Bond is twofold:

First, Laird's Applejack is at 80 proof and Laird's Apple Bond is at 100 proof. Proof impacts intensity of flavor, because an 80 proof spirit contains 20% more water than a 100 proof spirit.

Second, at some point in the 60s or 70s, the US government decided that if Laird's wanted to call their product "applejack" instead of "apple brandy," it had to be a blended product. Laird's Applejack is a blend, containing about 35% apple brandy blended with 65% neutral spirits. Laird's Apple Bond is 100% apple brandy, which is why it is not called "Bonded Applejack" (even though that's what we all call it). This, needless to say, has a tremendous impact on depth and intensity of flavor.

I actually still really like the blended product, but what I like about it is that I can still taste the faint backbone of what I have come to love about the bonded product. It still works well in things like an Old Fashioned. You have to be careful, though, not to stretch the blended stuff too much. It's difficult to make something like an Apple Blow Fizz with blended, because the base spirit doesn't have enough intensity of flavor to make its presence felt. It's like going between Old Overholt and Rittenhouse Bonded rye. Personally, I believe that Laird's bonded spirit is far closer to what was used in all the classic applejack cocktails -- many of which are not terribly interesting when made with blended. Try a Jack Rose using blended and Rose's grenadine. Eh? Not too inspiring. Try it with Laird's bonded and homemade grenadine. Suddenly it all makes sense.

It's interesting to read in books by cocktail writers whose palates I respect tremendously (Doc's book comes to mind), and where applejack is described as being fundamentally a "mixing spirit." I think that's an impression that was formed from exposure to Laird's blended product. Laird's bonded is, in my book, definitely a spirit worth sipping.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Funny this should come up.

Picked up a bottle of Laird's bonded Apple Brandy a couple months ago and have been playing with it.

The difference between it and the AppleJack (despite the Apple Jack's swank new bottle) is really astounding.

The Apple Jack tastes like a vaguely apple flavored mild blended whisk(e)y. Canadian Mist with apple, perhaps. As Sam and John have noted Apple Brandy has a far more intense apple scent and flavor.

I believe another legal requirement of "bonded" products is the only addition the producers are allowed is water to adjust the proof.

I'm close to working out a typical eje "kitchen arts" and obscure herb based cocktail involving the bonded Apple Brandy. Will report back soon.

Oh, and thanks for reminding me to try a Jack Rose with the Apple Brandy and my home made grenadine! Can't wait!


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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From what I see on the web, the term "Bonded" (as it applies to Bourbon whiskey) simply means it is made under government supervision in a bonded warehouse and has to be produced in a single year, in a single season, and cannot be bottled until it is 4 years old. It also has to be at 100 proof.

Bottled in Bond: American spirits produced according to the Bottled Bond Act of 1894. This is a way to avoid paying excise tax until the spirits are aged and ready for sale; also originally indended to ensure that the spirit was actually what it claimed to be. Bonded spirits are aged no less than four years in a government bonded warehouse and must be bottled at proof (50% abv).


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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FWIW, here's the section, from US law:

---

TITLE 27--ALCOHOL, TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND FIREARMS

CHAPTER I--ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO TAX AND TRADE BUREAU, DEPARTMENT OF THE

TREASURY

PART 5--LABELING AND ADVERTISING OF DISTILLED SPIRITS--Table of Contents

Subpart D--Labeling Requirements for Distilled Spirits

[...]

[[Page 67]]

(3) The words ``bond'', ``bonded'', ``bottled in bond'', ``aged in

bond'', or phrases containing these or synonymous terms, shall not be

used on any label or as part of the brand name of domestic distilled

spirits unless the distilled spirits are:

(i) Composed of the same kind of spirits produced from the same

class of materials;

(ii) Produced in the same distilling season by the same distiller at

the same distillery;

(iii) Stored for at least four years in wooden containers wherein

the spirits have been in contact with the wood surface except for gin

and vodka which must be stored for at least four years in wooden

containers coated or lined with paraffin or other substance which will

preclude contact of the spirits with the wood surface;

(iv) Unaltered from their original condition or character by the

addition or subtraction of any substance other than by filtration, chill

proofing, or other physical treatments (which do not involve the

addition of any substance which will remain incorporated in the finished

product or result in a change in class or type);

(v) Reduced in proof by the addition of pure water only to 100

degrees of proof; and

(vi) Bottles at 100 degrees of proof.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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As I posted earlier, Eber Brothers/Paramount Brands is now bringing Laird's Apple Bond into NYC. Let's see what we can do to get liquor stores to start carrying it. They first brought in four cases, which have all been sold to the business. We should start making our favorite stores aware of Laird's Apple Bond's availability and asking them to get some in stock. Make sure they understand that it's not the 7.5 or 12 year old brandy you're talking about. You want the 100 proof bonded product.

So... let's get something started in NYC! I'm willing to bet that if 4-5 people ask the liquor manager at Astor Wines to get in some Laird's Apple Bond, they'll start stocking it. Let's ask our favorite shops in NYC to stock Laird's Apple Bond and post about it here when we ask. I'm going to ask Astor Wines the next time I'm down there.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Let's ask our favorite shops in NYC to stock Laird's Apple Bond and post about it here when we ask.

My favorite shop is already carrying it. :biggrin:

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Let's ask our favorite shops in NYC to stock Laird's Apple Bond and post about it here when we ask.

My favorite shop is already carrying it. :biggrin:

I already snapped up 3 bottles from there.

Better hurry.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Here's another tidbit I got from a friend that you can pass along to your liquor store and bartender friends regarding Laird's Apple Bond in NYC:

Paramount's item number for Laird's Bonded 100 proof is #825200. It is not listed as "Bonded" in the system or the book, only as "Lairds Apple Brandy 100 proof."


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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As far as I know, Captain Applejack is the same as Laird's Bonded....

I never did get around to trying the Captain Applejack but I did pick up a bottle of the Laird's Straight Apple Brandy last month in California. It's pretty terrific stuff and, as I won't be visiting California regularly, I contacted Laird's to see if I could learn anything about the Capt. Applejack. Here's the answer I received from the sales office:

I am told there is no difference between the Captain Apple 100 and Laird's 100.  The Captain Apple label is used mostly in the Carolinas and Virginia but they are the same product.

So Sam had it right all along. Needless to say, I'm very happy to learn that I don't need to travel out of state when my bottle of Laird's is empty.

The woman who replied also sent a recipe:

Applejack Rabbit              Jim Meehan, Grammercy Tavern, NYC

2¼ oz Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy

¾ oz Grade B maple syrup (or Grade A Dark Amber)

1 oz lemon juice

1 oz orange juice

Shake & strain.  “Garnish with a dried crabapple for maximum street cred.”

Kurt


“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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At the lowest end of the scale is regular 80 proof blended applejack, 30% apple brandy blended with 70% neutral spirits.  This is actually pretty good.  More expensive is Laird's bonded applejack, 100% apple brandy at 100 proof.

Has anybody had a chance to compare Laird's Bonded and Laird's Old Apple Brandy? I have a bottle of the latter, which is bottled at 7½ years old and 80 proof vs. 4 years old and 100 proof. I can say it's been delicious in everything I've tried it in, but I haven't tried the bonded. The thing that attracted me to the Old Apple Brandy was the age. David Embury says "the principal reason that apple brandy has not gained greater favor with the drinking public is the fact that it is sold before it is well aged". He says 3 to 4 years is not enough and suggests a minimum of 6 to 8, which is right where the Laird's Old Apple lies.

For the record, one cocktail that I've gone back to a number of times is the Pink Lady, following David Embury's recipe:

1 part Grenadine

2 parts Lemon Juice

2 parts Apple Brandy

6 parts Gin

1 Egg White to each two drinks

Admittedly it's really a gin cocktail, but the Applejack adds a nice note. This is a damn tasty drink, and a crowd-pleaser too.

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Notwithstanding Embury's opinion, I have always preferred younger apple brandies. The younger ones taste more of apples, whereas the older specimens taste more of "aged spirits" and wood.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Notwithstanding Embury's opinion, I have always preferred younger apple brandies.  The younger ones taste more of apples, whereas the older specimens taste more of "aged spirits" and wood.

Rather than just take slkinsey at his word, I decided to have a little taste test. This, I must say, was one of the most surprising taste tests I have ever done. My predictions going in were almost all wrong.

Having a bottle of Laird's 7½ year-old Apple Brandy, and finding myself in Virginia, I decided to procure a 375mL bottle of Captain Applejack Bottled in Bond. For all of you up north, that's just Laird's Bonded with a different label on it.

gallery_40796_4259_57407.jpg

First, I would taste the two head-to-head, straight. VERDICT: Neither of these is likely to become a sippin' drink of choice for me. The Captain Applejack, both in nose and in flavor takes me right back to my college whiskey-drinking days. Yes, there is a strong apple note, but the stuff is harsh, reminding me of those 1.75 L bottles of Jack and Jim Beam of yore. To be fair (to Mr.'s Daniels and Beam), the nose is more harsh, more rubbing alcohol-like than either of those. The Lairds Old, by comparison, which has a much paler, straw color, comes off fine and mellow. The apple note is still there, but much more subdued, underneath the prevailing whiskey and wood character. The nose is still a bit harsh, though a pleasantly sweet apple note, and a woody one, make it much more pleasant. ADVANTAGE: Old Apple

This seemed a little unfair, however, since the Old Apple is bottled at 80 proof and the Bonded at 100. So, I prepared a dilution: 4 parts Bonded to 1 part water. Suddenly, the difference in smoothness and refinement that had favored the Old Apple disappeared. The Bonded tasted just as fine and mellow, and with a more distinct apple flavor to boot. ADVANTAGE: Bonded

Armed with this knowledge, I assumed the same would hold in the final, and most important, comparison: how the two compared when mixed in a cocktail. Naturally, I selected the Jack Rose. I made mine 3:4:24 homemade grenadine to fresh lemon juice to base, and garnished with a twist. I used both in their undiluted form. Suddenly, the tide was turned again. While the Old Apple blended seamlessly with the other ingredients, the rough character of the Bonded was ever-present. So, I tried the dilution. To no avail. There was simply no comparison -- the old apple simply mixed better. To this taster at least, it was the hands-down winner, and I strongly recommend it for mixology to any fans of the Laird's Bonded.

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I have never had this Laird's Old or whatever, but I can imagine that it would require different ratios to balance 100 proof applejack with something with a presumably more Calvados-like character. I use the following (I like my drinks small):

1.5 oz Laird's Bonded

.5 oz Lemon

.25 oz Grenadine (homemade)

Or you might try:

2 oz Bonded

1 oz Lemon

.5 oz grenadine

Different brands and bottlings, each with their own different character, require a bit of tweaking to achieve good results. I typically tend to minimize the amount of adjustments if possible, preferring to celebrate and showcase the differences between spirits, but sometimes there's just now way to get around it. I will balance for sweetness, using, say, a half tsp of sugar in my OF made with Saz6 and a whole tsp in the one made with WT101, but it's a bit different in booze-heavy drinks like Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs.

-Andy

Edit to remove redundancy and redundancy


Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I have never had this Laird's Old or whatever

You should try it! I can't really comment on how Calvados-like it is, but I was under the impression that Calvados was significantly different from Applejack. The reason they call it "Apple Brandy" is that, by law, for something to be called Applejack it has to be a blend. For the same reason the Bonded is called Apple Brandy too.

From lairdandcompany.com:

"Laird's Old Apple Brandy is straight apple brandy, not blended with neutral spirits. It is the "original historic Applejack," aged for a minimum of 7½ years in our barrel ageing facility. A tasting of each barrel is made to separate the barrles that will be retained for our apple brandy. Only the finest barrels are selected for this exclusive product."

I can imagine that it would require different ratios to balance 100 proof applejack with something with a presumably more Calvados-like character

To be fair, I did make the same drink using the Bonded diluted to 80 proof. I did play with the ratios, too, but the Bonded never produced as good a drink. Though I did not go as heavy on the sweet and sour as you recommend. I guess I prefer my drinks on the dry side -- I tend to mix them in the range of about 6:1 to 10:1 strong to sweet. And I find 2:1 sour to sweet, typically, to be too sour for my taste. I usually hover around 1.5:1.


Edited by David Santucci (log)

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A few things on David's observations...

First, if you're expecting applejack to be calvados-like, you're missing the point. Calvados is suave and smooth with a brandy-like character. I'd call it "apple cognac." Applejack, on the other hand, is rough and sharp with a whiskey-like character. I'd call it "apple whiskey." It's supposed to be like that. If what you want is a smooth, suave brandy-like product, you're probably better off with calvados than applejack. Try a good, reasonably priced brand like Busnel, and I bet you'd like that. I'd guess that part of the reason you prefer the 7.5 year Laird's is because, at the lower proof and with more age, it has more of a brandy-like calvados character and less of a whiskey-like applejack character.

Second, your Jack Rose recipe seems odd to me. Do I have this right? You're doing 24 parts applejack, 4 parts lemon juice and 3 parts grenadine? What does that come out to, something like 3 ounces of applejack, a half ounce of lemon juice and a teaspoon of grenadine? If you don't like drinks that are rough around the edges, I can understand why you wouldn't like bonded applejack in that formula. It's very far from the traditional formula, and I'm not sure I'd like it either. Again, if you don't appreciate a spirit that's a little rough around the edges, your formula is only going to make it worse. A spirit would have to be quite smooth to succeed with your ratios. More traditional and balanced would be something like 2.5 ounces of applejack, 1 ounce of lemon or lime juice and somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 ounce of grenadine, depending on the sweetness of the grenadine. This is all to say that while your subjective experiences are your own, it's hard to accept your evaluations as to the quality of the respective spirits with such an unorthodox recipe. You might also try 2 ounces of applejack, a teaspoon to a half-ounce of 2:1 demerara syrup and a few dashes of Peychaud's bitters stirred with cracked ice and strained. This might give you a better basis for comparison.

Third, I suppose this all comes down to individual preferences, but I don't have any trouble sipping Laird's bonded. No, it's not something I'd sip out of a snifter, nor do I think it compares to something like cognac or calvados on that basis. Comparing it to that kind of spirit is missing the point. It's plenty sippable out of a flask, and that's how I'm likely to be taking it. Actually, on reflection, I'd say it was every bit as sippable as, say, Wild Turkey 101, which is a quality product in anyone's book. Indeed, at a recent multi-course offal tasting dinner, johnder brought along a flask of Laird's bonded to sip just in case our courage flagged at the prospect of eating pan fried sheep testicles.

Finally, maybe you just prefer smoother, more aged spirits. :smile:


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I agree with all that. As much as I like it, Laird's Bonded is definitely something that needs taming more than some things, to make it 'smooth'. As a rule, I definitely prefer higher-proof spirits in the 100 proof range which typically makes for a more powerfully-flavored spirit. However, I also think of the Jack Rose as as much a showcase for my homemade grenadine as anything, so I like to add enough that it can be tasted. And so I add more lemon to balance. The beauty of the Laird's Bonded is that it's character still comes through all that and your drink can still have a dry mouthfeel due to the acidity of the lemon juice. Now that said, to me the Jack Rose is almost by nature a sweet drink, since I would really prefer something more like 3:1 of citrus:grenadine or simple syrup.* But if I do that, the flavor of the grenadine is somewhat muted, for as much as I love my grenadine recipe, it can't really compete with the powerful nature of something like Rose's (which is good, I guess, because Rose's has a bad powerful flavor).

-Andy

*I realise this is probably somewhat dryer/tarter than most people prefer anyway. I'm strange.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Indeed, at a recent multi-course offal tasting dinner, johnder brought along a flask of Laird's bonded to sip just in case our courage flagged at the prospect of eating pan fried sheep testicles.

LOL!

And did your courage flag, Sam?


Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Applejack Old Fashioned is definitely something I've been wanting to try for a while but never got around to it. Thanks for the reminder: I had one last night and it was wonderful: After nine hours of being wound up by a particularly obnoxious co-worker, it was the perfect way to unwind.

Makes me wonder how bonded would stand in for whiskey in other drinks -- Manhattans and such? Anybody had any luck with that? More experimentation needed, obviously :-P

-Andy

Edit: spelling


Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I've found bonded applejack to be a good substitute in most any drink that works with bourbon or rye.

Indeed, at a recent multi-course offal tasting dinner, johnder brought along a flask of Laird's bonded to sip just in case our courage flagged at the prospect of eating pan fried sheep testicles.

LOL!

And did your courage flag, Sam?

To quite Wilfred Owen: "Our eyes wept, but our courage didn’t writhe."


Edited by slkinsey (log)

Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Applejack Old Fashioned is definitely something I've been wanting to try for a while but never got around to it. Thanks for the reminder: I had one last night and it was wonderful: After nine hours of being wound up by a particularly obnoxious co-worker, it was the perfect way to unwind.

Makes me wonder how bonded would stand in for whiskey in other drinks -- Manhattans and such? Anybody had any luck with that? More experimentation needed, obviously :-P

-Andy

Edit: spelling

A few uses I can recommend trying:

...Angel Face...Ante...Apple...Apple Jack...Apple Jack Rabbit...Block and Fall...


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I had always assumed that Bonded AJ would be an interesting sub for American whiskeys due to it's high proof and very whiskey-like character, but this was my first attempt. It shouldn't have surprised me how good it was though, since it's probably the way they were drinking the stuff way back when.

Also, thanks for the recommendations. Should be a fun week ahead of me.

-Andy


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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There's been a setback on the NYC bonded applejack front. Eber Bros. Wine & Liquor, the distributor carrying bonded applejack in NY, closed its warehouse in Guilderland on March 31 and is being purchased by the New York division of Southern Wine & Spirits. In New York, Charmer Industries, Inc/Empire Merchants, LLC carry regular blended Applejack. If we want bonded applejack to continue to be available in New York, pros should lean on their Charmer reps to stock bonded applejack, and customers should ask their favorite liquor stores to do the same.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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And on this day, Sam Kinsey caused the event to be known throughout the land as "The Great Applejack Hording of 2007"


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Liquor store and bar managers, and interested consumers: Empire's code for Laird's Bonded is # 577974


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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