Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Tuesday Tasting: Six Styles of Brandy
Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we taste six different brandies from around the world.
The word brandy comes from the Dutch "brandewijn," which means burnt wine. It is made just about anywhere that industrious people can find grapes or fruit and a still. Brandy can range from highbrow Cognac to more down to earth applejack. Grappa, Calvados and Armagnac are all types of brandy. Sometimes you can even find a brandy labeled as a brandy. Most of the good ones result from talented distillers and proper aging. I tasted a range of six different brandies and found an amazing array of styles. All of the brandies tasted were 80-proof.
Courvoisier XO Imperial Cognac: This is a French classic, amber color, with hints of vanilla in the nose, then nuts, orange peel and a long wood finish in the flavor profile. A great drink for the end of an evening.
Marnier-Lapostolle XO Armagnac: While this French region is not as well known as Cognac, this brandy does not take a back seat to many. A nice almond nose, the rich thick flavor profile has hints of mocha and nuts.
RMS Distillery Special Reserve: This 7-year-old alambic brandy is made in the Napa Valley. It has a rich amber color, with a touch of smoke and hints of wood throughout the flavor profile.
Azteca de Oro Solera Reservada: This Mexican brandy is aged for 12 years using the solera method. It is a deep mahogany color with a rich coffee and baker's chocolate flavor profile. It is popular to use this brandy in cocktails, but it stands on its own as a fine drink.
Busnels Fine Calvados: This distillery was founded in 1820 in the Pays d'Auge region of France. They use 16 pounds of apples to make each bottle. It has a copper color and toffee nose. There is a rich layered flavor profile and a slightly oaky finish.
Westford Hills Pear William Eau-de-vie: Made in Connecticut from Bartlett pears, this clear brandy has a pear skin and slightly agave nose, with a distinct crisp pear flavor. It finishes with a warm bite. It could be a nice touch to a vodka martini.