Review: Manso & Contreras Spanish Brandy de Jerez

Spanish brandy is not a product most drinkers have a familiarity with — nor does it resemble French brandy in any shape or form.

Hailing from Jerez, Spain, Manso & Contreras comes from a distillery that has been making brandy since the 1800s. While it’s a new brand — Manso is a native Cuban who lives now in San Diego — it’s an old recipe, distilled from the Airen grape and aged in former sherry barrels using the solera style where it spends a minimum of three years before bottling at 80 proof.

The results are striking and unusual: Manso & Contreras is a lot like a highly alcoholic Maderia, nutty and full of tea and coffee notes. That is mixed with a whole lot of intense sherry notes, pungent herbs, and funky old wine character. While this is more interesting than it might sound, the finish is the tough part: medicinal, bordering on brutal.

Spanish brandy is nothing if not unique, but I have to say it is not really my bag.

C / $69 / mansoandcontreras.com

manso and contreras brandy Review: Manso & Contreras Spanish Brandy de Jerez

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2 Responses to Review: Manso & Contreras Spanish Brandy de Jerez

  1. If you enjoy brandy or cognac, I think you will find Manso & Contreras to be a very smooth and delicious product. This product won a Silver Medal at the 2011 SanFrancisco International Wine Spirits competition earlier this year. Anthony Dias Blue, a well known and respected national food and wine critic has called it “Smooth and lush, rich and soothing, -A glorious sip.” Gene Burns, a food and wine critic at KGO in San Francisco has raved about it on the air, and Jack Bettridge, Senior Features editor at Cigar Afficionado wrote favorably about it earlier this year on cigarafficionado.com. Knowledgeable people can differ on matters of taste. As evidenced here, other reviewers have a highly favorable opinion of the product. Don’t be discouraged from trying it because of one negative review by a reviewer who by his own admission is not fond of the category.

  2. Thanks Lou — as you said, everything always comes down to a matter of personal taste and I’m sure there are palates out there who will love the product.

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