Review: “Original Gangster” XO Brandy

Review: “Original Gangster” XO Brandy

Sometimes, dear reader, words fail me. I’ve been looking at the decanter for OG XO for days now, unable to form a coherent thought about how it makes me feel.

OG, as any hipster, ’80s child, and thug knows, stands for Original Gangster. And now that cognac has become popular in the world of hip-hop and rap music, it only stands to reason that brandy manufacturers would attempt to extend their brands into said world.

How does one do that? By partnering with a musician, of course. Ludacris was the first, with Conjure. And now things have sadly taken a turn for the blatant with Ice-T’s OG. Original Gangster isn’t technically cognac, but it is “French brandy,” produced not in the Cognac region but rather in Languedoc and aged 10 years before bottling at 80 proof.

The results: Ice-T, to be honest, has pulled off something that isn’t half bad. Not too sweet and cloying, like Conjure, it tastes like legitimate cognac. No, it isn’t complex: Straight, lightly sugary liquor with apple, citrus, and toffee notes. Dessert-like on the finish, if it is marred by more heat than it ought to have at this age, plus a slight lack of balance. It can certainly get by without a mixer, too.

If you can get past the garish bottle and horrifying name (hint: pour it into another decanter and no one will ever know the difference), OG is really not half bad. The price tag is what seals the deal. At 25 bucks a bottle, OG practically pays for itself!

80 proof.

B+ / $25

"Original Gangster" XO Brandy




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. trampus on March 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    I don’t think the bottle looks so bad. All “XO” bottles look about the same, they just want to fit in.

  2. Christopher Null on March 29, 2011 at 8:58 am

    I didn’t mean the bottle itself but the gold “OG” ribbon across the front…

  3. cange on April 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    The only proper way to dispose of this bottle: A couple pops from the gangster’s Mac 10 ought to do the job nicely.

  4. Richard Kark on January 27, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Not bad, but just OK. Wouldn’t buy again. Plenty of better “Real” Cognacs & Armagnac’s available at the same price point. Keep in mind that this is a Brandy & not really a Cognac. If you want to spring for a little more $$$ , there are even far better options available. At around $30, this is overpriced.

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