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