Review: Paul Masson Grande Amber VS Brandy

Review: Paul Masson Grande Amber VS Brandy

Paul-Masson-VS-BrandyDon’t be fooled: The VS in Paul Masson’s Grande Amber VS doesn’t stand for very superior or very special, as it does in France. It stands for very smooth, as noted in tiny type underneath.

Yes, Paul Masson has come a long way since Orson Welles’ day, but it’s still an avowed budget brand. Brandy like this remains its most notable product (a VSOP is also sold), made from unknown grapes, aged three years in barrel, and likely colored within an inch of its life with caramel.

With all that said, for the price, this is not a bad product. I used this brandy to make a punch, but on its own it isn’t at all unpalatable. The nose has an alcoholic punch to it, but loads up caramel, vanilla, milk chocolate, and brown sugar notes, too. On the palate, the caramel-vanilla combo gives up a bit of time to notes of baked apples, raisin, and some cloves. The finish is a bit medicinal, though Paul Masson tries to cover that up with sugary fruit notes. It’s not entirely successful, but let’s give them points for trying…

80 proof.


Paul Masson Grande Amber VS 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. ECfromDC on November 19, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Solid B for me … good.

  2. jobob on December 10, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    at half the price it works for me !!

  3. Anonymous on October 2, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    I love it ! In my opinion it is a solid A no medicine taste ,smooth fruity at a 1980s budget price.Screw the ,imported expensive stuff from Europe ,We have great American grape brandy here!
    Please give this remarkable domestic brandy a try

  4. Philprofbob on April 26, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    I agree with Anonymous. It is simply a VERY nice snifter full of nightcap that anyone can afford.

  5. Iliana Mendez on November 27, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    May I use this to infuse with apples?

  6. Paula Merser on September 17, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    It would be nice if all reviews began by making statement as to what artificial ingredients there might be in the bottle.

    Who cares what grapes are used, so long as they are natural grapes. And who cares if it tastes strongly like alcohol so long as there is no Boise flavoring and aspertame and sucralose.

    Most reviewers fawn over the color of something when actually it is artificial color that can be changed at the squeeze of a drop. Probably the worst liquor is Kraken rum. It is the Kool Aid of colored liquors. Did you know people use Kool Aid to dye their hair for months. Check it out on line. … You can dye your hair with many liquor products too.

    • Christopher Null on September 19, 2021 at 1:10 pm

      Paula, I agree that this is good information, but in general producers are not required to disclose ingredients on their labels (depending on where the product is made). I wrote a story about labeling in the wine industry for Wired a few years ago that you might enjoy:

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