Review: Bertoux Brandy
Bertoux is a new brandy developed by Jeff Menashe. Made in San Francisco, the spirit is a solera-style blend of pot-distilled California brandies aged 3 to 7 years old, aged in French and American oak. Consultants on the brand include bartender Jeff Bell (PDT and Legacy Records) and sommelier Thomas Pastuszak (The NoMad). As the occupations of those helpers might indicate, Bertoux is specifically designed with cocktails in mind — it even says as much on the label.
Let’s give Bertoux a try.
The nose is quite tight and astringent — a hallmark of young brandy — with notes of camphor, mothballs, and — on the fresher side — clean linens and lavender. Some more classic notes of raisins and white flowers are underneath, once the rougher elements blow off a bit.
The palate is more engaging and approachable, with a cleaner profile that features raisins, dark chocolate, and brioche, at least at first. Before too long, that tight astringency emerges here too, and that camphor pungency starts to encroach fairly forcefully on the tongue. The finish sees some curious notes of walnuts, pastry dough, and some toasted/charred cocoa powder elements along with a lingering, gentle raisin character.
Altogether it’s rather immature but promising, though I’d heartily recommend more time in barrel for Bertoux to settle down a bit more. As a blending spirit, Bertoux is probably more effective — though it’s decidedly not an inexpensive option for that task.