It’s not every tasting event where you encounter distilling royalty. Laird’s — famed for its apple brandies — is reportedly the oldest distillery in America, a family business that has been in operation for nine generations. Lisa Laird Dunn, a current VP at the distillery, was on hand to pour various expressions of Laird’s applejacks, and she was kind enough to send a couple of expressions we had not yet covered for our full review. (The company makes a whopping seven versions of its apple brandy in total.)
Let’s dig in.
Laird’s 10th Generation Apple Brandy 5 Years Old Bottled in Bond – Only 5 years old, but bonded. Here we get fresh apple on the nose, with an edge of spice and a touch of barrel char. I get a strange hint of peanut butter here, too. On the palate, the brandy comes across a bit harsh, with some mothball and linen/lavender notes that remind me of the laundry room. Here the apple character is more stewed and mixed with brown butter notes. On the finish, the apple elements are informed by ample notes of dried spices and a boozy character driven by the 50% abv, giving it a somewhat tough pungency. More easy-drinking apple brandies are available in the Laird’s lineup. 100 proof. B / $40
Laird’s Old Apple Brandy 7 1/2 Years Old – Bottled with a curious extra-half-year age statement, this brandy shows a stronger, fresher apple character on the nose, with a significant caramel note. The palate is similar, with a sharper fruit note that features the addition of red berries and orange blossoms — and more applesauce than cooked apple. The finish is lightly sweet and hints at notes of pie crust and lemon-honey tea. An all around star that sips beautifully on its own but which mixes well, too. 80 proof. A- / $30