Brandy is a spirit mostly made by distilling wine. The name comes from a Dutch word, brandewijn, which means “burned wine.” Two of the best-known and indeed best types of brandy, whose production is governed by strict rules, are Cognac and Armagnac, both from France. So, all Cognac is brandy but not all brandy is Cognac. Many wine-growing regions of the world also produce brandy, and the flavors vary according to both the types of grape used for the wine and the differing production processes. Most U.S. brandy comes from California. Brandy is also used as an ingredient in spirits such as Metaxa, a Greek spirit. A distinct type of brandy is fruit brandy, which is made from fruit juice, wine, or pulp from fruit other than grapes. Grappa, common in Italy, and the South American spirit called pisco are also types of brandy.
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Branson (along with Le Chemin du Roi Champagne) is part of the Sire Spirits brand, which is famously owned by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. Branson Cognac is available in four expressions, all of which we received for review. Ready to get started? All are 80 proof. Branson Cognac Phantom – Essentially a VS bottling, this…Read More
We’ve reviewed some of Merlet’s premium Cognac expressions in the past, but never its two most affordable bottlings, the VS and VSOP expressions. Today, we rectify that. Both are 80 proof. Merlet Cognac VS – Eaux-de-vie mostly from Fins Bois crus, but also from Bons Bois and a little bit of Petite Champagne in the…Read More
Suyo Pisco No. 1 is a new Peruvian pisco made entirely from Quebranta grapes drawn from the Mala Valley. Its claim of “single origin” isn’t absolutely clear since the grapes are purchased from a variety of vineyards, but they all seem to be drawn from this one district in Lima, Peru. The brand was introduced…Read More
Perennial spirits entrepreneur Raj Bhakta has already cemented himself as one of America’s most ambitious booze salesmen. He founded WhistlePig and helped create an entirely new generation of whiskey drinkers, with a heavy focus on premium rye. His second foray into the premium category took a decidedly upmarket turn with Bhakta, a brand based around…Read More
We recently covered Jean-Luc Pasquet’s L’Organic 07 Cognac — and now we’re back with two additional expressions, both also organic, and made from 100% ugni blanc grapes grown in Grande Champagne. The difference, as you might have sussed out, is age: L’Organic 04 is at least 4 years old, while L’Organic 10 is a decade…Read More
Brandy Sainte Louise hit the scene in 2018, designed for bartenders as “a classic, Old-World style brandy with a balanced, fruit-forward flavor profile.” It’s made in France by a Cognac cellarmaster but most of its grapes (classic ugni blanc) come from just outside the Cognac AOC region. The spirit is pot distilled and aged in…Read More
Armagnac is commonly made from a blend of grapes — four are commonly used, but 10 are approved. What does each varietal add to the blend? To explain, Chateau de Lacquy has created a range of single cask Armagnacs, each made with a single varietal of grape. These three bottlings all hail from the 2007…Read More
I’m naturally prejudiced against anything that claims to be “so smooth” on its label, but let’s set that aside for our first foray into new Cognac brand Nyak. Nyak is the brainchild of some spirits and business royalty, including CEO of Detroit Equities, Dennis McKinley; former VP for Remy Cointreau, Patrick Charpentier; and Jerome Hyafil,…Read More
Ready for Christmas? Ready for Christmas 2023, maybe? Our long day’s journey into night may have continued unabated this year, but we’re hopeful you’ve at least found some ability to get out of the house, maybe take a trip, and reconnect with friends and family this season. Naturally, you’re still not going to be able…Read More
Will the real Tariquet please stand up? This longtime producer of Armagnac has operated under so many name variations I’ve lost the plot. In 2009 it was Domaine du Tariquet, then in 2015 and 2016 was bottling as Chateau du Tariquet. Now we’re back to Domaine Tariquet, without the “du.” The good news is that…Read More