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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When they said Covid was over, we didn’t think we’d be summarily dropped into a new financial crisis to replace the one we just got out of. The good news is that the holidays have arrived just in time to provide a welcome (if brief) break from yet another year of chaos. At Drinkhacker, we…Read More
Spanish brandy is far less common in the U.S. than its French or American counterparts. Made mostly from the airen grape, most Spanish brandy is aged in a solera style that sees younger stock constantly replenishing barrels of increasingly aged, blended spirit. While Gran Duque d’Alba makes an older, XO bottling of its brandy, this…Read More
Drouet is a Cognac producer that traces its history back to 1848. Revitalized by the present, 4th generation, they use sustainable agriculture practices across their 40 hectares of vines located in both the Grande Champagne (70%) and Petite Champagne (30%) crus to create an impressively broad portfolio of traditional expressions and unique “craft” Cognacs. We…Read More
Germain-Robin, founded by happenstance by Ansley Coale and Hubert Germain-Robin in 1982 (that story is wild), represents the epicenter of high-end American brandymaking, and even within its relatively new ownership as part of the Gallo empire, Germain-Robin continues to set the bar for how domestic brandy ought to be made. This 7 year old bottling…Read More
St-Remy is French brandy but it’s not Armagnac and it’s not Cognac. It’s actually made from grapes from all over France: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Beaujolais, the Rhône and Loire valleys, and Languedoc-Roussillon. That’s unusual for France, but it gives Cecile Roudaut, who’s been with parent company Remy-Cointreau since 1997, a lot more flexibility when it…Read More
Spirits mogul Raj Bhakta’s second act has pushed historic age statements into new territory, with most bottles of his Bhakta 50 Armagnac featuring at least some vintage spirit dating to 1868. The rest comes from various barrels dating between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries, with the youngest vintage produced in 1970. As such, no…Read More
Pear brandy isn’t exactly a universal crowd pleaser, but St. George’s expression does plenty with the finicky fruit. A heavily perfumed, linen-laden nose immediately evokes baked pears, with notes of lavender and some cinnamon present. The palate doesn’t stray far, that unflinchingly crisp note of pear balanced by more of that heavy floral quality —…Read More
Raj Bhakta‘s eponymous brand tiptoes downmarket and sideways with the launch of 27-07, which adds Calvados to the mix, blending it with Armagnac then finishing it in Islay casks much like the original Bhakta. While the 27-07’s intended age statement—7 years at its youngest, and 27 at its oldest—already placed it among the oldest spirits…Read More
Cognac Ferrand launched its Renegade Barrel collection — in which its brandies were finished in various types of different casks — back in 2018. This edition, #3, is our first encounter with the line. It begins with vintage 2011 Ferrand Premier Cru Cognac and finishes the brandy in Plantation 1996 Jamaica HJC rum casks (which…Read More
The Sazerac Company — best known as the parent of Buffalo Trace — has immense spirits holdings globally. Among them is a namesake Cognac, Sazerac de Forge. This is a relaunch of an old brand, and there’s some history to wade through, should you be so inclined. So here goes: Previously available exclusively at Sazerac…Read More