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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Review: Shakmat Armenian Brandy 23 Years Old

By Christopher Null | February 7, 2020 |

As origin stories go, I’ve heard stranger. Shakmat is the brainchild of Alexis Ohanian, who is best known as the founder of Reddit and which is being produced and sold in conjunction with Flaviar/Caskers, our main retail partner. In Armenia, brandy is known as “konyak,” and while it’s made in much the same way as…

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Review: Camus Cognac VSOP and XO (2019)

By Christopher Null | January 16, 2020 |

We’ve been fans of Camus since our first encounter in 2010, and the company’s continued efforts at innovation with a regular release of new expressions have only further cemented Camus as a top Cognac house. Recently, Camus took an unusual step and relaunched its core lineup of VS/Very Special, VSOP, and XO Cognacs. The brandies…

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Review: One Eight Distilling Untitled Apple Brandy No. 1 and Untitled Whiskey No. 9 (Batch 2)

By Drew Beard | January 10, 2020 |

The team at Washington, D.C.’s One Eight Distilling has been dipping their toes into things other than whiskey as of late. Recently, they released their first ever apple brandy under its own Untitled line, which was distilled on their old Kothe potstill and aged in ex-bourbon barrels for over three years. In conjunction with the…

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Review: Argonaut Speculator and Fat Thumb Brandy, plus Amarena Cherries

By Christopher Null | December 28, 2019 |

Not even the fine print of the old-timey Argonaut Brandy bottles will clue you in to who actually makes it, but it’s not a massive secret. Argonaut is a new brand produced by none other than Ernest & Julio Gallo, made in California from its own excess wine production. For decades Gallo has been distilling…

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Understanding Grappa

By Robert Lublin | December 21, 2019 |

If you’re apprehensive of grappa, you probably tasted it before and found it to be strong, harsh, and unforgiving. But times have changed, and it is time to give grappa a proper try because, as I recently found, the craft distillate made, mixed, and aged today is not your pappa’s grappa. Grappa’s history explains its…

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Review: Copper & Kings Riding with the King Brandy

By Christopher Null | December 11, 2019 |

Copper & Kings can’t quit with the funky brandy bottlings, the latest being this Elvis-inspired expression, Riding With The King. Nope, it’s not made with peanut butter, bacon, or Quaaludes, it’s a brandy finished (for roughly half its life) in red wine barrels. Details: The brandy is just over five years old, with 29 months of…

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Drinkhacker’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 28, 2019 |

Ho ho ho! It’s the end of 2019 and that means your boozier friends and family are going to expect a little something liquid under the tree again. This is our 12th annual holiday gift guide, and as always we’re aiming to take some of the challenge out of finding the perfect wine or spirits gift.…

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Review: Hangar 1 Bentwing Brandy

By Christopher Null | November 17, 2019 |

Ready for something new from the brandy world? Here it comes, in the form of a blended brandy from Hangar 1, which offers its first non-vodka spirit ever. Hangar 1 Vodka transitions to The Hangar 1 Distillery with the launch of its first-ever non-vodka offering: Bentwing Brandy, a super-premium blend of fruit-forward Northern California and…

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Tasting Report: WhiskyFest San Francisco 2019

By Christopher Null | November 6, 2019 |

Another year is in the books for San Francisco WhiskyFest, a typically packed event with hundreds of whiskeys to explore… plus, for those confused on where they are, libations from The Mocktail Project. My dance card was full of whiskies from around the world, with highlights to be found in just about every region. My…

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Review: Copper & Kings Brandy – A Song For You and Way Up West

By Christopher Null | August 16, 2019 |

The American brandy mavens at Copper & Kings have recently launched two new expressions, both in limited release. Thoughts on both bottlings follow. Copper & Kings A Song For You American Brandy – This limited, anniversary release comes from the distillery’s earliest sourced American brandies, dubbed “DNA1,” which were procured five years ago. Aged in…

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