Friday, January 18, 2013
Wow, I have had a ton of fun reviewing brandies over the past few weeks. With whiskey, I feel like there isn't that much exciting being done these days, but just the small sampling of brandies I've tasted over the past few weeks has convinced me that brandy is something worth our attention. The last time I did a brandy series, around four years ago, I liked some of what I tasted, but I found much of it too sweet, too weak and too filled with additives. The market has started to change. While the big houses are still the big houses, there's a lot of innovation going, though you have to seek it out. In addition, you still get a lot of bang for your buck, though the prices tend to be more comparable to Scotch than American whiskey.
I've also been impressed with the amount of positive and enthusiastic feedback I've had with this series. Read through the comments on any of these brandy posts and you'll see wide ranging discussions by people who know far more than I (a particular shout out to commenters Numen, Tom Troland and NP who added a tremendous amount of information). There's a huge thirst for brandy knowledge and discussion out there and a real dearth of on-line resources.
It's funny that most whiskey drinkers don't drink brandy. We have these classifications in our minds...that whiskey is made from grain and brandy is made from fruit, and therefore, they are entirely different categories that have nothing in common. I used to think brandy was more an offshoot of wine, but its flavors have more in common with whiskey. Armagnac is much more similar in flavor to rye whiskey than rye is to Scotch, and I'm pretty sure I could convince someone tasting blind that the Navazos Palazzi Brandy de Jerez was the latest Glenfarclas. The fact is, these new brandies should be very appealing to whiskey drinkers, and their flavor profiles are going to be pretty familiar.
We'll get back to whiskey next week, but I'm going to keep drinking brandy, and I'll keep reporting on it. If you hear about something good, drop me a line or a comment.