Laird's is the oldest name in American apple brandy. Based in New Jersey, the company claims roots going back to the seventeenth century. The actual brandy is distilled in Virginia. Their product line includes their standard applejack (a blend of apple brandy and neutral spirit), a bonded apple brandy, a 7 year old apple brandy and the 12 year old apple brandy I'll be reviewing today. According to Laird's marketing copy, the 12 year old "is a premium spirit and should be positioned among premium brandies from around the world like Cognac, Armagnac and Calvados." So there!
Laird's 12 yo Apple Brandy, Batch 19, Bottled 2014, 44% abv ($75)
The nose is sour apple Jolly Ranchers. It smells like liquid candy. On the palate, it's dry and oaky with bourbon notes but not much apple character – just a slight fruit note. The finish is oaky and a bit bitter. I found this one to be over-oaked, all I could taste was the wood. It tastes closer to a bourbon than a Calvados but not a bourbon I'd buy.