Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013: The Golden Age...of Brandy

While the golden age of whiskey is over, we may be on the cusp of a golden age of brandy. Just three or four years ago, it was difficult to find a Cognac in the US that wasn't caramel colored, flavored with wood pulp (boise) and diluted down to 40%. While rum, tequila and even once lowly mezcal saw specialty, higher strength bottlings from small producers, Cognac continued to be dominated by syrupy sweet spirit from the four large houses and Armagnac completely flew under the radar.

There are signs, however, that we are entering a brandy renaissance. Suddenly, we are seeing single barrel and cask strength, non-treated French brandies from small producers.

Another of the signs of a coming golden age is that for now, prices remain reasonable. Remarkably, forty year old brandies can still go for under $150. As whiskey prices continue to explode, brandy is a huge bargain with a more diverse flavor palate coming to the US every day.

Brandy today seems to be where whiskey was fifteen or even twenty years ago. As we know, golden ages don't last forever, so if you're a brandy fan, your time may be now, and if you're a whiskey fan, there is much to like about these new brandies.

And it's not just Cognac. Armagnac, Calvados and Spanish brandy are all starting to show some real promise. Over the next two weeks, I'll ring in 2013 by exploring the emerging golden age of brandy.


Adam H said...

Thanks for the tipoff. What is the Pappy Van Winkle of brandy, and which past producer was the equivalent of Stitzel-Weller? Also, where can I buy the stuff and then where can I sell it?

BMc said...

Sku, are brandy bottles a different shape from standard whiskey bottles? If so, I'll need to remake my bunker for the cases at a time I'll be purchasing.

Also, where is the appropriate forum to brag about the cases I'll be bunkering?

sku said...

Adam and BMc, none of that stuff exists. That's what the golden age is all about. There are no forums, no bunkers, no overvalued distilleries, no million blogs, no LA Brandy Society.

Get in on this now, and then in five or ten years, when it's on fire or in 15 years, when it all turns to crap, you can say, "I remember when I could just pluck a 40 year old Armagnac off the shelf for $150."

Lazer said...

Is there anyone that gives these things scores? I only by 90 and up.

Lazer said...


Ryan said...

Might want to fix your title on this one Sku...unless you simply have amazing predictive skills.

sku said...

Thanks Ryan, though I do think 2103 will be a golden age of brandy. You know, these things are cyclical.