Monday, October 10, 2016

Apple Brandy Week: Laird's 12 Year Old

Last week, I drank Calvados. This week, I'll be drinking other apple brandies, and what better place to start than Laird's?

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.


Mark said...

Zoinks! I just bought a bottle of this stuff, thinking it would be a good Fall appropriate spirit and alternative to pumpkin spiced everything. I've had beer aged in Lairds barrels before, and they were great... no idea what expression they were using though.

sku said...

It has lots of fans; I'm just not one of them.

tanstaafl2 said...

Worth a note that the whiskey and cocktail craze seems to have caught up with Laird's as well. They are no longer labeling the bonded Laird's as bonded because, well it's not bonded anymore. They seem to be low on stocks and don't have enough to keep putting 4+ year old brandy in the bottle. Instead newer bottles simple say "Founded 1780" on the bottom of the label where it once said Bottled in Bond. I discovered this in 2014 and reached out to the company who say they hope to produce a BIB spirit again soon. Older bonded bottles may still exist on the shelf but apparently not in my area.

Perhaps they are making a bonded spirit again?