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Sweetmeats
05-21-2007, 10:23
I bought a bottle of this yesterday. Damn good stuff. Almost like a whiskey. An APPLE whiskey. I swore I first read about this here somewhere but my search has not paid off. The Laird Applejack is good as well but get the Bonded Apple Brandy first. I think I drank too much though. Ouch.

TBoner
06-05-2007, 11:59
I recently picked up a bottle of the bonded apple brandy, as well. Enjoying a very short pour right now (my first taste). A straw gold color with very impressive legs. The nose is all apples at first pass, but hay, light cinnamon, and maybe nuts make their presence known. Still, fruit dominates the aroma, and the taste. There is a definite alcohol presence on the palate, but it isn't overwhelming, and it can't hide some rummy sugar notes and a bit of maple flavor. Maybe (light) vanilla and raisins, too. The finish is a bit hot in the throat, but long and apple-y, with a sweet brandy roundness that reminds you this isn't whiskey. I really like it, but its youth and some of the flavor notes are more whiskey-like, as you said. It's not as refined as Calvados, nor is it meant to be.

I understand there are annual extra-aged (7 years+) releases of this at lower proofs, which I'd like to try someday. And this makes up a good portion of the regular applejack, but it is a very different animal.

On a forum at eGullet, I've read about folks using this instead of whiskey in some well-known bourbon and rye cocktails. I can see it having a place in a Sazerac (since it is in some ways flavorwise a melding of whiskey and brandy). I would think a variation on the Old-Fashioned with lemon instead of orange or a sour made with this could be nice. Not sure about a Manhattan. Of course, there are many well-known applejack cocktails (the Jack Rose being the most prominent) that this would be worth a shot in, especially since it is my impression this may be closer to what applejack was a century ago or more.

My bottle cost me $22, and I'd say it's a bit steep at that price, but it is a specialty product, so maybe not. Either way, worth at least a one-time purchase to try it.

Martian
06-06-2007, 08:40
I stumbled across a bottle of the standard Applejack 80 in Dallas last fall. It was located in the brandy section. I like to try new things, so I bought a bottle. I had always enjoyed an occasional bottle of hard cider that I bought in Lubbock, Texas years ago. I thought the Applejack might be interesting. I was pleasantly surprised. It was bourbon like with a definite apple flavor but not overwhelmingly so. Nice for a change.

scratchline
06-06-2007, 10:14
If you like the 80 proof, then you HAVE to find some of the Bonded. There's no GNS in it and as a result the flavor is much stronger. It is a fantastic base for summer cocktails. It's available in VA state stores as Captain Apple Jack.

Sweetmeats
06-08-2007, 09:05
Calvados? I keep seeing this name and will have to search it out.

Joeluka
06-08-2007, 11:01
Calvado's is the Cognac of apple brandies.

Here- http://www.cocktaildb.com/ingr_detail?id=61

and- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvados_%28spirit%29 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvados_%28spirit%29)


I love the stuff. I have quite a few bottles and they are usually magnificent , if you like apple brandy. The Lairds are good but different compared to good Calvado's. I find Lairds BIB and the 80 are great for mixing, while the Calvado's are meant for snifter's.

Just like everything else in the world of spirits, Calvado's can be $$$$$, so keep that in mind of you plan on getting into it.

TBoner
06-17-2007, 13:03
I made a Sazerac the other night with the Laird's bonded. Equal parts apple brandy and OGD BIB, plus a bit of turbinado syrup, Peychaud's bitters and Herbsaint. After flaming a lemon twist and dropping it in the glass, I also splashed a drop of Fee Brothers Lemon bitters on the surface of the drink. This was a very complex, potent, and lovely drink to end the evening.

I will try one made entirely with Laird's sometime, but I don't see how it can be as good as the above.

fitzharry
10-28-2007, 02:14
I was pleasantly surprised to read that others on this forum have been enjoying Laird's Straight Apple Brandy. This is one of the finest brandies made in the United States, in my opinion, and I love the history associated with it as well.

I've been drinking this brandy for probably the past ten years or so and currently have a good supply of it at home, even though my local liquor store carries it in stock. It works well in all sorts of cocktails, Manhattans to Presbyterians, but I still think it tastes best in a glass on the rocks or as an Applejack Sour. However, on cold autumn and winter nights it works very well in a snifter just like any other fine brandy, although at 100 proof it packs more punch than normal brandy!

Yes, I drink calvados and enjoy that fine Norman apple brandy, too, but when I think of apple brandy my first thought goes to the bottle of Laird's and its rather old-fashioned black and red label. There's a lot of American history in this bottle, and I'm proud to call it my favorite.

cowdery
10-28-2007, 16:42
I bought a bottle of the Laird's Apple Jack, not the brandy, and was surprised that it contained only 35% apple brandy, the rest GNS, which seemed like a rip for $17.99. The brandy was something like twice that. I have no doubt it's a fine product, but I guess this is just another reminder of what a great value Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is.

TBoner
10-29-2007, 03:56
Chuck, that price is a ripoff.

I get the Ajack for $11.99, and have never paid more than $20.99 for the bonded brandy.

scratchline
10-29-2007, 07:14
Tim's right. Maybe what you're looking at is the 12 yr old brandy, Chuck. The regular bonded Laird's should be around 20.

-Mike

cowdery
10-29-2007, 11:28
What I bought, out of curiosity, was Laird's Apple Jack, not the brandy, and it was $17.99, before taxes, at Sam's, which is supposed to be a discount store but isn't always. I recall the brandy being maybe $26, but that's from memory. The Apple Jack is in my pantry and I recorded the price, so I'm sure about what I have and how much I paid for it.

I'm glad I got it. It's interesting. But comparing it to something like Seagram's Seven Crown, which is 40% straight whiskey and 60% spirits, at $9.99, $17.99 seems overpriced.

Sweetmeats
10-29-2007, 12:06
The Bonded is only 18.99 near me while the Applejack is 16.99. Not much of a difference in price but wow, quite a difference in flavor.

I've only bought the Applejack once but always have a bottle of the Bonded in my cabinet.

polyamnesia
10-29-2007, 17:36
Chuck, that price is a ripoff.

I get the Ajack for $11.99, and have never paid more than $20.99 for the bonded brandy.

yep, about $12 around here in SE PA...at least last autumn it was!

i am glad i trusted my instincts on this one, because i've enjoyed, casually, about 3 bottles of the Applejack in the last 2 years.

i can't say i trust my palate yet, but it's good to see others seeing a whiskey-like experience in it. to me, it was a hair "thin" (maybe due to the GNS)...i imagine the Apple Brandy is actually outstanding.

don't know if they have THAT around here though...

fussychicken
11-03-2007, 10:36
Laird's also has what looks to be a quite tempting premium apple brandy as well. It is a 12 year old small batch called, fittingly enough, "Laird's 12 Year Old Rare Apple Brandy." Not only is the age higher, the proof is higher than the Applejack and 7.5 year as well. (88 proof vs 80) I picked up a bottle of this while hunting for bourbon dusties, but have not yet opened it.

Their apple brandy lineup: http://www.lairdandcompany.com/pdf/spirits_domestic/2005-Laird%20apple%20products%20sell%20sheet.pdf

smokinjoe
11-03-2007, 15:06
I picked up a bottle of the 7-1/2 yr this afternoon, based on the comments in this thread. Very nice. So similar to some younger bourbons, that it was scary. Saw the 12 year, also. Very nice packaging and presentation. Looked tempting, but at $45 I went with the 7-1/2 yr and an EWSB 97. I think I will try the 12 yr though, maybe around Thanksgiving.

:toast:

JOE

Gillman
11-03-2007, 15:19
Joe, I wonder if there is a tradition of aging apple spirit in new charred wood, as with bourbon. This may be the case based on the Laird's seeming similar to a bourbon of the same age.

Gary

ILLfarmboy
11-03-2007, 20:02
With so much talk about Laird Straight Apple Brandy went looking for some today. All I could find was the blended stuff. So I came home with a bottle of Calvados Cardinal. See attached picture.

I'm drinking some now. The nose although faint reminds me of some type of apple flavored caramel candy I had in my childhood. The ones shaped like tootsie rolls but a bit longer. They came in assorted flavors with colorful wrappers. I'm a bit disappointed in its flavor. The color reminds me of many Irish or scotch whiskys with ten times the amount of flavor. It seems rather young with very little barrel influence and almost no tannins. How does this compare with the blended Laird apple brandy or the various Laird iterations mentioned earlier in this thread?

Perhaps apple brandy just isn't for me.

ILLfarmboy
11-04-2007, 09:24
Calvado's is the Cognac of apple brandies.

Here- http://www.cocktaildb.com/ingr_detail?id=61

and- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvados_%28spirit%29


I love the stuff. I have quite a few bottles and they are usually magnificent , if you like apple brandy. The Lairds are good but different compared to good Calvado's. I find Lairds BIB and the 80 are great for mixing, while the Calvado's are meant for snifter's.

Just like everything else in the world of spirits, Calvado's can be $$$$$, so keep that in mind of you plan on getting into it.


I should have read further into the Wikipedia entry. "fine" refers to the youngest spirit in the blend as being at least two years old. that explains the youngish new spirit taste.

re-tasting with that in mind. Is it too early to have a drink this morning?:grin:
I can see this being used in some traditional apple brandy cocktails or perhaps added to one of my wife's flavored teas.

Sweetmeats
11-04-2007, 20:14
I'm horrible at tasting notes. But the Laird Bonded Apple Brandy 100 Proof is unbelievably good with a helluva kick. If you like whiskey, you'll love this. It's not too sweet but you can definitely taste the apple.

polyamnesia
11-05-2007, 15:27
which is the original that i think George Washington (?) ended up making? the apple brandy or true "applejack"?

i think we (here in PA) only have the Applejack...but i do like it. yep, like apple whiskey! nothing fancy

cowdery
11-05-2007, 16:24
Washington didn't have the technology to produce neutral spirits so anything he made would have been relatively low proof, not much above 50% ABV. In that day, the terms applejack and apple brandy would have been synonymous. I'm sure applejack only became this cheaper, blended product in the modern era.

Laird & Company apparently makes a range of products, including several well-aged apple brandies. This is from their web site:

"In addition to Laird's Applejack, Laird & Company produces various other Apple Brandy products, such as Captain Applejack Blend 80 proof, Captain Applejack Bond 100 proof and Laird's Bond 100 proof (both straight Apple Brandy), Captain Apple Brandy straight 80 proof, Laird's 7 1/2 Year Old Apple Brandy straight 80 proof and Laird’s 12 Year Old Rare Apple Brandy straight 88 proof."

According to the federal regs, applejack is synonymous with apple brandy. The product I bought is and must be labeled as blended applejack. The label says "Laird's Applejack" in big letters and "a smooth blend" in small letters underneath. The rules for blended applejack are the same as the rules for blended whiskey.

TBoner
11-05-2007, 18:38
Interesting. I have always heard that Laird's didn't make the blended stuff until the early 70s, when the government told them if they wanted to call it "Applejack," it had to contain neutral spirits. Otherwise, it would have to be labeled brandy. They wanted the brand recognition.

Either way, I guess it's worked out okay for them.