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Giving this thread a much needed bump. Sku's review of Copper & King's Apple Brandy (http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2016/10/apple-brandy-week-copper-kings-apple.html?m=1) inspired me to open my bottle of this, which has been languishing on my shelf for some time.

 

K&L says this apple brandy was aged in 90% ex-bourbon casks and 10% ex-sherry. Smells like very fruity bourbon. Some spice on the palate like Sku noted but the sherry takes over about halfway through and that's pretty much all that remains through the finish. There is perhaps a faint hint of apple hiding in the red-fruited sherry notes, but if I didn't know that this is apple brandy, I may not even recognize it as apple. Interesting stuff but I'm not sold on it. I was hoping for more apple influence and I can't tell if the apple notes were never there to begin with, if they got aged away, or if the sherry is hiding them. Will revisit this in a week or two and see if it (or I) have changed at all.

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On 10/11/2016 at 11:22 PM, Kpiz said:

Giving this thread a much needed bump. Sku's review of Copper & King's Apple Brandy (http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2016/10/apple-brandy-week-copper-kings-apple.html?m=1) inspired me to open my bottle of this, which has been languishing on my shelf for some time.

 

K&L says this apple brandy was aged in 90% ex-bourbon casks and 10% ex-sherry. Smells like very fruity bourbon. Some spice on the palate like Sku noted but the sherry takes over about halfway through and that's pretty much all that remains through the finish. There is perhaps a faint hint of apple hiding in the red-fruited sherry notes, but if I didn't know that this is apple brandy, I may not even recognize it as apple. Interesting stuff but I'm not sold on it. I was hoping for more apple influence and I can't tell if the apple notes were never there to begin with, if they got aged away, or if the sherry is hiding them. Will revisit this in a week or two and see if it (or I) have changed at all.

I ordered a bottle of this once it was discounted but haven't had it shipped yet.  It's cheap enough now that I'm willing to take a chance.  I wonder sometimes why I stray from Laird's.  I love the Laird's BIB so much and am constantly disappointed when I try other apple brandies and they don't hold up.  I feel the need to explore but sometimes I think it's an exercise in futility.  I'll have to see if that continues but based on your review I think it probably will.

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2 hours ago, NightCru said:

I ordered a bottle of this once it was discounted but haven't had it shipped yet.  It's cheap enough now that I'm willing to take a chance.  I wonder sometimes why I stray from Laird's.  I love the Laird's BIB so much and am constantly disappointed when I try other apple brandies and they don't hold up.  I feel the need to explore but sometimes I think it's an exercise in futility.  I'll have to see if that continues but based on your review I think it probably will.

I sometimes feel the same way about Laird's, although I've found a lot of great calvados as of late. Do you still have the BIB version on the shelf near you or is it the NAS version?

 

As negative as my comments on the C&K apple brandy may have sounded, I ordered another bottle at the discounted price. Much like my experience with the C&K Cr&ftwerk brandy, I think my expectations can get in the way of enjoying some of these more unusual bottles. With this one, I was certainly expecting something a little closer to Laird's (especially with them both being 100-proof) at least in terms of apple flavor. My disappointment wasn't necessarily that it was bad but that the sherry may have overpowered any subtle apple that may have been in the spirit.

 

And on the subject of apple flavor, it's interesting to read Joe Heron's comments on that same blog post (and it's pretty cool that he commented on the blog at all). He says he has become skeptical of spirits with strong apple flavor, which he implies are likely to contain added apple flavoring. He has probably tasted many more apple-based spirits than I have and also may know the specs on those products (whether they contain flavoring), so I don't doubt him. BUT, Laird's is a straight apple brandy, so should not contain additives, and it certainly has distinct apple notes (though I wouldn't say those apple flavors are "overt" or "powerful").

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15 minutes ago, Kpiz said:

I sometimes feel the same way about Laird's, although I've found a lot of great calvados as of late. Do you still have the BIB version on the shelf near you or is it the NAS version?

 

As negative as my comments on the C&K apple brandy may have sounded, I ordered another bottle at the discounted price. Much like my experience with the C&K Cr&ftwerk brandy, I think my expectations can get in the way of enjoying some of these more unusual bottles. With this one, I was certainly expecting something a little closer to Laird's (especially with them both being 100-proof) at least in terms of apple flavor. My disappointment wasn't necessarily that it was bad but that the sherry may have overpowered any subtle apple that may have been in the spirit.

 

And on the subject of apple flavor, it's interesting to read Joe Heron's comments on that same blog post (and it's pretty cool that he commented on the blog at all). He says he has become skeptical of spirits with strong apple flavor, which he implies are likely to contain added apple flavoring. He has probably tasted many more apple-based spirits than I have and also may know the specs on those products (whether they contain flavoring), so I don't doubt him. BUT, Laird's is a straight apple brandy, so should not contain additives, and it certainly has distinct apple notes (though I wouldn't say those apple flavors are "overt" or "powerful").

 

Have to think what proof it is distilled to makes some difference as well as perhaps the type and shape of still used. Certainly plenty of corn (or whatever grain is used) flavor in at least some white dogs. Also makes me think of the unique flavor of the Corsair Quinoa whiskey, which is of course from a pot still. 

 

Laird's it seems is using a combination pot/column still and distilled to the same 160 pf level as bourbon.

 

http://www.lairdandcompany.com/products_process.htm

 

After the apples are harvested, they are carefully inspected, washed, and pressed into pure, sweet apple juice. This juice is then transferred to 20,000 gallon temperature controlled fermenter tanks, where the juice is allowed to ferment naturally (no yeast cultures or starters are employed).

 

The fermentation process converts the natural sugars into alcohol, and can require from seven to thirty days, depending on the ambient temperature. The fermentation process is monitored constantly, until the sugars in the apple must have been converted into alcohol. The fermented juice, is then pumped to the combination pot/column still, and distillation proceeds. The distilled product comes off of the still at approximately 160 proof. This proof level insures that maximum flavor and aroma are maintained in the distilled Brandy.

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3 hours ago, tanstaafl2 said:

 

Have to think what proof it is distilled to makes some difference as well as perhaps the type and shape of still used. Certainly plenty of corn (or whatever grain is used) flavor in at least some white dogs. Also makes me think of the unique flavor of the Corsair Quinoa whiskey, which is of course from a pot still. 

 

Laird's it seems is using a combination pot/column still and distilled to the same 160 pf level as bourbon.

 

http://www.lairdandcompany.com/products_process.htm

 

After the apples are harvested, they are carefully inspected, washed, and pressed into pure, sweet apple juice. This juice is then transferred to 20,000 gallon temperature controlled fermenter tanks, where the juice is allowed to ferment naturally (no yeast cultures or starters are employed).

 

The fermentation process converts the natural sugars into alcohol, and can require from seven to thirty days, depending on the ambient temperature. The fermentation process is monitored constantly, until the sugars in the apple must have been converted into alcohol. The fermented juice, is then pumped to the combination pot/column still, and distillation proceeds. The distilled product comes off of the still at approximately 160 proof. This proof level insures that maximum flavor and aroma are maintained in the distilled Brandy.

 

Great point about the impact of distilling method. Copper & Kings is using pot stills but I am not sure to what proof they are distilling. Also, most or all of the apple brandy in their current blend was sourced (from multiple places IIRC), so there were perhaps a variety of methods employed (I seem to remember the apple brandy saying it was all pot-distilled but I could be thinking of the Butchertown brandy). K&L has the C&K unaged apple brandy discounted as well, so I just bought a bottle to compare to the Zang 00 and the Laird's Jersey Lightning. The upcoming SBS has become a SBSBS!

 

Another very important production variable is the fruit. Laird's, having been in the apple brandy business for a very long time, may be using apple varieties specifically suited to making brandy and/or cider, though that is pure speculation. Such apples would be much lower in sugar than table apples but have higher acidity, tannin, or both, in addition to other differences such as size. One can also make the distinction between a cider apple and a brandy apple, as some Calvados producers do, according to Charles Neal in his book Calvados.

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On 10/8/2013 at 1:47 AM, Edward_call_me_Ed said:

I have been drinking Kirkland Tequila Silver this summer. It is 100% agave and is really quite nice.

I think it is a great deal for the price and it is pretty good! 

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I'm drinking a mini bottle of Bjork Liqueur that a friend brought back for me from Iceland. This is made from "Distilled grain spirit, flavored with Icelandic birch, handpicked in the Spring, contains sugar and birch syrup." It is pretty medicinal and unusual but I like it. It even comes with a little birch twig in it - what's not to like? The same friend also brought me back the schnapps version of this, which as far as I can tell means that it is higher in alcohol (36%abv for the schnapps vs 27.5% for the liqueur). Will give the schnapps a try later this week.

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On 10/14/2016 at 0:46 PM, Kpiz said:

I sometimes feel the same way about Laird's, although I've found a lot of great calvados as of late. Do you still have the BIB version on the shelf near you or is it the NAS version?

 

And on the subject of apple flavor, it's interesting to read Joe Heron's comments on that same blog post (and it's pretty cool that he commented on the blog at all). He says he has become skeptical of spirits with strong apple flavor, which he implies are likely to contain added apple flavoring. He has probably tasted many more apple-based spirits than I have and also may know the specs on those products (whether they contain flavoring), so I don't doubt him. BUT, Laird's is a straight apple brandy, so should not contain additives, and it certainly has distinct apple notes (though I wouldn't say those apple flavors are "overt" or "powerful").

I mistyped, it's the Laird's NAS 100 proof that I'm drinking, not the BIB.

 

I'm guessing you probably already joined SKU's brandy group on Facebook and may have already seen this but he had a post recently about the "straight" designation having no legal meaning for apple brandy.  I would be shocked if Laird's was using some sort of additive but it looks like, at least legally, they could.

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On 10/24/2016 at 11:04 AM, NightCru said:

I'm guessing you probably already joined SKU's brandy group on Facebook and may have already seen this but he had a post recently about the "straight" designation having no legal meaning for apple brandy.  I would be shocked if Laird's was using some sort of additive but it looks like, at least legally, they could.

Yes, I joined that FB group as well - I haven't added anything to the conversation over there but have read through all the comments and such. I was very surprised to see that "straight" is not a designation that can be applied to brandy. Since they couldn't have been using flavoring before (when it was a BIB product), I think you're right that they're probably not using additives in the new younger blend.

 

Also, I think Sku is right that they're probably using "straight" to further differentiate it from their blended applejack. I always thought it was odd that they put both "straight" and "bottled in bond" on the label. In addition, they seem to be well aware of the requirements for BIB, so I'd think they would also be aware of the requirements for "straight", one of which is that if the product is <4 years old, the age must be stated. I know we already established that "straight" doesn't apply to brandy, I'm just saying that if their intent was to use it the same way that it would be used for whiskey, they would probably be aware that they should now have an age statement on the bottle, since they're reportedly using <4 year old brandy in the mix (see Tanstaafl2's post from 12/9/14 where he quotes the e-mail response he received from Laird's). 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Journeyman Bilberry Black Hearts Barrel Aged Gin.  I really like this stuff, it's brown, super fruity, young, spicy & and a nice change of pace.  Doesn't have the harsh gin taste and is easily consumed neat and takes a drop of water well.  If you see it a bar, try it out.

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14 hours ago, Journeyman said:

A glass of Slivovitz (Blue Plumb Brandy) from Clear Creek Distillery tonight.

 

What did you think of the Blue Plum Brandy? In the past I don't think we got much from Clear Creek in Atlanta but I always have been a bit curious about it. Pricey as I recall! $40 or so a half bottle?

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11 hours ago, tanstaafl2 said:

 

What did you think of the Blue Plum Brandy? In the past I don't think we got much from Clear Creek in Atlanta but I always have been a bit curious about it. Pricey as I recall! $40 or so a half bottle?

 

I really like it.  It has a distinctive flavor--light and fruity with a nice spiciness.  It's a nice change once in a while from the bourbons and scotches I usually drink.

 

A 750ml bottle is $44.95 at the state liquor stores here in Oregon.  That's generally the price of the other Clear Creek brandies, as well.  I have a bottle of their cherry snapps (Kirschwasser) that I'll open up one of these days.  It's fun to try Clear Creek's take on these traditional "waters of life".   I've read that the Slivovitz is so well done that there's a European Slivovitz competition that uses it as the standard against which local varieties are judged.

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13 hours ago, Journeyman said:

 

I really like it.  It has a distinctive flavor--light and fruity with a nice spiciness.  It's a nice change once in a while from the bourbons and scotches I usually drink.

 

A 750ml bottle is $44.95 at the state liquor stores here in Oregon.  That's generally the price of the other Clear Creek brandies, as well.  I have a bottle of their cherry snapps (Kirschwasser) that I'll open up one of these days.  It's fun to try Clear Creek's take on these traditional "waters of life".   I've read that the Slivovitz is so well done that there's a European Slivovitz competition that uses it as the standard against which local varieties are judged.

 

Interesting that an American version would be the standard for a competition in Europe!

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15 hours ago, Journeyman said:

 

I really like it.  It has a distinctive flavor--light and fruity with a nice spiciness.  It's a nice change once in a while from the bourbons and scotches I usually drink.

 

A 750ml bottle is $44.95 at the state liquor stores here in Oregon.  That's generally the price of the other Clear Creek brandies, as well.  I have a bottle of their cherry snapps (Kirschwasser) that I'll open up one of these days.  It's fun to try Clear Creek's take on these traditional "waters of life".   I've read that the Slivovitz is so well done that there's a European Slivovitz competition that uses it as the standard against which local varieties are judged.

 

Thanks for the notes, I'll have to pick up a bottle if I find it. It's been a while since I've seen it on shelves here. From what I can gather, eau-de-vie does not sell particularly well in the U.S.

 

I still have a bit of slivovitz I bought in Bosnia-Herzegovina when I was there several years ago that would be fun to compare this to. It was made by a local farmer outside of Sarajevo who distilled it from his fruit and sold it out of a gas jug. It was 8 Euros for a liter or thereabouts (and you must bring your own bottle to fill). Not the best we tried while traveling through the Balkans, but still pretty good and certainly better than the big brands that are available over there as well as the ones imported to the U.S., IMHO. My guess is that the big brands probably use lower quality fruit or sweeten the mash with sugar to boost yield (or both), resulting in a lower quality distillate.

 

Journeyman, since you're in OR and down with the eau-de-vie, have you tried anything from Stone Barn Brandyworks? It's a very small operation in Portland but they make some decent brandies. I bought a bottle of their unaged cherry brandy while I was up there a few years ago and haven't opened it. I remember liking it when I tried it at the distillery.

 

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6 hours ago, Kpiz said:

 

Thanks for the notes, I'll have to pick up a bottle if I find it. It's been a while since I've seen it on shelves here. From what I can gather, eau-de-vie does not sell particularly well in the U.S.

 

I still have a bit of slivovitz I bought in Bosnia-Herzegovina when I was there several years ago that would be fun to compare this to. It was made by a local farmer outside of Sarajevo who distilled it from his fruit and sold it out of a gas jug. It was 8 Euros for a liter or thereabouts (and you must bring your own bottle to fill). Not the best we tried while traveling through the Balkans, but still pretty good and certainly better than the big brands that are available over there as well as the ones imported to the U.S., IMHO. My guess is that the big brands probably use lower quality fruit or sweeten the mash with sugar to boost yield (or both), resulting in a lower quality distillate.

 

Journeyman, since you're in OR and down with the eau-de-vie, have you tried anything from Stone Barn Brandyworks? It's a very small operation in Portland but they make some decent brandies. I bought a bottle of their unaged cherry brandy while I was up there a few years ago and haven't opened it. I remember liking it when I tried it at the distillery.

 

I hadn't heard about Stone Barn Brandyworks, so thanks for mentioning them.  I'll see if I can visit their tasting room in the future, since their products don't look to be widely available at the state liquor stores. 

 

That's really neat that you had a chance to try a truly local slivovitz.  Your story reminds me of how distillers in Oaxaca, Mexico, distribute their small batches of mezcal, often sold in plastic jugs.  I've also read that slivovitz has a tradition of being a bit rough around the edges, which is why Clear Creek's more refined version is appreciated by those who have had the rougher stuff. 

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I hadn't heard about Stone Barn Brandyworks, so thanks for mentioning them.  I'll see if I can visit their tasting room in the future, since their products don't look to be widely available at the state liquor stores. 
 


I definitely recommend the Stone Barn tasting room if you're in Portland. It's small and in a little business park. The still is about 10 feet away so it's quite a treat if you happen to be in here while it's running! Fun times. They also have a nice coffee liqueur if you're into cocktails.

Well all this Stone Barn talk convinced me to open the unaged cherry brandy I've had sitting around for a while now. It smells incredible...a sharp cherry tartness emanates from the bottle. The mouthfeel is really nice and thick, and it has some good cherry as well as stone fruit notes on the palate. This one is hitting the spot tonight! I'll have to pick up another bottle the next time I'm up there.f7c5af30831face9e2be46b915de1331.jpg
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Well I decided not to revive a grappa thread from 2009 and instead just post this here. I'm sipping on some Jacopo Poli Barrique 13yo grappa. Lots of chocolate and sharp fruity notes in this. It also has some serious cane sweetness in the finish, and given how easy this drinks for 110 proof, in guessing it has some added sugar...but it is definitely delicious and I'm digging it

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I'm having some Campo de Encanto Grand and Noble Pisco tonight.  A lot of nice fruit notes on the nose and palate. 

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18 hours ago, Journeyman said:

I'm having some Campo de Encanto Grand and Noble Pisco tonight.  A lot of nice fruit notes on the nose and palate. 

 

Gotta love how fruity some unaged brandies can be. I think the only Pisco I've ever had was a single-varietal from Capurro, though I can't for the life of me remember which varietal it was. It was quite nice (and very fruity) straight.

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This afternoon, I'm having a pour of La Favorite Rhum Agricole Couer de Canne.  I stay away from aged rums but really enjoy Rhum Agricole Blanc, which is basically an Eau de Vie of sugar cane.  Reminds me a bit of a sweet mezcal.

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Bin 27, a daily port pour. Port wine, my second and sometimes first choice when I just want to kick back.

Sent from my HTC6545LVW using Tapatalk

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