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Reviews for 2018

September 2018 - Brandy, Cognac, Armagnac & Grappa

September 2018 - Brandy, Cognac, Armagnac & Grappa
This month's spirits feature is Brandy, Cognac, Armagnac & Grappa

Brandy, Cognac, Armagnac & Grappa Reviews

Courvoisier XO Cognac
94 points
$150
Brilliant copper color. Nutty aromas of ripe red apples, plum tart, almond butter, and toasted coconut with a round, vibrant, fruity medium body and a warming, complex, very long leather, cacao nibs, dried hen of the woods mushrooms, smoked paprika, and cured pork finish. A spectacularly complex cognac that offers a layered flavor journey for the palate; experiential.
Awards: 2018 Best XO Cognac
Camus Extra Dark and Intense Cognac
94 points
$499.99
Dark amber color. Aromas of dried cherries, luxury tobacco, and caramelized passionfruit and soursop with an oily, crisp, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, involved, very long bay leaf, rose water, game, espresso crema, allspice berries, ginger, and artisan rootbeer float finish. A nutty, decadent Cognac with an oscillatingly nectar-sweet and spicy finish.
94 points $499.99
Perea Apricot Brandy
93 points
$25
Best Buy
Clear color. Confected aromas of butterscotch, apple, wildberry candies, strawberry shortcake, and mixed berry pie filling with a round, crisp, fruity light body and an effortless, delightful, medium-long blackberry fruit roll-up, chocolate taffy, agave, and dried apricot finish. Electric waves of intense fruits are packed into this flavor-trip of an eau de vie; a very fun spirit to mix in cocktails or sip neat to celebrate.
Awards: 2018 Best Fruit Brandy
93 points $25 Best Buy
Croizet X.O. Gold Cognac
93 points
$137.99
Amber color. Aromas of caramel, passionfruit, toasted croissant, sesame oil, and cured meats with a velvety, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, layered, long espresso beans, red bean bao, milk chocolate with roasted almonds, caraway, and dried peach finish. A spicy, chewy XO cognac that will be a delightful nightcap offering for your guests.
93 points $137.99
Camus Borderies XO Family Reserve Cognac
93 points
$169.99
Bright bronze color. Aromas of tobacco, caramel sauce with candied lemon peel, apple strudel, and wax with a round, crisp, dryish medium body and a charming, medium-length mixed berry jam, spiced orange oil, dry roasted peanuts, pressed flowers, and leather patina finish. A dry XO that brings a citrusy vibe for mellow sipping.
93 points $169.99
Frísco Brandy
92 points
$35
Brilliant clear color. Fruity, floral aromas of sweet plantain, ripe cantaloupe, iris, aniseed, sandalwood, and grapefruit with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light body and a warming, captivating, medium-long violet, orange blossom, sour cherry preserve, eucalyptus, and kumquat finish. A vivacious and smooth clear brandy that seems a cousin to South America’s famous eau de vies.
Pere Magloire VSOP Calvados
91 points
$39.99
Golden amber color. Yeasty aromas of heirloom apples, sultana studded yeasty brioche, dandelion blossom, Forelle pear, plum vinegar, and honey on French toast with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium body and a peppery, nuanced, medium-long bananas in custard, smoked Manchego, butterscotch pudding, flaky lemon curd Danish, mango rind, and walnut finish. A rustic, charming Calvados with a huge spectrum of flavors.
91 points $39.99
Croizet V.S.O.P. Cognac
91 points
$65.99
Amber color. Complex aromas of dulce de leche, orange zest, dark chocolate shavings, cedar, and lilac with a round, crisp, fruity medium body and a warming, interesting, long butterscotch, leather patina, minerals, and chocolate genache finish. A rich, buttery cognac with velvety texture and nuance to spare; an excellent choice for elegant cocktails.
Awards: 2018 Best VSOP Cognac
91 points $65.99
Clem’s Cowboy Cognac
90 points
$29.99
Amber color. Aromas of chocolate covered toffee and pears, kettle roasted nuts, dried pineapple, and raisin studded king cake with a round, vibrant, fruity medium body and a smooth, medium-long dulce de leche, buttercream frosting, leather, and tiramisu finish. A rich and decadent VS cognac that truly delivers; classic cocktails will shine with this spirit.
Awards: 2018 Best VS Cognac
90 points $29.99
Camus Borderies VSOP Single Estate Cognac
90 points
$52.99
Golden amber color. Fruity aromas of apple butter on rye toast, black licorice, dried currants and dates, and toasted coconut with a satiny, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, medium-length chocolate-caramel chew, pressed flowers, charred nuts, and cardamom and rose tea finish. A solid VSOP with a caramel richness; will play well in cocktails.
90 points $52.99
Croizet Black Legend Cognac
89 points
$74.99
Amber color. Aromas of boysenberry jam, pineapple, apricot-almond tart, bananas flambe, steamed almond milk, and wintergreen with a round, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a sleek, appealing, long brandied cherries, tangerine zest in caramel, dark chocolate, and dried sweet tomato finish. A rich and lively Cognac with lots of fruit and spice to ponder.
89 points $74.99
E&J Distillers VS Brandy
88 points
$27
Golden amber color. Candied aromas of bubble gum, root beer, pear jellies, chocolate chip muffin, paraffin, and honey with a round, vibrant, off-dry medium body and a warming, stimulating, medium-length rainbow sherbet, creme Anglaise with nutmeg, juicy fruit gum, and clove finish. A round and very fruity brandy that will be a real crowd pleaser.
Awards: 2018 Best Dark Brandy
Laurendeaux Cognac VS
88 points
$29.99
Golden amber color. Aromas of ripe golden apple, marzipan, caramel-glazed pineapple, eucalyptus, and flaky all-butter pie crust with a satiny, fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, stimulating, medium-length cherry flesh and stone, golden raisins in bread pudding, salted milk chocolate, candied hazelnut, and thyme finish. An attractive, lengthy VS cognac that won’t let you down.
88 points $29.99
Courvoisier VSOP Cognac
88 points
$37.99
Amber color. Aromas of vanilla wafer, honeysuckle, pears and pineapples in syrup, and Swisher sweets with a round, fruity medium body and a warming, intricate, long dried apricots in honey, salty prosciutto, chestnut cream, dried figs, and herb compound butter on toasted brioche finish. A rich, layered VSOP cognac for slow sipping or spectacular cocktails.
88 points $37.99
Domaine Dupont Fine Reserve Calvados
88 points
$44
Golden straw color. Aromas of nougat, dried golden apple, chardonnay, fig Newton, and braised turnip with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity light body and a warming, medium-length cinnamon and clove pastry and fennel seed finish. A youthful Calvados for cocktail play.
Croizet V.S. Cognac
88 points
$49.99
Amber color. Fruity aromas of plump dried figs, dried pineapple and orange peels, toasted artisan baguette, and red apple chutney with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light body and a sleek, breezy Dr. Pepper and mulling spices finish. An easy, breezy, figgy little cognac.
88 points $49.99
Bailoni Original Gold Apricot Brandy
87 points
$49.95
Clear color. Fruity, floral aromas and flavors of plums and apricots, toasty fig bars, magnolia, and cherry blossom with a round, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, refreshing, medium-long finish. A cheerful apricot brandy with delicate florals that’s like sipping a bouquet of cherry blossoms.
87 points $49.95
Gran Gala VS Cognac
86 points
$17.99
Golden amber color. Attractive aromas of caramelized zucchini, mesquite, ripe sweet cherry, pineapple-kiwi smoothie, clove cigarettes, and candy corn with a satiny, crisp, fruity medium body and a peppery, medium-length black pepper, galangal, washed rind cheese, and salted caramel malted milk balls finish. A super solid VS cognac that offers plenty of toasty oak and concentration for the category.
86 points $17.99
Pietro Gallo Estate Grappa Di Prosecco
86 points
$70
Silver color. Aromas of wool, parmesan rind, plantain peel, and charred cereals with a glycerous, vibrant, fruity light body and a silky, medium-length tangerine, lavender, jasmine, apple liqueur, and nickel finish. A crafty grappa with a bright and fruity center.
E&J Distillers VSOP Brandy
85 points
$33
Bronze color. Aromas and flavors of pistachio gelato, cola float, praline, and vanillin with a round, crisp, off-dry medium body and a medium-length peaches in cream and salted mixed nuts finish. A vividly fruity brandy that a nice choice for mixed drinks or Wisconsin Old Fashioneds.
E&J Distillers XO Brandy
85 points
$40
Dark amber color. Creamy aromas of cola float, vanilla nougat, maple raisin, mixed melon salad, and white chocolate with a velvety, vibrant, off-dry medium body and a seamless, medium-length vanilla bean ice cream, candied orange peel, and caramel mocha latte finish. A vanilla bomb of a brandy that will be great mixed with cola or in sangrias.
Wollersheim Distillery Wisconsin Apple Brandy
84 points
$45
Gold color. Aromas of golden and granny smith apples, walnut confection, spumoni, vanilla buttercream, clove, and dried mint and thyme with a velvety, crisp, fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length nougat, tiramisu, and caraway finish. A cocktail friendly apple brandy with a nice fruity, creamy style.
Vermont Spirits No.14 Apple Brandy
84 points
$52.99
Golden amber color. Woody aromas of sawdust, dried stonefruit, cinnamon, and parsley with a slightly chewy, crisp, dryish medium body and a peppery, short-to-medium banana bread, underripe pear, cherry stone, pastry dough, and fresh no 2 pencil finish. An oak-dominated fruit brandy for a fun twist on an Old-Fashioned cocktail.
84 points $52.99
Janneau VSOP Armagnac
84 points
$59.99
Golden amber color. Aromas of roasted pine nuts, enamel, gingerbread cookies, gelatin, charred nuts, mustard, salami, and brie with a lightly tannic, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a warming, medium-length cocoa and toast finish. A rustic Armagnac for cocktail play.
84 points $59.99
E&J Distillers Peach Brandy
83 points
Golden amber color. Candied aromas and flavors of peach syrup candy, honey candies, and cream soda with a supple, vibrant, sweet light-to-medium body and a hot, medium-length lozenge finish. A peachy flavored brandy to spike punches and white sangrias.
E&J Distillers Apple Brandy
82 points
$35
Golden amber color. Confected aromas of green apple candy with a satiny, tart, cloying light-to-medium body and a hot, brisk caramel apple lollipop finish. A wild, intense sour apple candy flavored brandy that might be nice in an apple martini.
Argonaut Speculator Brandy
82 points
$40
Gold color. Grainy aromas and flavors of cherry handpie, overripe peach, red and black licorice, vanilla cream, dried figs and dates, and buttery blondie bar with a round, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, medium-length molasses and caramel flan finish. A youthful brandy that will be at home in a Wisconsin Old Fashioned cocktail.
Argonaut Fat Thumb Brandy
82 points
$50
Gold color. Aromas of underripe banana, hay, dried papaya, lipstick, dried lemon rind and apple peel, sherry, and toffee and marshmallow with a supple, crisp, dry light body and a peppery, brisk cereal in milk, aluminum, raisin bread pudding, and spearmint finish. A go-to brandy for emergency tipples.
Argonaut Saloon Strength Brandy
81 points
$40
Sedimentary golden amber color. Candied aromas of sultanas and dried cherries, caramelized bananas with vanilla gelato, lime leaf, molasses-candied walnut, and juicy fruit gum with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity light body and a tingling, brisk toasted raisin swirl bread finish. A mild-tempered brandy for cocktails; oddly sedimentary.
Argonaut The Claim Brandy
81 points
$200
Sedimentary gold color. Tropical aromas of sugared bananas, underripe papaya, breadfruit, grilled green pepper, and passionfruit ice cream with a glycerous, crisp, fruity light-to-medium body and a seamless, intriguing, medium-length clove, wintergreen, crystalized tangerine peel, roasted pistachio, and buttercream finish. A seemingly unfiltered brandy packed with crowd-friendly fruits and creamy appeal; oddly sedimentary.
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