The Best Brandies From November

These ten brandies ranked the highest among all of the expert Tasting Table reviews in November!
Nov 30, 2016
  • 10
    Fruity & Sweet
    Finger Lakes Distilling is a New York State Farm Distillery, which means they must use locally-grown produce to create their spirits. They are located on a vineyard in one of New York's premier wine regions known especially for producing great riesling wine. Their Riesling Grappa is an unaged pomace brandy made from the highly aromatic grape. It is crushed and pressed for wine then the entire grape – seeds, skins, and all- are fermented and distilled as is traditional for grappa. Note: This is sold in 375ml sized bottles and found only in New York State.
  • 9
    Campo de Encanto's "Barkeep's Whimsy" developed out of the company's Distiller's Apprentice program, which brings bartenders to Ica, Peru to learn about pisco. This expression inverts the recipe for their Grand and Noble pisco (torontel, quebranta, moscatel, mollar, and italia grapes) to bring the torontel grape to prominence. It is distilled one time with nothing added.
  • 8
    Sweet & Oily
    New York's farm distilleries, like Charlottesville's Schoharie Farm, benefit from a state law allowing them to sell directly to the public, facilitating a boom in craft distilling in the past decade. This most unusual spirit consists of aged apple brandy, with the addition of just a touch of local maple syrup.
  • 7
    Fruity & Woody
    Dutch’s Spirits based in New York’s Hudson Valley makes Peach Brandy in the traditional manner by using only peaches (from New York) that are first fermented then distilled into their small batch, 100% Peach Brandy. It is then aged in toasted American Oak Barrels. Bottled at 80 proof and hand labeled with batch and bottle number. (Note: Batch 02, bottle 61 was used for this review.)
  • 6
    Rich & Rancio
    Maison Paul Beau is a grower-producer in Cognac, one of the oldest artisanal cognac distillers in Segonzac. This bottling is based on the ugni blanc and colombard grape varietals all sourced completely from Grande Champagne region where Paul Beau is located. The “Lignee de Samuel Cognac” is an assemblage of eaux-de-vie from 1930 and 1950. Being one of the rarest expressions from this small house, only 60 bottles are released each year in the U.S.
  • 5
    Sweet & Fruity
    The Camut estate grows a staggering 800 types of apples on their bucolic property in the heart of the Pays d'Auge region of Calvados. This, and the maturation in large semi-full oak barrels, creates a spirit with surprising complexity and softness for a relatively young brandy. The Pays D'Auge AOC requires double distillation in copper pot stills, but the Camuts go a step further by using wood fire to power the still the old fashioned way.
  • 4
    Fruity & Tart
    This grappa from Clear Creek is distilled from pomace from 100% pinot grigio grapes from the Pacific Northwest. Once the wine is made, the pomace (skins, seeds, etc.) left over from the fermentation and pressing are removed. The dry pommace is then itself fermented and distilled. This is sold in both 375ml and 750ml sized bottles.
  • 3
    Fruity & Tart
    As is the case with all Leyrat Cognacs, the fruit used is sourced from a single estate at the Domaine de Chez Maillard, and are from the Fins Bois region.
  • 2
    Fruity & Rich
    This is a Peruvian pisco comprised of the quebranta grape exclusively, making this a "Puro" pisco,--a pisco made with one grape varietal. Santiago Queirolo was in Italian immigrant who settled in Peru and established a winery in 1880. They now make wines of all types including dessert and sparkling wines as well as their line of piscos.
  • 1
    Fruity & Spicy
    This cognac was specifically designed to enjoy with a cigar. Cognac from both Petite and Grande Champagne as well as the Fins Bois and Borderies are used to create this cuvée. Unusually for cognac, some of the brandy has been aged in new oak to accentuate the barrels influence and this is bottled at 84 proof rather than the traditional 80 proof that is standard.