The Top Brandy Picks Under $100

This is the perfect time for brandy. And that includes not just cognac, but also armagnac, calvados, and brandies from Spain and the US. Treat yo self and stock your home bar with these picks for the season, each less than $100.
Oct 23, 2018
  • 10
    10 Tariquet Bas-Armagnac XO
    89
    Spicy
    The grapes used in the production of Tariquet Armagnacs are all estate-grown. In this case, 60% of the grapes used were ugni blanc with the remaining 40% comprised of baco. After fermentation, the wine is then distilled in a wood-fueled alembic still, the ugni blanc wine fermented and distilled separately from the baco. Though the minimum age for XO is 10 years as of April 2018, the youngest Armagnac in this bottling is 15 years old.
  • 9
    9 Hine Rare VSOP Cognac
    90
    Sweet
    This VSOP from Hine is comprised of about 60% Grand Champagne and the remainder using Petite Champagne eaux-de-vie making this a Fine Champagne Cognac. The age for the cognac used in this blend range from 6-12 years with the average age being 8 years.
  • 8
    8 Christian Drouin XO Calvados
    90
    Nutty & Woody
    For their XO product, Drouin incorporates a portion of ex-cognac casks into the usual mix, otherwise dominated by ex-Bordeaux barrels. The youngest spirit in this bottle is eight years old, but it includes some far older stocks as well.
  • 7
    7 Pierre Ferrand Réserve Double Cask Cognac
    90
    Fruity & Sweet
    This Réserve Double Cask release from Pierre Ferrand is aged first in small French oak barrels for 7-10 years. This is then blended with 20 year-old cognac. Once blended, it is aged for one additional year in a humid cellar in casks which once held Banyuls wine, a fortified dessert wine. This is a permanent addition to the portfolio and replaces their Réserve bottling. Available in April 2017.
  • 6
    6 Lepanto PX Gran Reserva
    90
    Sweet & Rich
    Lepanto is the luxury offshoot of González-Byass which has the distinction of being the only Brandy de Jerez which is produced entirely from start to finish in Jerez. Lepanto PX Gran Reserva is produced from Palomino grapes grown in the region, which undergo a double-distillation process in the Los Arcos cellar between two Charentais pot stills from Cognac that date back to the 1960s. The distillate, or 'horanda', is aged for a minimum of 15 years in a solera system in sherry barrels once used for bourbon. They spend 12 years in barrels that had been used for Tio Pepe sherry and 3 years in barrels that had aged Noe, a Pedro Ximénez sherry that ages for 30 years.
  • 5
    5 Delamain Pale & Dry XO Cognac
    90
    Fruity
    Delamain was established in 1920 and is still (mostly) family-owned. They are a cognac house which uses only eaux-de-vie from the highest cru in Cognac, the Grande Champagne region. Delamain Pale & Dry XO Cognac is named for its pale color and dry style of cognac. It is also the youngest release from the house with an average age of 25 years. There is no caramel color added and the proof is brought down with older cognac at a lower proof rather than with water.
  • 4
    4 Guillon-Painturaud VSOP Grande Champagne Cognac
    90
    Fruity & Sweet
    Guillon-Painturaud is a family-owned cognac grower-producer with its estate having been in the family since 1610. In the 1970s the brand ceased selling to large cognac houses and have since bottled their cognac under their family name. This practice is still very rare in the region now, and was nothing short of revolutionary at the time. After fermentation, the wine (made from estate-grown ugni blanc) is distilled unfiltered. The resulting eau-de-vie matures in bespoke French oak barrels from the Limousin and Tronçais forests. The brand's VSOP is aged, on average 15 years--far longer than the required 4 years for the category. No additives added before bottling at 80 proof.
  • 3
    3 Paul Beau VSOP Grande Champagne Cognac
    91
    Floral & Sweet
    The world's cognac is supplied by the big four producers -- no need to name them, no doubt you’ve at least heard of, if not tasted them. Producers that distill and bottle themselves account for a trickle of the region's production, which makes labels like Paul Beau (which started bottling independently at the end of the 1800s) such an anomaly. Their vineyards are in the heart of Cognac's Grande Champagne region (considered the best of the region). Also notable, this VSOP bottling averages brandies aged 15 years -- quite a leap from the required 4 years.
  • 2
    2 Laird's Rare Old Apple Brandy 12 Year
    91
    Fruity & Rich
    The Shenandoah Valley and its surrounding area is the source for the apples used in Laird's brandies which are then distilled in New Jersey. It is then aged in 50-gallon charred oak barrels before bottling in Virginia. Currently, this is the oldest brandy that Laird's offers. Little known fact: It takes 30 pounds of apples to produce this 12 year-old bottling.
  • 1
    1 Osocalis Apple Brandy
    93
    Fruity & Sweet
    Osocalis is a brandy distillery located in Soquel located in Northern California, but the traditions and methods of distillation are French. Dan Farber, owner and master distiller, spent many years in France and other parts of the world studying and making brandy. He began Osocalis in the early 1990's and exclusively produces brandies. A small, alembic still is used for distillation and in this bottling, over a dozen apples from the mountains of northern California are employed. It is aged for 15 years.