Top Brandy Nightcap Recommendations

After wine with dinner, whiskey can often be too jarring as a nightcap. Keep it in the family by choosing a brandy instead. Here are some of our favorite brandies from around the world, each worthy of the last sip of the night.
May 15, 2019
  • 12
    12 Shakmat Armenian Brandy 23 Year
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    Sweet & Rich
    This Armenian brandy was made in collaboration between Flaviar and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. The name means "chess" in Armenian, which, second to enjoying "Konyak", is one of Armenia's most beloved traditions. This blended XO is made from indigenous grapes and made using a continuous column still and a double distillation process in French alembic stills.
  • 11
    11 Courvoisier 21 Year Cognac
    88
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    Spicy & Rich
    Though not unprecedented, it is unusual for a cognac to declare an age statement. Courvoisier was the first of the four major houses to release one which they did along with their 12 Year in the fall of 2010. Courvoisier uses only grapes from the Grande Champagne region for this bottling.
  • 10
    10 Lepanto PX Gran Reserva
    90
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    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.
  • 9
    9 Marolo Grappa di Barolo 12 Years
    90
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    Rich & Oily
    Marolo Grappa di Barolo 12 Years is a grappa distilled from the pomace of Nebbiolo, a red wine grape variety grown in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. It is aged for 12 years in small oak barrels and bottled at 50% ABV.
  • 8
    8 Hine Homage Cognac
    90
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    Fruity
    Hine Homage Cognac is a blend of Early-Landing cognacs from the Grande Champagne region from 3 older vintages: 1984, 1986, and 1987 which were matured in the UK. Early Landing cognacs are characterized by exportation prior to maturation. This was blended with Fine Champagne cognac aged in Jarnac; all of the brandy was aged at least 10 years prior to bottling.
  • 7
    7 Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac
    91
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    Rich & Fruity
    Cordon Bleu is the shining star of Martell's core lineup, until you move your way up to the ultra-ultra premium offerings. Cordon Bleu first debuted in 1912, and incorporates eaux-de-vie aged between 10 and 25 years. While the cognac includes grapes from four regions, the majority is from Borderies. The Martell house maintains usage of roughly 50 percent of all grape production from that region.
  • 6
    6 Delamain Vesper XO Grande Champagne Cognac
    92
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    Rich & Fruity
    Delamain Vesper XO consists of cognac aged 30-35 years of age. Aged in 350-liter very old Limousin oak casks which are stored in their in humid cellars near the Charente River. Once selected, the cognacs are blended and aged for 2 more years to marry. Made entirely from 100% Grande Champagne and brought down in proof by the addition of very old low-proof eaux-de-vie.
  • 5
    5 Pierre Ferrand Renegade Barrel No. 2
    92
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    Rich
    Pierre Ferrand Renegade Barrel No. 2 is aged in a combination of oak and chestnut barrels. The practice of aging in chestnut barrels has been forgotten since 1945 and as a result, it was not included in subsequent Cognac AOC regulations. Therefore, this is designated as an "eau de vie" and not a cognac. However, it is made entirely from grapes from the Grande Champagne region. It is bottled at 47.1% ABV. Limited availability.
  • 4
    4 Germain-Robin Select Barrel XO Brandy
    93
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    Spicy & Woody
    Production is small for this Select Barrel XO bottling as only 10 barrels are made every year. About 80% of the wine used for distillation is comprised of pinot noir. On average, the brandy is about 17 years of age with the aging taking place in Limousin oak barrels.
  • 3
    3 Roger Groult Calvados 12 Year
    93
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    Fruity & Rich
    In 1860, Pierre Groult first distilled his cider and aged the eau de vie in oak barrels, starting a five generation tradition of producing in the village of Saint-Cyr du Ronceray in Normandy. Now overseen by Jean-Roger Groult, their Calvados is still double-distilled in pots over wood fires. Their cider, using 30 apple varieties, ferments and rests on the lees for a full year before the first distillation. After the final distillation, the eau de vie ages in large barrels most of which are more than 100 years old which are never fully emptied. Bottling is done on the estate without chill filtration.
  • 2
    2 Cognac Park XO Extra
    95
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    Rich
    Every bottle of Cognac Park Extra contains a blend of eaux-de-vie aged between 40 to 60 years old, with each distillate spending its first year in lightly toasted new French Limousin oak, and then transferred to older oak casks. The ugni blanc grapes used were harvested exclusively from the Grande Champagne cru, considered one of the best and favored growing regions for cognac. The complex soil is rich with chalk and limestone, making it most fertile for grape-growing. This cognac is one of the high end expressions in the brand's line up, showcasing the best attributes of the Grande Champagne cru.
  • 1
    1 Delord Armagnac 25 Year
    95
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    Fruity & Woody
    Owned and operated by three generations of the Delord family, the House of Delord has been making armagnac since the 1890s when the patriarch of the family purchased a vineyard in Lannepax in Bas-Armagnac. Delord grows all four of the major armagnac varietals (ugni blanc, colombard, Baco blanc, and folle-blanche) without pesticides or fertilizers. They distill their eaux-de-vie on-site either in traditional continuous stills or in a double-distillation process. The new-make spirit of the former goes into older bottlings, whereas the double distilled new-make typically goes into younger bottlings. This armagnac is aged at least twenty-five years. Bottled at 40% ABV.