The Top Brandy Reviews From April 2017

Out of all the brandies that the Distiller Tasting Table reviewed in April, these were their favorites.
May 01, 2017
  • 10
    10 Somerset Cider Brandy 5 Year
    80
    Spicy
    Cider brandy (known in other areas as apple brandy) has been produced in England since at least 1678. The Somerset Cider Brandy Company has been distilling since 1987. They grow up to 40 different varieties of apples for their cider and brandy (they make both) from their own orchards, but do supplement a small portion from surrounding family farms. Their 5 Year Cider Brandy is aged in small oak barrels.
  • 9
    9 Lhéraud Cognac VS Petite Champagne
    82
    Woody & Roast
    This 100% ugni blanc cognac is distilled using an old-fashioned direct-fire still and aged in new Limousin oak for three years. Lhéraud Cognacs are all made from grapes grown on the family's own vineyards. All of the packaging is designed by Mme. Lhéraud herself, while her husband Guy handles marketing and export, and their son Laurent runs the stills.
  • 8
    8 Harvest Spirits Cornelius Cherry Brandy
    86
    Fruity & Sweet
    Harvest Spirits is an official OG of New York State craft distilling. The heart of the production is apple spirits distilled on their traditional German 100-gallon pot-still. When aged in oak these become part of the “Cornelius” line and bear a delicious resemblance to Calvados or American applejack. Of course, when surrounded by the Hudson Valley’s superb fruit sources one must experiment and there are a handful of Cornelius spirits that get the extra attention of a second fruit maceration. In this case sweet Bing cherries are married to two-year aged apple brandy for an additional year in oak quarter casks.
  • 7
    7 Fine Shine Applejack
    86
    Fruity & Sweet
    Hudson Valley Distillers opened their doors in 2014 after receiving a New York Farm Distillery license and rehabbing the 150-year-old barn that houses the distillery and tasting room. Fine Shine is their applejack minus the barrel aging. Apples are sourced from a neighboring orchard while the long neglected home orchard, part of their 2013 farm purchase, is revived and converted to chemical-free practices. Passionate to the extreme about using only local ingredients they are foraging what grows wild locally and have plans to grow in their greenhouse what isn’t traditionally grown in the region.
  • 6
    6 Peach Street Grappa of Gewürztraminer
    88
    Fruity
    Peach Street Distillers is a grain (or in this case grape) to bottle distillery located in Palisade, Colorado. They make a variety of spirits including gin, whiskey, and several brandies. This is one of three grappas the make which in this case utilizes the pomace of the gewürtztraminer grape from the DeBeque Canyon Winery in Palisade. Note: This is sold in 375ml sized bottles.
  • 5
    5 Schoharie Eau-de-Vie de Pomme
    88
    Fruity & Sweet
    Husband-and-wife team Kenneth and Lori Wortz run this small operation in a former bookbinding factory in rural central New York. Kenneth grew up on an apple farm in Pennsylvania, but never though he'd set foot on a farm again as an adult. KyMar Farm spirits are made from locally-grown ingredients, fermented, distilled, and bottled on site.
  • 4
    4 Pellehaut 1989 Armagnac Ténarèze
    89
    Fruity & Rich
    Pellehaut is a successful farm that produces grains, livestock, and, most important for our purposes, grapes. There is an ambitious still wine program, but the true star is the ugni blanc used to make Armagnac. The vintages are often aged at least 20 years before release giving the Ténarèze fruit an opportunity to fully bloom.
  • 3
    3 Marolo Grappa di Moscato
    91
    Floral
    Marolo Grappa di Moscato is produced by Distilleria Marolo in Italy. Aged in stainless steel, this unaged brandy is distilled from the pomace of grapes used in the production of Moscato d'Asti, a sparking white wine.
  • 2
    2 St. George Raspberry Brandy
    93
    Fruity & Tart
    St. George starts out with whole California raspberries, picked at the height of ripeness to retain the freshness and purity of the fruit. Distilled in their proprietary copper pot-stills, the objective here was to capture the aromas of raspberries at their peak. Produced without the use of extra sugars or any other additives.
  • 1
    1 Singani 63
    93
    Fruity & Floral
    Singani is a spirit that has been produced since 1530. It has its own DO (denomination of origin) and GI (geographical indication) and can only be produced in the Bolivian Andes. The grapes (of which only muscat of Alexandria can be used) must be planted at a minimum of 5250 feet (1600 meters). As Singani is not recognized as its own spirit category in most of the world, it can only be described as a brandy, but it is better to think of it as an eau-de-vie. This Singani is the first to be available in the United States and for that you can thank director, Steven Soderbergh and his blood, sweat, and tears (and money).