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
    Roast & Woody
    Bass and Flinders Ochre hail’s from Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, a southern wine growing region in Australia boasting over fifty vineyards, and also produces a range of liqueurs and gins. The Ochre is double-distilled in a copper alembic, using Chardonnay grapes grown at Red Hill. The maturation takes place in French oak barrels previously used for grape spirit storage in France. Note: Only available in Australia at this time.
  • 9
    Earthy & Oily
    Dramatically lacking in sugars, but abundant in character and aromatics, ginger presents a very particular set of hurdles for the distiller not to mention a massive amount of raw of ginger. (It takes 88 pounds of ginger to produce one liter!) These obstacles juxtaposed with an irresistible set of potential rewards make this a compelling challenge for such a great distiller.
  • 8
    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.
  • 7
    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.
  • 6
    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.
  • 5
    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.
  • 4
    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.
  • 3
    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.
  • 2
    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.
  • 1
    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).