St. George California Reserve Apple Brandy (2014 Release)
American Brandy — California, USA
The Bottle: Apothecary, comes to mind. The bottle itself looks like something that you would store potions in... The label is typical of the distillery, elegant and old school. Lots of great information about the product and where it comes from, but presented in an almost Victorian fashion. It's a looker, to be sure. In the Glass: Unsurprisingly, it looks like apple juice. On the Nose: Through-and-through, this smells like an orchard. Apples on the forefront with undercurrents of oak and leaves. It's a lighter eau-de-vie than it is a heavy pot-still brandy from the old country. Taste: Strong apple on the arrival, but not at all sweet. There's a youthfulness here that gives the spirit a lot of vitality. Oak-aged, but it doesn't seem like for too long given the overall tone that it strikes. There's a nip of alcohol on the finish coupled with a spice note that reads almost like black pepper (quite enjoyable!). The finish turns "apple pie without the cinnamon" after a few minutes. It makes for a decent sipper, though it might be better suited to a cocktail application. An upstart American Calvados, if I ever met one. If apple brandy is your thing, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not giving this one a shot if you come across it.