- Philbert Rare Cask Sherry Finish and Hennessy X.O. are currently the top premium brandies.
- Brandy types and flavors are diverse, depending on production methods, aging, and base materials.
- The choice of brandy can be guided by the season, with full-bodied, aged brandy for winter and more floral, youthful ones for summer.
- Premium brandy is not only for sipping but also works well in highball drinks and classic cocktails.
Brandy: A Symphony of Flavors
Brandy, distilled from fruit, is a spirit that presents a diverse selection due to varied production methods, flavor profiles, provenances, and base materials. The world of brandy offers a myriad of choices, from the unaged eaux-de-vie to the long-aged Armagnacs and cognacs, all bearing unique flavors and characters. Seasonality can guide your choice of brandy, with winter calling for a full-bodied, aged brandy, and summer for a youthful, lively, and more floral option.
Diverse Elegance: From Philbert Rare Cask Sherry Finish to Hennessy X.O.
Our selection for the best overall premium brandies are the Philbert Rare Cask Sherry Finish and Hennessy X.O. The former impresses with its rich flavor and minimal additives, while the latter offers a blend of over 100 eaux-de-vie, aged for up to 30 years in young barrels, enhancing its oak character.
Artisanal Mastery: Darroze 40 Year Les Grand Assemblages and HINE Homage
When it comes to the best Armagnac, the Darroze 40 Year Les Grand Assemblages takes the crown. This artisanal brandy is richer, more rustic, and offers a more textural experience than its better-known competitor, cognac. HINE Homage, on the other hand, leads the category of best cognac. This multi-vintage blend is intensely floral and delicate with notes of cedar and coconut.
Seasonal Sipping: Augier L’Océanique and Deau VS Cognac
The best brandy for summer is undoubtedly the Augier L’Océanique. Its blonde color, and snappy, spicy, and salty flavor make it perfect for summer sipping. If you’re on a budget, consider the Deau VS Cognac. This cognac is clean and smooth, like orange sherbet, with a bit of spice and bracing heat at the end.
Crafted Perfection: Bertoux Brandy and Camus XO Borderies
Bertoux Brandy, excellent for both sipping and mixing, is the best under $50. Made by bartenders for bartenders, this copper pot-distilled brandy offers a burnt-sugar charisma that resolves in an apricot-bright finish. If you’re looking for the best sipping brandy, consider the Camus XO Borderies. This brandy offers bright, floral aromas, and a palate that is fruity, round, and mellow.
Innovative Flavors: Osocalis Apple Brandy and Singani 63
Osocalis Apple Brandy, the best apple brandy, strikes the perfect balance between sweet and tart. The brandy’s base is the aromatic muscat of Alexandria grape, grown high up in the Andes and naturally fermented for a wildly perfumed nose. Meanwhile, Singani 63 is not only a unique brandy but a testament to the rich distilling heritage of South America. Produced by a family that has been distilling since 1530, the brandy’s base is the aromatic Muscat of Alexandria grape, grown high up in the Andes and naturally fermented. The outcome is an incredibly perfumed nose that entices the senses before even taking the first sip. This Bolivian wonder is a delight for those who favor a more aromatic and floral profile in their brandy.
The Versatility of Brandy: A World of Flavor
Brandy is a spirit distilled from fruit, and with such a simple definition comes an impressive range of flavors and styles. From the youthful eaux-de-vie to the long-aged Armagnacs and cognacs, the choices are vast. “The production methods, flavor profiles, provenances, and base materials are so varied,” says certified cognac expert Ms. Franky Marshall. “I’d say it’s the most diverse category out there.”
Seasons also influence the choice of brandy. In winter, you might want to cozy up to a brandy with some age and a fuller body; whereas the summer months might call for something youthful, lively, and more floral. This versatility is what makes premium brandy a fascinating spirit to explore.
Top Picks: Philbert Rare Cask Sherry Finish and Hennessy X.O.
Our top picks for the premium brandy category are the Philbert Rare Cask Sherry Finish and Hennessy X.O. The Philbert Rare Cask Sherry Finish is notable for its rich flavor with little to no additives, allowing the true artistry of the cellar master and the integrity of the distillate to shine. On the other hand, Hennessy X.O, with its blend of over 100 eaux-de-vie aged for up to 30 years, offers a rich flavor profile that’s excellent over ice or in a snifter.
With bottles from artisan producers to world-renowned brands, the world of premium brandy is a rich tapestry of tastes, textures, and aromas. Whether you’re a seasoned brandy connoisseur or just beginning your journey into the world of spirits, this guide should steer you towards some of the best brandies to savor in 2023. Just remember, when it comes to brandy, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Experiment, explore, and most importantly, enjoy.