If you like Jack Daniels over cognac this one is for you.
First Impression: Apricots, vanilla, caramel, and almonds. A sweet, almost sherry-like smell – similar, but much deeper than Armenian or Georgian (Republic) brandies.
Appearance: Attractive red/gold color, leaves thin coat on swirling. Could be mistaken for a bourbon in color.
Taste: Sweet and thick, with intense dark fruits, then black pepper and a hot finish. It seems to be a German characteristic that their distillates have a hot, rough finish compared to other countries’ distillates. Maybe this is why they favored alcohol over gasoline at Peenemunde to mix with their LOX.
The after-effect on your esophagus reminds me of a night launch. That being said, it is a interesting spirit for those who like it heavy, rough, and sweet. This is not your father’s cognac, but your grandfather’s brandy.
Drinks: We tried the drinks mentioned on the website, all of them were good, if not exciting. Worked well in a Black Pagoda (basicly a brandy Manhattan -See Gary Regan’s Bartenders Bible) and the intense friutiness made for a wonderful brandy base for red Sangria (soak the fruit in it overnight for best results).
Bottle: Simple clear glass bottle, somewhat distinctive (high sloped shoulder and large raised “A” in the back).
Other: Twice-distilled and aged in small casks.
Final Thoughts: A heavy, fruity, brandy that is a interesting change from cognac. This brandy almost has a flavor profile closer to a heavy bodied bourbon than a cognac. While reminiscent , it is much more balanced than some of the Soviet brandy I have had in the past and stands on its own as a distinct product. If you like bourbon or Jack Daniels more than cognac, this one is for you. A good brandy for the money and a interesting one worth trying.
A quick loading, informative website with large amounts of history ,but somewhat lacking on production details. Straight-forward and easy-to-navigate.