Unmatched for subtlety, complexity and overall flavor.
Notes: Westford Hill is one of the newer distilleries in the United States, producing artisanal products on a small scale.They use 5 varieties of apples all grown in Connecticut and small pot distillation (65 gallon still) of each individual variety. They age each distillate in French (about 75 %) and American ( about 25 %) oak barrels for 10 years then marry the aged products and rest it. There is also 8 year old version. They also produce a a number of outstanding Eau de Vies such as their Framboise , Kirsch, and Pear William .They also produce an outstanding Poire Prisonniere (sorry, no review yet – just a link to their site) and a new vodka called Rime.
Appearance: Color of burnished Russian Gold; a somewhat burnished bronze color. Light coating on the glass when you swirl it, a crenellated edge on swirling with long thin legs developing after a bit.
First Impression: Very delicate apple scents and whispers of oak, pepper and hints of leather, tobacco, very complex and subtle.
Taste: Multilayered and complex,but extremely subtle in some ways. Wonderful assertive body but delicate,almost ethereal aspects.The French oak lends lingering notes of tobacco,char, leather and a kind of Cognac or Armagnac structure/skeleton that the apples wrap around to form a complex whole.The American oak adds some sweetness and vanilla like notes. Finish is long with creamy cinnamon notes accompaning the apples.
Drinks: We tried a a number of drinks, Calvados-based, Cognac-based and a number of recipes available from the web site. All were outstanding. Of course, it was also wonderful by itself in a snifter.
Cigars: Works well with a mild cigar.
Final Thoughts: A lovely expression of a Apple Brandy. A wonderful symphony of apples that is complex, delicate and subtle, while retaining a nice assertiveness and depth. Contradictory terms that somehow have achieved balance in this brandy. One of the best apple brandies (of any type) we have had. Unmatched for subtlety, complexity and overall flavor.
Bottle: The bottle is a heavy clear glass decanter, with a very textured ivory fabric label with cursive script, decorative ribbon around neck of bottle with a hand numbered label giving lot and bottle number. Black sealing wax (with a convenient pull tab for once!) and the use of a real cork always gives a nice sound when you open the bottle and lends an antique feel.
Overall an attractive, tasteful package for a truly outstanding Apple Brandy.
Web site: http://www.westfordhill.com
A somewhat spare affair – minimal graphics and information, some basic recipes – an adequate web site.