One of the better low end (cost) brandies we have had.
Notes: This is a French brandy but not a cognac- it is a radical departure from cognac in any ways, from and entirely different growing area and using a grape blend. The Languedoc Rousillon area of France is near Provence and one of my favorite areas of France. Long looked down upon as an inferior growth area which only produced plonk (a pejorative term meaning madmans soup or cheap wine for alcoholics) it has gained much more respect as vintners have planted better varieties and the vines have become more acclimatized to the area- producing far better wines.
In some ways like New York Finger Lakes wines which have risen from a similar status to become medal winners. The varieties used in the blend are grenache, ugni blanc (used in cognac) and chardonnay. The distillation itself is also unique -it uses a combination of both column and copper alembic stills. Not sure as to which ones are distilled in which still outside of the chardonnay which is distilled in the alembic – which highlights its characteristics to good effect. The resulting eau-de vie is then aged in French limosin oak for 10 years.
As a sidebar, the brand is owned by the rapper and actor Ice Tea (an actual owner – not a paid shill like many) so he puts his money and faith on the line for this brandy and we feel it is not displaced ( and give him some personal cred for actually risking his own money and reputation on it)
First Impression: Fruity, blossoms and peaches at first whiff then settling down to darker dried fruits, yenidje sobranie tobacco, leather notes and oily nuts. The mixture of grenache and chardonnay along with the standard cognac grape base ugni blanc, broadens the floral notes and bouquet giving the brandy some interesting signature notes and making it more approachable at the same time.
Appearance: Amber/gold color, leaves thin coat and long legs on swirling. Could be mistaken for a younger bourbon in color.
Taste: More like a Armagnac than a cognac but fruitier and lighter. Peaches, fruit, hints of nutmeg, sherry notes, black pepper, sobranie tobacco and a mild, warming finish. It lets you know you are drinking brandy without the pain and burn of a cheap brandy or grappa. Much milder than the German brandies (Such as Asbach Uralt at twice the price I might add) and much leaner and lighter than its Armenian or Georgian cousins.
Drinks: Worked well in a Black Pagoda (basically a brandy Manhattan -See Gary Regan’s Bartenders Bible) but leaner and less plump. Good with other brandy, cognac, or bourbon drinks where you want a different spin on flavor substituting a more fruit forward base.
Bottle: Short fan shaped bottle of clear glass, similar in shape to a number of infinitely more expensive French cognac and Armagnac bottles. Gold label and highlights silkscreened onto heavy decanter bottomed bottle. Glass stopper with synthetic cork closure gives a tight seal. Neck wrap with red and gold neck wrap complete the package.
Final Thoughts: Overall a nicely flavorful and welcome addition to the brandy category. Also makes for a great mixer with it be a cocktail, punch or a sangria with a price that makes it a quality and low cost ingredient. A very nice, smooth and easy to drink brandy at a unbeatable price for the age and quality.
Fast loading,with some basic information about the brand, Ice T, and bottle shots.