Another Spanish brandy. Lepanto uses Palomino grapes. This bottle (40%) has juice that was aged in a Pedro Ximenez barrel. I found the Cardenal Mendoza very satisfying, and the bottle has quickly become emptier and emptier, so I decided to get a bottle of a different Spanish brandy just to try different things. And the stuff is extremely affordable (and quaffable).
Nose: Very sweet and syrupy, very thick raisin compote with brown sugar. A little alcohol peers from behind leather (smooth and polished thick leather). A bit of the ol' sherry comes out, but it's definitely more 'brown' than purple or red, if you take my meaning. Vanilla, grains of cinnamon (you can count the number), and an extremely rich, moist mince pie.
Palate: Honeyed, and a bit more of the same. There seems to be some more wood influence here, which works very well. As sweet as the nose is, it's actually a bit more balanced in the mouth (yes, it's still sweet and has the consistency of maple syrup). A bit of nuts (walnuts and pecans) in a pecan pie filling, mainly golden raisin mash, but a bit more grape, and some floral notes. It's not about subtlety, but it's very easy and reassuring.
Finish: A bit more raisin, walnut, mince pie, and vanilla - the brown sugar remains constant, and it's like, pardon the digression, when you've added a ton of brown sugar to oatmeal, and you spoon up the somewhat melted brown sugar with just a bit of fruit and the tiniest amount of oatmeal. Sugary sweet brilliance. The 'nut' profile definitely adds a layer and some complexity to it, but it's not a complex drink. Layered is probably more accurate. Also, I can see actual sugar grains (or something like it) at the bottom of my glass. This stuff could melt your teeth. I like this maybe just a smidge more than the Cardenal Mendoza, but both would be perfect for cold winter nights. Or after a meal. Or after coffee. Or, well, you get the picture. B+/A-
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