A good [sweet] beginners cognac/brandy or even cordial

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A good [sweet] beginners cognac/brandy or even cordial

Postby Rhapsody » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:19 am

Hello:

First thanks for taking the time to read my message.

I'm relatively new to the realm of cognacs/brandies.


What would you recommend to be the sweet/er/est version of Cognacs and Brandy?

I've not really come up with great results online.

I've tried several VS entry level makes, but nothing so far seems to be quite as sweet as I would like.

I was just looking at some of the Francois Peyrot line, but wasn't sure as to their sweetness as well.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: A good [sweet] beginners cognac/brandy or even cordial

Postby numen » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:46 am

Hi Rhapsody, and welcome aboard!

By and large, Spanish brandies have seemed tr sweetest well-made brandies that I've had. There are some very sweet cognacs on the market, but many are so sweet because of added sugar. It may be worth a shot to go for a Spanish brandy (cardenal Mendoza was particularly approachable).
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Re: A good [sweet] beginners cognac/brandy or even cordial

Postby Rhapsody » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:47 am

Thank you for the quick reply!
Is it possible to find good ones that are sweet, but without loads of added sugar added?

Thanks again!
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Re: A good [sweet] beginners cognac/brandy or even cordial

Postby numen » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:47 pm

There are some lines that are sweeter than others -- and it depends, too, whether you'd like dark/heavy+sweet, or more light/floral+sweet. VS may generally be a bit disappointing, but the VSOP range may be more to your liking for brandy style with a little sweetness. Prunier is generally supposed to be a bit sweeter than some of the other producers. For more sherry-level sweetness, Brandy de Jerez is really tough to beat. Marie Duffau armagnac was also relatively sweet to me, but more caramelly, and still heavier than the cognacs.
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Re: A good [sweet] beginners cognac/brandy or even cordial

Postby Rhapsody » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:54 pm

numen wrote:There are some lines that are sweeter than others -- and it depends, too, whether you'd like dark/heavy+sweet, or more light/floral+sweet. VS may generally be a bit disappointing, but the VSOP range may be more to your liking for brandy style with a little sweetness. Prunier is generally supposed to be a bit sweeter than some of the other producers. For more sherry-level sweetness, Brandy de Jerez is really tough to beat. Marie Duffau armagnac was also relatively sweet to me, but more caramelly, and still heavier than the cognacs.



Thank you for the reply.
It seems that maybe more French cognac's are dryer and those from Spain are sweeter largely because of the climate? Would Italian cognac's also fall into this category of the Mediterranean?


Would you consider then Sherry style sweetness to be more of an opposite of light/floral sweetness?

Brandy de Jerez is darker and I am assume more sherry like?
Marie Duffau (doesn't seem to be produced any longer) is more floral and sweet?

Do any of these seem to have overtones of vanilla or honey like sweetness or more nutty like flavor?

Thank you again and excuse my vocabulary, as I am not sure my terms are proper for the Cognac.
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Re: A good [sweet] beginners cognac/brandy or even cordial

Postby numen » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:44 pm

Hi Rhapsody, just a quick list of some of the terms-

Cognac is a brandy (a fruit based spirit) that is made in from certain districts in southwestern France, distilled twice, and made from certain types of grapes. Armagnac is another grape brandy from a slightly different (though nearby) area of southwestern France, distilled once on a continuous still, and can use a few more grape varietals. Cognac can come only from the Cognac region, Armagnac from the Armagnac region. In Italy, it would just be a type of brandy. Grappa, which is made from pomace, has a very different character and tends to be very young.

Brandy de Jerez (Spanish brandy) is more syrupy, on the whole, than Cognac and Armagnac, and it's produced in a slightly different (solera) method. It has sherry sweetness because it's aged in barrels that used to hold sherry.

Marie Duffau is still produced (available, for instance, here: http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1014551) -- I haven't had it in a few years, but I recall it being sweet and with a caramel -- my notes, as it turns out, were:
A very pleasant, direct armagnac. Caramel and burned sugar dominate the nose, accompanied by some vanilla and roasted almond. The palate was very much of caramel, almost singularly so. I wonder how much caramel was added for color and taste. Easy drinking, every day armagnac with a medium finish.

Actually, the Marie Duffau seems to have those characteristics that you'd like to try.
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Re: A good [sweet] beginners cognac/brandy or even cordial

Postby Rhapsody » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:59 pm

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me.
I will surely order some Marie Duffau soon (From an online retailer once I find one that ships to my state).


If you were to recommend Brandy de Jerez/Spanish Brandy, which do you consider to be the sweetest? Is there a good forum or blog that reviews these? I recall you mentioned cardenal Mendoza, but do you think there are better versions?


Thanks again!
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Re: A good [sweet] beginners cognac/brandy or even cordial

Postby numen » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:14 am

Always happy to share my views, and I expect that other posters here will have their views, too.

Brandy de Jerez is not consumed in large quantities, and I haven't found a good place to read more about it. My experience is very limited with it. I liked a Lepanto a bit more, but it has an oxidative note and isn't quite as sweet as the Cardenal Mendoza. I'd be surprised if you didn't like it; I've yet to find anybody who hasn't been really interested in it. The Cardenal Mendoza was more grapey/syrupy sweet than the Lepanto, but I can't speak for other brands or expressions by those producers.
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Re: A good [sweet] beginners cognac/brandy or even cordial

Postby BSinTX » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:30 am

Out of all the spirits I sip on, Cognac tends to be the sweetest but this doesn't include most other brandies. If you are looking for something a bit on the sweet side, I would say give the Courvoisier 12 year old a try or even the Remy Martin 1738 (or whatever year it is.) These are a step above VSOP without breaking the bank and are much sweeter than anything I usually keep around. Most likely they will contain artificial colorant and sweetener but so do some much more expensive blends. Calvados (French apple brandy) has a really nice applely, sugary, caramelly sweetness to it though it tends to be expensive for the sippin' stuff.
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Re: A good [sweet] beginners cognac/brandy or even cordial

Postby Rhapsody » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:45 am

BSinKY wrote:Out of all the spirits I sip on, Cognac tends to be the sweetest but this doesn't include most other brandies. If you are looking for something a bit on the sweet side, I would say give the Courvoisier 12 year old a try or even the Remy Martin 1738 (or whatever year it is.) These are a step above VSOP without breaking the bank and are much sweeter than anything I usually keep around. Most likely they will contain artificial colorant and sweetener but so do some much more expensive blends. Calvados (French apple brandy) has a really nice applely, sugary, caramelly sweetness to it though it tends to be expensive for the sippin' stuff.



Wow. thank you for sharing. I'll look into that soon.

Thank you again!
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