- ted Jan 15, 2009 09:55 AM
I don't usually keep it in stock and generally know naught about brandy. But I made a couple batches of brandied cherries and lately have turned out a few sidecars and brandy crustas.
I had bought a Spanish brandy- Torres 10yr. It's about $18 here. I was wondering what other brands might be a better value.
$18 for a brandy you like is an outstanding value! I'm in the same boat - trying to get more into brandies, but I'm not interested in paying $50 and up for a cognac (not in this economy, anyways...). I did find a French brandy called Ibis, which I picked up for about $15, and I like it fine - I use it mostly in cocktails and it has a decent flavor. Don't know how it would stand up to the more expensive brands, but my sense is that most of the bigger Cognac houses rely more on marketing and packaging.
Also, apparently Esquire magazine listed an American brandy called Paul Masson as one of the best "cheap booze" suggestions, so I'm interested in giving that a try.
In brandies, my preference is really for a good VSOP or XO/Napoleon Armagnac. I found one in Brooklyn for $35 last month. But there are some decent cheapies out there. The other day I bought a French brandy called Laine' VSOP that is smooth and pleasant enough. I first had it when it was served on a transatlantic flight. I have actually been wondering about other "French brandies" with no appellation and the less-expensive cognacs from small houses. I should start a thread about these...
I've had the XO put out by the Gallo Machine (can't recall its brand name) and it is full-flavored but find it gives me a headache even in small quantities. :(
My local discount liquor store carries a very nice Cognac called Claude Chatelier, about $20 for 750ml VSOP. Makes a great Sidecar. The Spanish brandy I have has has been too sweet.