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Five Spanish brandies

 28 Jun 2009  

Spanish brandies tend to be very rich and oaky which makes them heavier than French brandy (cognac and armagnac included). Because Spanish brandies are so rich I find they work best as digestifs. It took me a while to get used to the strong oak influence in Spanish brandies but nowadays I quite enjoy sipping one after dinner.

I've tasted a couple of re­cent purchases and revisited a few old acquaintances. The first three brandies come from Jerez in the very south of Spain (Jerez gave sherry its name, by the way) and the final two are made in Catalonia:

Gran Duque de Alba:
This is my favourite brandy (up to now, at least) so I'm using it as a benchmark. It has a rather nice nose with notes of prunes, raisins, vanilla and oak. Rich, sweet palate with vanilla and fruit. De­velops oak and spices. Dry, slightly dis­ap­point­ing finish, however. (85 p)

Lepanto OV (Oloroso Viejo):
Very nice nose with fresh citrus notes. De­velops dried fruits and gin­ger­bread, also oak. Rich, fairly nice palate with notes of raisins and prunes. Un­for­tu­nately the fruits quickly fade and are overtaken by very dry oak. (80 p)

Lepanto PX (Pedro Ximenez):
Very nice, fragrant nose with raisins, oak and vanilla. Nice, rich palate: fairly sweet with notes of dried fruits. Also rather oaky, but the oak isn't overpowering. Dry, oaky, spicy finish. This was a pleasant surprise after the dis­ap­point­ing "Oloroso Viejo". The PX is in fact on par with my previous favourite, the Gran Duque. (85 p)

Mascaró Narciso:
Nice nose with notes of grapes and plums. Rich, earthy palate, also fairly sweet with nice fruity notes. The finish is a little dis­ap­point­ing, however: dry, spicy and quite fiery. (83 p)

Torres 10:
Sweet, richly fruity nose with notes of cinnamon and oak. Rich and complex palate with prunes and oaky, spicy notes. Oaky, dry finish. All in all fairly nice. (83 p)

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