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Let’s keep it real, sometimes your go-to whiskeys, bourbons and wines don’t hit the spot at night the way you want them to. Sometimes, it’s time to switch it up with the best brandy on your bar cart for a stiff glass of your other favorite brown drink you don’t sip as frequently. You know, to treat yourself a bit.
Brandy is a delicious sipper both solo and added to cocktails like sangria for its smooth yet sweet body. Because it’s distilled from fermented fruit juice (in most situations, grapes), it’s no surprise to figure out where that sweet taste comes from. The taste hits in a similar way to both wine and whiskey at the same time, but taste also depends on instances such as region, type of grape, making methods and how long the product is matured for. Brandies made from fruits like cherries, pears, apples and more will even drastically change the taste.
Given the fact that we’re in the dead of winter, there’s no better time than now to dip into one of the best brandy brands you haven’t tried. Brandy feels like a cozy, warm hug, so it’s no surprise most dudes love sipping on a heavy pour during the colder months.
Whether you’re gathered around the bonfire with family and friends or relaxing on the couch with the fireplace raging, brandy should be a must-have atop of your bar cart this season. Without further ado, check out the best brandy you need to snag now, whether you’ve tried them before or not.
1. Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal
Fetty Wap said it best himself, “Rémy boys, yaaaaah.” Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal is one of the biggest names holding one of the tastiest flavors of brandy we’ve ever come across. It has a tremendously smooth take on the classic Rémy Martin style. Its flavor is bold yet low-key at the same time, exuberating flavor through a multitude of oaky butterscotches and baked spices. It has a unique aging process in new French oak casks in a dimmer than usual heating process. If you’ve never had yourself a neat glass, you’re missing out.
2. Hennessy X.O Cognac
There’s no way you’ve gotten this far in life without experiencing the smooth taste brought to you by a good ‘ole glass of Henny. We know what you’re thinking, “SPY editor, but Hennessy is a cognac!” Okay, you got us, you’re right — but cognacs are brandies. What sets them apart from other brandies though is the fact that they’re made in the Cognac region of southwest France under strict regulations, allowing them to snag the specific name. Cool, right?
Nonetheless, although you’ve had regular Henny in the past, Hennessy X.O Cognac takes the smooth flavor to a whole other level with a spicy body reminiscent of candied fruit. It gives your body a warming experience you simply can’t mimic with any other brandy, because there’s no other brandy just as recognizable as this classic.
3. Philbert Rare Cask Sherry Finish Grande Champagne Cognac
As the first brand to age their eau de vie in sherry casks, Philbert’s delicious champagne cognac essentially changed the way people were crafting. Can you say, hipster? With a dominating floral body featuring notes of mouthwatering orange bloom and jasmine bouquet, topped with a marzipan cake finish, the second this bottle is cracked open your space will be filled with sweet, springy aromas. While this is definitely more on the warmer weather side of cognac brandies, we still suggest you give it a shot this winter.
4. Deau Cognac VS
Surprisingly, with this bottle of Deau Cognac VS, its low-end price doesn’t mean it’s of low quality. The bottle is exactly what you’d expect from a great brandy but leaves you with less of a hole in your wallet. It has a silky, smooth taste that’s less bold than most brandies and even has that cognac title, meaning it’s the real deal if you’re into that. It has a fruity, creamy taste that mimics the idea of a creamsicle from the ice cream truck when you were a kid. Pour it up neat or mix it with a little seltzer or ginger ale for an affordably tasty at-home sipper.
5. Barking Irons Applejack
BEST APPLE BRANDY
Ditch the grape and pick up a bottle made with the original forbidden fruit: apple. Barking Irons’ Applejack brandy has a silky, bold flavor of apple, oak, vanilla and caramel that will leave you begging for another glass. Each bottle is made with 100% New York state apples sourced directly from the Hudson Valley, giving it a classically earthy taste with each sip. We typically don’t always recommend brandy chilled, but you have to try this stuff mixed with your go-to apple cider brand. It’s a gamechanger.
6. Singani 63
Clear brandy? Clear brandy. Don’t be fooled, though the majority of brandies have that woody brown coloration, that doesn’t mean it has to be a common characteristic for each and every brandy under the sun. This Bolivian brandy uses the Muscat of Alexandria grape, a grape known for a boisterous scent. It’s grown solely high up in the Andes and is distilled twice in copper pots, followed by a longer chill-out period lasting around eight months in stainless steel containers. Each sip will make you remember just how fruity brandy is and why your favorite brown drink doesn’t always have to be.
7. Hine Cognac Antique
While all of our brandies listed taste excellent, Hine’s Antique cognac truly hits different. It has a mysterious flavor that doesn’t feel recognizable to any other cognac brandy on your bar cart and hits the tongue with a complex variation of fig, blonde tobacco and even coconut. On the nose, you’ll be able to gather notes of fruit and oak including walnuts that’ll have you reaching for your glassware. Try it for yourself, you won’t be upset.
8. Western Grace Brandy
This California-casked brandy shows the US can hold its own on the international brandy stage. This is an Old World brandy from La Mancha that’s been brought overseas to the United States where it’s now aged in American oak then finished in sherry vats. The brandy uses Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Parellada grapes under a super strict regimen to ensure each bottle tastes like perfection.