G’day guys, and welcome to a long overdue brandy article. Though Cognac may fly the flag of the covergirl brandy that the world paws over, the other varieties go broadly underrated as a result by the general drinking public. And what goes underrated more still is the tasty liquor put forward by the Australian domestic market of home distilled brandy.
This, like my first article six months ago now, is a domestic label. This label might’ve gone completely unnoticed on the shelves with it’s only bragging right being an Australian distilled brandy, as this staple belongs to the more famed St. Agnes. But I know this bottle well as a regular drink at my favourite pub in Tinana, they make excellent food there. They make the best chicken Caesar salad in town, I’m especially fond of it. Caesar salad being less a real salad, more of a bowl of chicken breasts and bacon served in edible little utensils, like a Mediterranean poppadom made from garden clippings. One day when all my current problems blow over and I’ve made something of my adult life I plan to frequent there much more often. Make it my weekly haunt, my Central Perk if you will. The fact that I still go there and appraise them on their work is saying a lot seeing as I did a work trial with them for a night as a kitchen hand and never heard back from the manager. Something that’s been bothering me a lot for months, wondering why this opportunity never came to last. Though it would be counterproductive and childish to express any anger at any of the staff who I interact with, as they’re still as pleasant and familiar as they were before, during and after the night I worked there. The decision was not theirs. Though I would genuinely like to have a word with the manager. Not in conflict, to barge into his office and start hurling insults, but I seriously want to know what it was I did that I did wrong. I went out that morning just to buy suitable work clothes for it, and devoted great effort to washing the dishes and cutlery for the pub, a job that needed to be done quickly and effectively as is the turnover for dishes in a pub or any restaurant, and did well for a job that I had been given a minute of verbal training in and had zero prior experience in or familiarity with the workplace environment. To the point I apologised to one of the other kitchen hands who attempted to politely socialise with me, telling her I should be talking to other people but I only had one chance and had to make a good impression. The one chance that still managed to slip through my fingers. Like a wad of hundreds falling into a storm drain. Gives you a general idea of why I drink, to the point I’m now attempting to make a living out of this. Which brings us neatly to the bottle.
Black Bottle are another ever-accessible label that can be purchased in copious retailers and drank at many establishments. The name immediately makes clear the cosmetic attribute of the bottle, a black tinted tall but stocky bottle tastefully adorned with an embossed rose vine. Boasting of being “traditionally distilled” above a picture of a tall column alembic still, an idea that in itself makes the drink desirable. That this brandy came from a good old fashioned copper still, makes me sorry that I missed distilling it. And that the brandy is aged for two years in hogshead oak casks. The barrels assumably being French oak, as is often the way of brandy, especially those wanting to do so as traditionally as possible. Although why they choose to specify why the barrels are hogshead is a mystery, as the vast majority are in home brew, let alone commercial producing. Hogshead being the typical shape of all wooden barrels unless specified otherwise. The noses of brandy are typically that of brown sugar, nutmeg, hot caramel syrup, all those sorts of nutty sugary syrupy smells as contributed by French Oak all encompassing a sweet taste attributed by the fermented must of the grape prior to distillation. This nose is surprising, a sweet acidic nose of red wine at first then easing down into a typical brandy with all the expected notes of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg etc. On ice the nose is thicker and sweeter as expected. The taste is that of oak, nuttiness, brown cinnamon, and an aftertaste of minced meat pie.
In summary: This is your humble, bang-for-buck brandy. Ever-ready and affordable. Nothing especially outstanding about it but it’ll still make your night. Buy it, drink it, enjoy it. Cheers