It’s winter, so it’s time for rich brown spirits. Not that winter is a legit excuse for me—whiskey, añejo tequila, aged rum, and brandy et al. need no excuse for year-round consumption as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, I had grown somewhat weary of the Bourbons, ryes, and Scotches I had been drinking of late [though my hankering for some specific top-notch Irish whiskies will be sated shorty—review(s) to come] and thought I’d go in the direction of tried-and-true, great value brandy.
Scanning the shelves for high QPR, straight drinkable and broadly mixable brandy, I chose a dry but intensely flavored entry-level Cognac. Maison Rouge is Hardy Cognac’s second label and flat-out represents some of the best values on the market.
- Appearance: deep, varigated copper/mahogany
- Nose: leather, sweet cigar wrap, cinnamon, Bosc pear
- Palate: orange pekoe tea, candied dates, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg
- Finish: lingering sweet honey and spice sliding into orange zest, boozy but with a viscosity that quells the heat