My Wandering Eye is a series reacting to the crazy rising prices in the bourbon world. We’ve reached a place where even average products have hit the range where they compete price-wise with other types of aged spirits. If I’m going be asked to drop $40 to $70 on a mid-range bourbon, I might as well see what else I can get for that money. My hope is to see if another spirits category offers something that is downright tasty in that price range. The goal isn’t to find cheap spirits, but to maximize the quality, I’m getting at a particular price point. And one thing to remember is that these reviews will all be written from the perspective of a bourbon drinker.
As we are coming up on the Autumn Whiskey Release season, I think it is just about time to clear out the last of the items I bought the last time my eye wandered down the brandy aisle at Total Wine. It was a while ago as I was, once again, looking for a Christmas gift for my Korbel Brandy loving father. Often times, I will get him a cognac or an armagnac for Christmas as a treat. But of course, when I look for a gift for him, I often walk out with at least one gift for me as well.
The thing I found interesting about this gift set was that the company that produced it apparently bottled brandies from each of the regions they produce in separately. So conceivably you could taste the terroir of each region. It reminded me of a daydream I had many years ago of buying five barrels of new make whiskey from the same batch at the same distillery and aging them each in different climates to see what the differences were. Needless to say, that idea was too expensive for me. But if you want to do that feel free, just be sure to send me a sample of each when they are done.
A. de Fussigny Cognac Collection
Petite Champagne VSOP
Nose: Delicate floral notes along with light wintergreen and dried fruit.
Mouth: Cinnamon, dried fruit, white sugar.
Finish: Fairly bitter.
Thoughts: Not a fan of this one. Can't get past the bitter finish. This is a distant number 5 of 5. We are not starting out well.
Nose: Subtle. light notes of baking spice.
Mouth: Sweet, Floral, nutty and peppery.
Finish: Black pepper and caramel sweetness.
Thoughts: Nice pepperiness to it. Took me by surprise. It’s ok, but I wouldn’t seek it out. I rank this number 4 of the 5.
Fins Bois VSOP
Nose: Carmel covered raisins.
Mouth: Sweet and spicy, dried fruit, baking spice.
Finish: Caramel and baking spice.
Thoughts: Sweet. Very bourbon-like finish. This is where we enter the ones that we actually liked. Number 3 of the 5.
Nose: Lemon lime soda, light notes of baking spice
Mouth: Citrus, baking spice, almond.
Finish: Candied Almonds.
Thoughts: Delicate but quite tasty. This is a close number 2. I really like this one.
Grande Champagne VSOP
Nose: Dried fruit with a lime-like tartness.
Mouth: Lime, clove, mint, dried fruit.
Finish: Citrus and baking spice.
Thoughts: Refreshing. I like this one quite a bit. It reminds me of my favorite summer white wines with how crisp and refreshing it is. I liked this enough to look up the price. Total Wine has it for about $70 for a 750 mL. I may have to pick a bottle up next time it is in stock. I think it’s worth it.
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