European brandy is famed for its smoothness, dryness and mellowness.
There are a number of ways to make brandy, the simplest being by distilling wine. The resulting spirit is then aged in oak casks or stainless steel tanks using various methods such as “rectification”, which involves mixing it with water prior to aging.
The overall quality of brandy is often determined by the type of wood used to age it and the length of time it ages in those casks. Because wine can have a wide variety of flavours depending on where, when and how it was made, distillation will usually remove any unwanted aromas from the wine before brandy is made from it. However, some winemakers still add botanicals to the wine to impart a flavour that they want in their brandy.
Let’s take a look at the most tantalizing and best brandy brands in Europe.
The most popular brandy in France, Armagnac is made from black grapes that are pressed to extract the purest form of brandy. A special distillation process turns it into a rich golden color before aging it for up to 10 years in oak barrels. This gives Armagnac its distinctive sweet and fruity flavor with hints of vanilla and spice like cinnamon or clove. The best Armagnacs have been aged for at least 8 years and are often bottled in small batches by local producers who consider them treasures that deserve proper storage conditions. Each bottle is individually numbered so you know how old your bottle is and when it was bottled.
6. Calvados de Normandie (French Apple Brandy)
Calvados has a more mellow apple taste than the spicy flavors found in other French brandies like Cognac or Armagnac depending on what type of apples were used to make it. Traditional Calvados also must contain both yeast cells as well as natural grasses, flowers, and spores added during the fermentation period which give this delicate spirit its distinct aroma profile full of green apples including wild cider varieties such as Black Muscat & Charentais Pruneaux du Pays d’Oc from Normandy’s Apples grown around Caen where Louis XIV once resided — hence his name “the Sun King” — plus Granny Smiths from Australia along with dozens of others all carefully blended together according to tradition each year. It can be stored indefinitely but keep refrigerated after opening because there’s alcohol present inside so avoid freezing. Wild rice grass adds an earthy note making this one worth every penny.
5. Cognac (French Brandy)
Cognac is made from the distilled juice of pomace brandy from grape skins, unfermented wine, and sugar that has been boiled down to make it more concentrated. The resulting spirit is then double filtered through charcoal before aging in oak casks for at least 2 years which produces a smooth rich flavor with hints of vanilla and spice like cinnamon or clove. Most bottles carry a minimum age but best ones go up to 10 years which creates its unique sweetness known as “finesse” along with subtle notes of peach or apricot depending on how long they spent aging in the cask.
4. Curaçao (Dutch Bitter Liqueur) & Licor 43 (Venezuelan Anejo Rum)
These two Brazilian brands are a great match, perfect for any summertime tropical cocktail. Curaçao is made from sugar cane juice and triple distilled before aging in oak casks for 2 years then blended with 43% aged rum to create an intense sweet brandy. It has hints of vanilla and spice like cinnamon or clove plus a refreshing bitterness that’s great when mixed with cola or other carbonated drinks such as lemonade. Licor 43 is made by blending the same spirit but instead using white rums along with 42% aged Cuban Rum to produce this unique mellow strong flavor.
3. Frangelico (Italian Hazelnut Liqueur) & Creme de Cacao (Cuban Anejo Rum)
Frangelico is produced by mixing hazelnuts, roasted barley malt, and neutral spirits into a paste-like consistency which gets pressed out into bars once it reaches the desired level of sweetness — hence why it’s also called crème de cacao in France — then left to age until ready for bottling where it can be stored indefinitely but should always be refrigerated after opening since there’s alcohol present inside so avoid freezing. The taste profile varies depending on which type of nuts were used to make it each year but they’re all just meant to complement one another making this liqueur some might say “not bad” if you don’t know any better. Just remember not too much because you’ll end up tasting nutmeg or something similar whenever you drink too much.
2. Irish (Irish Whiskey) & Irish Cream Liqueur
These two liqueurs are a match made in heaven, perfect for any time you want to have some fun with your favorite cocktail including summertime drinks such as whiskey sours or pina coladas. The taste profile of an Irish cream will vary depending on which type of cream was used to make it each year but they’re all just meant to complement one another making this liqueur some might say “not bad” if you don’t know any better. Just remember not too much because you’ll end up tasting nutmeg or something similar whenever you drink too much.
1. Kummel (German Brandy) & Cream Liqueur
Kummel is a brandy that’s made from the distilled juice of pomegranate seeds, sugar cane or molasses and triple distilled before aging in oak casks for at least 2 years then blended with neutral spirits to create an intense sweet liqueur. It has hints of vanilla and spice like cinnamon or clove plus a refreshing bitterness that’s great when mixed with cola or other carbonated drinks such as lemonade.
That’s it for our list of the top brandy brands in Europe. Remember to drink in moderation because it’s alcohol so enjoy the lifestyle as you see fit. We hope you enjoyed our list of top brandy brands in Europe and that you found this article useful if you have any questions or comments please let us know below. Happy drinking.