Brandy: Point of difference

24 January, 2019


“In my opinion we should be more flexible on how brandy is consumed and let [bartenders] mix, use ice or make cocktails,” says Osborne, “and even promote this so brandy has a chance to be top of their mind in the future.

“Trying to get younger consumers is clearly a priority, working the gastronomy channel as well. Finding great pairings that elevate brandy and give a new experience to consumers is also a good challenge, but I wouldn’t ignore the trend on drinking low abv. This is something we are definitely working on.”

Roldán says: “In the case of brandy in general, and that of Brandy de Jerez in particular, it must strive to achieve its own personality and learn how to communicate all that makes it unique, singular and inimitable: the quality of the region from which it originates, the selection of wine spirits, the criaderas and solera ageing system, the characteristics of the casks in which they are aged. In short, everything that makes it different and gives it its organoleptic characteristics,” says Roldán.

“What cannot be overlooked is that everything related to the category is experiencing a notable improvement, such as winery facilities or the selection of wine spirit in the case of Brandy de Jerez, which have never been in such optimum condition,” says Roldán.

La Terrière adds: “I see a very exciting future for our brandies, but of course also for Spanish brandy in general. It feels like there is a new positivity and buzz in the category, more than we have seen at any time in the past 20 years or so or longer.”

Brotons concludes: “Spanish brandy has the numbers to be able to recoup lost ground. You have to bear in mind that in Spain brandy is a mature category and while it has suffered a decline since 2010 in favour of whisky and dark rum, it is still the fifth largest category ahead of vodka and anise with 10% of total market share, representing around 1,700,00 9-litre cases (IWSR – including brandies with under 36% abv). It is also important to note that 70% of total Brandy de Jerez is exported outside Spain (source: CRDO Jerez/Brandy de Jerez).”


Neil Mathieson, chairman of the International Spirits Challenge brandy judges, tells DI: “The Spanish brandy character is unique and represents a broader, sweeter flavour profile than the traditional French and South African styles.

“Although there are some stylistic differences between the Brandy de Jerez houses and the other Spanish producers, they both offer a mellower, softer brandy that is well suited to drinking on ice or with straightforward mixers at the younger end of the ageing cycle. With age they develop more obvious cask and oxidative flavours if aged in sherry casks and solera and this gives a pronounced point of difference to brandies from other countries. In comparative tastings the (ISC) panel looks more at the depth and typicity of flavour from the solera than the oaky structure and finesse new ‘non-wine’ oak casks give to other brandies.

“The sometimes blowsier flavours of Spanish brandies do not lead to the same type of flavour development as other global grape brandies. Therefore it is very difficult to quantify these differing styles of brandy in terms of quality. Certainly we see that, at a younger age, the Spanish brandies are extremely suitable for long drinks and maintaining their flavour with mixers such as ginger ale and cola. With great age they have some quite concentrated flavours not normally found outside of Spain which add a distinct rancio to the spirit and which allow for a more traditional cognac-style contemplative drink.”

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Nick Strangeway

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