The title is obviously a light and pretty innocent provocation. According to the law of the European Community, the name ‘cognac‘ is a protected French Appellation d’origine contrôlée and may be applied only to products from the region surrounding the town of Cognac in France. But in everyday life many people still use the terms ‘cognac’ and ‘brandy’ as synonyms. Stravecchio Branca is for all those who enjoys swirling a glass of good brandy in their hand but are not necessarily willing to pay all too much for a bottle of some legendary French cognac brand. My alternative is a good value for money for numerous cold and dark evening of the starting winter. As a matter of fact, I rarely drink brandy in summer, maybe only on some humid evenings, after a rich dinner with friends. But the time of romantic fireplaces, big and cozy armchairs and long talks on soft couches is coming! Prepare your brandy glasses for long months of clinking, swirling, smelling and enjoying!
You may know the brand Fratelli Branca because of their worldwide famous fernet, a kind of bitter liqueur. It is what you can usually find in every European country. I guess it’s the same about the USA and other places around the world. I recently discovered also their brandy.
The brand itself has a long history as it was established in Milan in 1845. But probably it’s not necessary to talk them up. They are doing very well.
Back to the product itself: Although brandy is generally a very complex spirit, Stravecchio is enjoyable also for those who don’t claim to be connoisseurs. Its amber color is a pure pleasure for your eyes. Is it about the Slavonian oak, hosting this brandy during the maturation process? The final product is a blend of spirits aged between 3 and 10 years. This happens in the huge cask, called ‘grande botte’ (big cask) or ‘botte madre’ (mother-cask). In fact, one third of such a mix remains in the cask for the successive years. This practice allowed for creating since 1888 a unique bouquet.
Then there is time for smelling. My first impression was vanilla, but as I was holding the body of the glass in my palm the more caramel notes could be smelled. Allegedly there are notes of dried fruits too, but I was not able to discover anything reminding me of them. Well, maybe there is something like dried apricots…
I always drink it pure, but producers claim that it’s the same good with ice, in a punch or cocktail.
And in the very end, after tasting our brandy, some literary accent as aftertaste. Samuel Johnson wrote: “Claret is the liquor for boys; port, for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy”. Any heroes?