The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of brandies with 11 members of our wine judging panel. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the brandies were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles and served at room temperature. Only ice water, neutral unflavored crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each wine on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Gold and Silver medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no double gold or bronze medals awarded for this tasting.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The appelations and countries are identified for each brand.


Asbach PrivatBrand
Aged 8 Years Fine Old Brandy


Aroma: Dark chocolate, caramel, brown butter, grape, banana liqueur, nutty, wood, oak, toasted oak, subtle oak.
Palate: Apple, pear, aged fruit, orange peel, lemon zest, buttery, wood, oak, toasted oak, peppery spice, calvados with caramel notes, rustic, smooth.
Finish: Apple, pear, orange zest, chocolate, creamy, caramel toasted almonds, toasted, cinnamon, nutmeg, peppery, wood, oak, soft, good mouthfeel.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Asbach PrivatBrand Aged 8 Years Fine Old Brandy

Clos Sainte-Rose XO Alambic Brandy
(XO Alambic, WA)

Aroma: Caramel, buttery, honey, corn, grappa, grape must, earthy, funky, wood, toasty oak, cedar.
Palate: Butterscotch, butter, caramel, light maple syrup, light vanilla, apple juice, grain, toast, light oak, heavy barrel, smoke, smooth, easy.
Finish: Caramel, cinnamon spice, pepper, tannic, smoke, wood, oak, pairs well with a cigar.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Clos Sainte-Rose XO Alambic Brandy


Knowledge of Good Apple Brandy
(StilL 630 Distillery, MO)

Aroma: Apples, pear, sweet plum, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, buttery, baked goods, floral, dusty, wood, oak, small oak barrel.
Palate: Green apple, pear, grapes. honey, toffee, chocolate fudge, burnt vanilla, floral, spicy, woody, smooth oak, oak barrel, whiskey.
Finish: Caramel, buttery, toasted, sandalwood, peppery spice, spicy complexity, woody, creamy, soft, velvety, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Knowledge of Good Apple Brandy





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