Often, first efforts are never as good as hoped. As time passes, skills develop and knowledge increases. Thus, it is interesting that this brandy even exists 30 years after it was first crafted. This is 1983, remember! Craft spirits were as rare as hen’s teeth at that point in America’s history. Double distilled way back in 1983, and then aged in French Limousin & Nevers Oak, this unusual 100% Folle Blanche Brandy is both a tribute to and memory of the Charbay Distillery’s humble beginnings. In the years since, they have branched out into other spirits such as vodkas, whiskey, rum and even tequila. But, I believe that the heart of their endeavor can be found within this seminal bottling of their inaugural spirit. And the fact that we have it today to enjoy is a testament to their patience and excellence.
Charbay Brandy No. 83 (80 proof)
Visual: Bright copper.
Nose: Floral with plenty of grape notes suffused with currants, key lime, and oddly enough, strawberry. The slightest hint of vanilla comes out to play after a few minutes of air time.
Taste: Rich, velvety, but with some heat; there are layers of vanilla, pineapple, clove, cinnamon, oak, black pepper, and bitter almond. Amazingly expressive, with no one feature dominating the overall effect.
Finish: The flavor goes on for quite some time, and the heat has a slighty spicy character. You know you’ve been sipping a spirit that has been aged much longer than most.
Overall: A contemplative brandy that has a rustic yet refined flavor. It tastes like a much higher proof, so adding a bit of water will bring out more subtle notes.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: Charbay