Gross. Okay well I’m done…okay so not really.
Hello and welcome to another week of Booze reviews! I am the man called Justice, and I suffer through cheap brandy so you won’t have to. This week we looked at two tiers of brandy from the same maker. I will be walking you through E & J XO Extra Smooth Brandy, while my associate William Henri Neve IV will be taking you through their VSOP brandy, next week. You really better thank us for this…
A quick lesson on Brandies before we begin: brandy is divided into very distinct levels based on how they are aged. In order we have V.S. (Very special) which is typically aged two years, V.S.O.P. (Very Special Old Pale) which is aged four years, and finally X.O. (Extra Old) which is aged between six and twenty years. There are also tiers above these, however those are not standardized and change from distiller to distiller. Brandy is a liquor distilled from wine, and good brandies are often served warm without mixing. As you may already have guessed from my earlier comments, we didn’t want to drink this warm or by itself, but by God we did…and it was all for you.
So this being the first brandy to make its appearance on Booze reviews many of the Buffalo lounge’s regulars hadn’t tried too many brandies before these two. It was most likely because of this we just ended up grabbing two bottles that looked like a good place to start. I won’t infringe on Will’s narrative, but I will say that this second brandy the XO performed better than the first, but then, that wasn’t very hard. By itself this brandy burned the nose with its scent and rode the back of the throat rather unpleasantly. Its redeeming qualities lay in its taste, where it seemed to be very average.
Of course this is my opinion, Brandy, what do you have to say for yourself?
What they say: “Hand-crafted and barrel-aged, E&J XO is the result of over three decades of brandy making experience. Connoisseurs have called it our crowning achievement; a luxurious marriage of flavor and smoothness. Experience it for yourself: notes of brown spice, savory caramel and sweet vanilla complemented by a long velvety finish. E&J XO takes smooth to a new level…it is truly remarkable.”
The most impressive thing about this entire paragraph is that they never actually say that it tastes good or that it’s an amazing brandy, or that it puts others to shame, etc. This is a large part of the reason they avoid losing any points for bottle wank. What they say about the taste is also true, it does taste quite a bit like vanilla and caramel (one of the reasons it didn’t die in the taste section like its brother). Alright, enough talk, time for some numbers, let’s see how this brandy stacked up:
Taste: 5.66 – A nice taste, hints of maple syrup (which may be the brown spice, caramel, and vanilla mixed) are actually in there.
Aftertaste: 6 – More of a pleasant aftertaste, continuing with the hints of caramel
Burn/Smooth: 4 – Burn improves overtime and it gives you a similar heartburn feeling, but it’s not too bad.
Aroma: 1.9 – Really offensive, but if you go back for another smell, you really get a swig of maple syrup.
Manliness: 4.83 – “The color, shape, and cork are all nice. Even the brandy has a nice color.”, “Even the wank on the back if subdued, and none of it lies.”, “It’s an attractive bottle.”, “DJ_Lvl is still racist (hates Barefoot wine, this was made by the same people).”
Sidecar: 5.16 – This tastes pretty okay.
Brandy Sour: 6.58 – Tastes better, than the sidecar.
Brantini: 6.25 – This one adds a sweetness to a standard martini which is a nice element.
Value: 5.75 – It’s cheap, but for a reason.
Google Shop Average: $14
William Henri Neve the IV:6
The Bear: 5
Metric Score: 34.14/70 |+| Metric Average: 4.88 |+| Reviewer Average: 5.33
For what you pay for it’s pretty good. Slightly above average thing for my palate.