Wednesday, December 14, 2011

California Cognac

Cognac, the brandy of Napoleon. Comes from just one district in France, and is so smooth you can sip it neat, from a special glass (a brandy snifter). Under French law, only brandy produced in the Cognac district can bear the Cognac label. Everyone else must label the product "brandy". And just plain "brandy" is so rough that us ordinary mortals must add ice and soda to make it drinkable.
Out in California the E&J (Easy Jesus my son calls 'em) has long distilled an ordinary brandy and sold it in cathedral shaped bottles. E&J was OK as a brandy, but you don't want to sip it neat. Now E&J has gotten better at it, and offered a brandy marked "V.S.O.P." the traditional mark of high class Cognac. The NH liquor store carries it, at 1/3rd the price of Hennessy.
It's not bad. It's smooth enough to sip it neat. If they can keep it up, E&J might have a real product here.

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