An Overview of Korbel Brandy
It is in the aging and blending processes that the real care and craftsmanship of putting together a bottle of Korbel can be seen. The careful choice of employing one-time use Jack Daniels whiskey barrels adds an interesting character to the brandy and creates softer characteristics than new oak would. The distillery produces small batches of just 7,000 gallons of brandy at once and the blending tanks are carefully managed, mixing new and old brandies to ensure consistent quality.
While you may be familiar with Korbel Brandy, you may have to look twice to find it in the store. The brand recently redesigned their bottle and it is now found in taller, sleeker bottles with a label that is significantly more modern while keeping a classic feel.
Korbel Brandy Bottlings
All of Korbel's brandies have a beautiful golden hue, a rich butterscotch aroma and a very smooth palate and finish - all are excellent for brandy cocktails, new and old. While the Classic has more of a sweet caramel profile and medium finish the VSOP is warm with distinctively more oak that marries wonderfully with the sweetened grapes and butterscotch and both are ideal brandies for favorite cocktails like the Metropolitan, Coffee Cocktail and Champagne Cocktail. The XS is interesting and the vanilla and orange really stand out against the sweetness and I've found it spectacular in the classic Brandy Cocktail and the more obscure April Shower.
Everyone wants to know how a brandy compares to the famous brands of the world and that is difficult. I do have to say that while Korbel is certainly not a Cognac, it is a very good brandy. Taking in all factors from flavor, smoothness, depth of the palate, availability and price, Korbel is tops! It is a budget-friendly brandy, one you're not afraid to mix with or sip in a sifter, but it also is not a "fire water." Since exploring its full potential I am simply impressed and if there is only room for one mixing brandy in your bar, this should be it.
Korbel Brandy Facts
- Established in 1889
- Produced by Korbel California Champagne Cellars - Sonoma County
- Distilled in small batches from California Grapes
- Distilled, Blended & Bottled by F. Korbel & Bros.
- Brandies have won 37 awards in 3 years.
- Korbel won Best Brandy in the 2013 About.com Readers' Choice Awards