Brandy…is it the best fucking thing on the planet? Imma have to say it almost certainly is.
Where I was brought up, brandy and Coke (B&C) is pretty much the standard alcoholic beverage. And once you’ve got the taste for it, you never really get over it. South Africans typically take their brandy two or three fingers strong, with plenty of ice and a good helping of cola.
South Africa actually makes a number of great brandies that are ideal for mixing in long drinks, but they learned everything they know from the French masters.
I’ve often said that some brandies are just too posh to be mixed with cola and I try to discourage friends and family from spending too much on a bottle if they’re buying me brandy as a gift. But the first time I was given a bottle of relatively pricey Courvoisier, I was blown away by how well it went with cola and ice.
Maybe the older I get, the more refined my tastebuds grow. While I still long for the cheap-as-chips South African classics Klipdrift and Richelieu, I can now appreciate cognacs that cost a bit more and still work with a mixer.
When friends handed me this special Artisan Edition of Courvoisier’s VSOP Triple Oak, I instantly feared it would be wasted on me. I needn’t have worried.
The Artisan Edition looks much like the regular Courvoisier VSOP and doesn’t taste hugely different either. What sets it apart is that it’s aged in three separate casks – young French oak, Limousin oak and older oak vats.
That all sounds very fancy, but does the shit taste good? Hell yes it does. I always like to have a sniff of the brandy before topping it up with Coke and ice and the Artisan gives off some lovely vanilla and fruity smells. Sometimes I even take a very small sip of the brandy straight, just to pretend that I know what the fuck I’m talking about.
Straight, I find this brandy too harsh to enjoy, but in fairness that’s the case with all spirits as far as I’m concerned.
But with the cola and ice added, this is a fantastic brandy that warms you up from the inside and eases you into a relaxed buzz. Even through the mixer, you still gets those gorgeous smells.
At around £45 a litre, this not by any stretch a cheap option. But if you’re looking for something a little fancier, you won’t find better than this.