Friday, November 5, 2010

E&J VSOP Brandy


Although this review will be specifically about E&J's VSOP blend, I'd like to talk a bit about my experience with E&J in general. I have had three different blends of E&J brandy so far: E&J Original, VSOP, and their XO premium blend. For comparative purposes, this is the only kind of brandy that I've ever had, aside from a bit of an unidentified French brandy that a friend's sister got straight from France during a recent trip overseas. From what I heard, it was expensive (about 50 dollars for about a third of a pint, if I remember correctly). Of the three E&J blends that I've had, VSOP is the best. It is essentially an enhanced version of the original: very similar in taste and consistency, but with a bit more flavor and burn. I did not really favor the XO when I tried it. I have a feeling that the XO blend is intended more for drinking straight, as it is less intense and more spiced, with prevalent hints of something like brown sugar or molasses.

The VSOP is a good liquor, if you like your alcohol to have a good deal of kick to it. It is flavorful without being overbearing, burns just right/so good, and, as an added bonus, it is fairly inexpensive. If you like liquors with a good, full-bodied bite, this is a good "everyday" choice. I'm sure that there are higher quality brandies out there, but if you'd like to try it out, or are intending to mix it into drinks [see bottom of post for a drink recipe using VSOP], E&J is a great place to start.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Greene's Discount Beverages (Columbia, SC)
Size: Half-Pint (200mL)
Price: $3.99

Although my preferred method of consuming my brandy is to just sip it straight here and there in small amounts, I have discovered that it works quite well as a press.

VSOP Press:

1 oz. E&J VSOP or Original blend brandy
0.5 oz. lemon juice
3 dashes bitters
1 splash lemon-lime soda
1 lemon wedge

Combine brandy, lemon juice, and bitters and stir to mix. Serve on the rocks, topped with your choice of lemon-lime soda (I personally recommend Sierra Mist Natural) and garnished with a lemon wedge.

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