So dear reader, expecting a wine?  Nope!  Expecting a beer?  Nooooooooooope.

How 'bout a lovely brandy?  Well YOU got it!

I'm proud to introduce my newest realm of bloggosphereing: spirits, with Matt's Spirited Away!  Admittedly, I am not as experienced in this part of the boozy world as wines and beers, but I am gung ho to try!  I've been drinking and enjoying scotches for years, and have dabbled in vodkas, brandies, and cognacs.  So!  I thought, why not apply my amateurish, semi-humourous reviewing alleged skills to this wonderful genre?

On a side note, I have cast aside my general rule of $20 and under for this particular category of reviews, because frankly, if I stuck to spirits that are priced at $20 and below?  I'd end up drinking some pretty lousy shi...shifty stuff.  Ya.

So, while I was walking through my local Lickbo, I was in need of a spirit which I usually just down a shot of here and there, and was tired of my usual - as good as it is, I thought why not try something else.  I picked up this bottle on sight alone, not knowing how it'd be, but damn, did I get lucky (if only I could pick lotto numbers as well).

First, as always, some back story.  Labelled, "E&J" I wondered if it was made by the same folks of Ernest and Julio Gallo of wine fame...and indeed it is, somewhat to my surprise.  Modern day brandy itself began to appear all the way back in the 12th century (John McCain would recall no doubt...ZING!).  Made of grapes still, this particular spirit was casked (barrelled and "mellowed" as the bottle says) in white American oak wood.  It is a "VSOP" grade brandy, with "VSOP" meaning "Very Superior Old Pale," meaning according to Wiki (if it applies to this label) that it was aged for at least five years, and is the second highest grade of brandy made.

Very nice!  Let's get Spirited Away!

This brandy comes bottled and topped with a screw-top cap with a bottom of cork - something very common in many liquors, and adds the convenience of a screw-top with the tradition of cork - a very nice mix.

The colour of this brandy was a medium yellow-orange, an amber colour, which was very rich and inviting.  I love the colour of most brandies/scotches/cognacs...they're all inviting!  They invited, and I accepted!

Its scent and nose was just smashing.  Oh baby.  The alcohol was noticeable of course (@ 40%), but was otherwise warm, rich, smelling of sweet vanilla and caramel.  It was, I noted, "vivacious!"  Well damn!  Taste the damn stuff!

Okay, I will!  And did!  And WOO!  The taste was sweetish, still forward with vanilla, rich, flavourful, with some kick, of course.  It enveloped the senses and just fills the mouth wonderfully.

It was drier on the finish, as the vanilla subsided, but the caramel lingered.  This is so very drinkable, velvety, and lovely.

Well!  What else can I say!  It was and is a triumph!  Wonderful!  Yum!  "VSOP" must actually mean "veritably superb..." uh...yeah.

Pick up a bottle, put up your feet, put on some jazz, and melt away!

***1/2 out of 4

Purchased at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$24.75 (US$26.12).


E&J GALLO VSOP BRANDY, 750 mL bottle
LCBO #396234
Spirits, Brandy, Traditional (?)
40% Alcohol/Vol. (80 proof)
Made in: United States of America
By: E. & J. Gallo Winery

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