How ya like them apple (brandies)? Head to Head: Tom’s Foolery vs. Black Star Farms

1)      Tom’s Foolery Applejack

2)      Black Star Farms Spirit of Apple


1)      Tom’s Foolery (Chagrin Falls, Ohio)

2)      Black Star Farms (Sutton’s Bay, Michigan)


1)      80 (40% ABV)

2)      80 (40% ABV)


1)      2 y/o

2)      NAS

Other Info:

1)      Batch 1, bottle 3.  Aged in used bourbon barrels.

2)      Produced at Black Star Farms Old Mission Peninsula facility, Traverse City, Michigan.


1)      Pale gold

2)      Slightly darker, edging closer to copper


1)      Young, raw, buttery, sweet, but with a dry, slightly sour apple note

2)      Rich, spicy, baked apple stuffed with nothing but celery

On the palate

1)      Light mouthfeel, still a bit raw, but creamy and sweet with a bit of cinnamon

2)      Light, maybe a little too light.  The celery flavor is still there, but it is not unpleasant.


1)      Low, slow and voluptuous.  Rich toffee and brown sugar.   Apple crisp comes to mind immediately

2)      The celery gives way to a huge wallop of cassia.  The big hot finish lingers in the cheeks for a long time.

Parting Words

These are pretty different spirits, despite them both being apple brandies (“applejack” is a traditional American name for apple brandy).  The Spirit of Apple is obviously older than Tom’s Foolery, I would guess about twice as old.  The celery scent and flavor in the Spirit of Apple was pretty shocking at first, but it wasn’t really a deal-breaker in the end.  If you can find it, Black Star Farms put out a 10 y/o Apple Brandy last year.  Binny’s had it for $100 a bottle last time I was there.  Hopefully, it’s cheaper at the tasting room in Traverse City.  UPDATE: According to the official Black Star Farms twitterer the 10 y/o Apple Brandy sells for $75 at the tasting room.

Tom’s Foolery, while definitely very young and equally hard to fine, has loads of potential.  Even young, it had a sophistication the Spirit of Apple lacked.  In ten years or less, Tom’s Foolery is going to be an incredible, world-class spirit.  It’s already very close to that.