Maker: Calvados Coquerel, Milly, Manche, Normandy, France
Age: 2 y/o
Price: $29 (The Party Source. It seems to have disappeared off the Michigan list)
Appearance: Golden auburn, a lot of necklacing, big thick legs.
Nose: Alcohol, dry apple cider, toasted French oak.
Palate: Thin, alcohol, dry apples, maple sugar, celery.
Finish: celery, oak, under ripe apple, Like Arkansas black or similar variety, white sugar, dash of vanilla.
Parting words: Calvados Coquerel was founded in 1937 by René Gilbert and remained in the hands of the Gillbert family until it was purchased by Asbach in 1971. Asbach became a part of Diageo in 1990 but Calvados Coquerel regained its independence when it was sold to Jean-François Martin in 1996 (not to be confused with the Remy-Martin Cognac house).
Fine is the bottom shelf, err “entry level”, apple brandy from Calvados Coquerel. The other grades are Vieux (3 y/o), VSOP(4 y/o) and XO (6 y/o). The line is capped off with the Marquis de la Pomme fifteen and twenty year old brandies. They also make a variety of other apple-related beverages including cider all using Norman apples.
This brandy has been savaged online, maybe a bit unfairly. It’s certainly not great, but as a mixer or casual sipper it’s good enough. The price is a bit hard to swallow, though. One can get the Laird’s 7 ½ y/o apple brandy for three dollars more and the 100 proof Laird’s for just one dollar more. Black Star Farms does make an apple brandy in a similar style but at $22 for a 375 ml bottle, it works out to be much more expensive per ml.
All that said, given European brandy prices, this product isn’t priced too far out of line but that doesn’t mean its worth the money either. Calvados Coquerel Fine is mildly recommended.