Maker: Laird’s, Scobeyville, New Jersey, USA
Style: Straight apple brandy
Age: 12 y/o
Other information: Batch 17, bottled March, 2013
Price: $70 (Binny’s)
Appearance: Dark copper with thin, even legs.
Nose: Mild. Alcohol, applesauce, cardamom, sweet cinnamon, leather
Palate: Medium bodied. Medium dry. Heavily spiced apple pie, dry cider.
Finish: Baked apple, brown sugar, ginger, oak, fades with a little burn carrying through.
Parting words: Founded in 1780 by a Scottish immigrant, Laird’s is one of the US’s oldest commercial distillers, if not the oldest. They are the big dogs of American apple brandy, producing 90% of it, according to their website. Their bottled-in-bond apple brandy was a favorite of mine for a long time. I’ve been actively hoarding it since it was changed to a 3 y/o.
Laird’s Rare is probably the oldest American apple brandy available. If there’s one older, I haven’t had it. It’s good, but the age seems to have stripped it of most of its apple character. Oak is there, but just in the background. I wanted to love this grand old brandy, but it’s too mild on the palate and lacks the complexity of 8-10 y/o apple brandies I’ve had. At $70, I need more. Laird’s Rare Old Apple Brandy is mildly recommended.