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The Best Affordable Bottles Of Brandy To Serve Or Give As A Gift This Christmas

Having a bottle of brandy on hand is a must this time of year. The subtle nuance of the wine-based spirit is perfect for warming up on cold nights and works wonders if you’re looking to spike an eggnog or a mulled wine. Brandy is also a great gift to give this season. It’s delicious, versatile, and often not overly expensive (though, of course, bottles can cost thousands of dollars).

Below, we’ve collected ten bottles of brandy that anyone would be happy to see under the tree. We’ve kept these bottles below the $50 price tag and steered towards brands that are available from coast-to-coast. We want you to be able to actually buy these bottles and give them as gifts, and you can’t do that if we call out labels only available in small-quantities in a single location.

We’ve also included some variation with Cognacs and Armagnacs as well. Those are simply brandies from specific regions in France. (A good way to look at it is like this: all Cognacs and Armagnacs are brandy but not all brandies are Cognacs or Armagnacs.) Cool? Let’s dive in!

KORBEL XS BRANDY

Price: $11.99

The Story:

You really can’t beat this price for this quality of brandy. The spirit is rendered with California grapes from the Korbel winery and infused with Madagascar vanilla, orange essence, sugar, and spices — adding a nice depth to the sip and making the perfect base for an old fashioned cocktail.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla, orange, and Christmas spices dominate on the opening. The sweetness and vanilla leave you with a feeling of cream soda as the spice mellows. The finish is slightly dry and sweet, with a mild warmth.

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CHRISTIAN BROS SACRED BOND BRANDY

Price: $24.99

The Story:

Sacred Bond carries on the Napa Valley tradition of American brandy via Kentucky bourbon in Heaven Hills. The California brandy is produced from Napa grapes and distilled in copper pot stills before going into ex-bourbon casks from Heaven Hills for four years. The result is a multi-award winning American brandy that’s phenomenally priced.

Tasting Notes:

Oak drives the sip with notes of buttery peanut brittle, caramel, and vanilla. Woody apples with a tart edge, more caramel, and a sharp spiciness come into play. Finally, the sip embraces the peppery edge and the rich vanilla for a long-lasting warm finish.

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MARTELL VS SINGLE DISTILLERY

Price: $29.99

The Story:

Martell VS Single Distillery hails from Cognac, France where master distillers have dialed their brandy completely dialed in. The grape juice is twice distilled to add an extra layer of fruity complexity and clarity. What makes this expression stand out is that the juice is all distilled at a single distillery and aged and blended in-house, a rarity for any Cognac from the region.

Tasting Notes:

Candied citrus zest, fatty plums, and dried apricots open this one up. Notes of fresh grass, black cherries, tart raspberries, roasted almonds, and dark chocolate mingle on the palate. An oaky spiciness builds from the tart berries towards a full-bodied finish that lingers.

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REMY MARTIN VSOP

Price: $34.99

The Story:

Remy Martin VSOP is a classic brandy from Cognac that’s resonated for generations of Cognac lovers over the years. The sip has a 55 percent Grande Champagne base. The brandy is masterfully blended from four to 12-year-old Cognac barrels before bottling, making this a very special old pale indeed.

Tasting Notes:

The sip opens with a flourish of fresh orchard fruits and wildflower meadows. There’s a roundness to the sip that carries tart fruits, sweet dried fruits, and those floral components throughout. In the end, a mild spice rises with the fruits and florals to bring warmth to the finish with an echo of oak.

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JOLLITE ARMAGNAC VSOP

Price: $34.99

The Story:

This brandy — produced in Armagnac, France — is a much-lauded masterpiece of the style. Jollite Armagnac VSOP is made from the grapes from the most respected vineyards in the region. The juice is then mellowed at Jollite’s Maison until it meets the highest standards of the style.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla and apple mix on the opening. Those flavors remain dominant as the tart apple is smothered in caramel and vanilla leads towards a sharp oaky spiciness. Delicate notes of Christmas spices support the fruit and mild florals as the dry and lush final notes linger on the tongue.

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COURVOISIER VSOP

Price: $35.99

The Story:

Courvoisier VSOP is the gold-standard of affordable high-end Cognac. The brandy is distilled with Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, and Fins Bois juice before going into French oak to mellow. The resulting sip is one of the best gateways to the style.

Tasting Notes:

The sip opens with notes of black tea, ripe peaches, and browned butter caramel apples with a hint of vanilla. Subtle flourishes of toasted almonds and bold jasmine bounce between the oak and vanilla. Finally, that jasmine edges into slight bitterness as the sweet fruit rises towards a sweet and mild end.

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PAULET COGNAC VSOP

Price: $36.99

The Story:

This award-winning brandy from Cognac is a highwater mark in the style. The hand-crafted brandy is distilled from the finest Fine Champagne grapes before mellowing until it’s hit the perfect mark. This is a masterclass in Cognac drinking with every sip.

Tasting Notes:

Candied orange peel, rich caramel, and dried fruits with a note of Christmas spice open this sip. That orange peel carries on with gingerbread cookie notes alongside more dried fruits and a hint of molasses. The ginger and orange combine on the end with a whisper of smoke and oak.

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ASBACH PRIVATBRAND 8 YEAR

Price: $41.99

The Story:

Stepping out of France and into Germany, Asbach has been making some of the best brandy the world has seen for over a century. The German brandy is executed according to guidelines set out by the finest Cognac houses with the finest grape selection, double distillation, and aging in Limousin oak. The only reason this isn’t called a “Cognac” is simply that it’s not made in Cognac.

Tasting Notes:

The brandy opens with notes of Christmas spices, oak, and bright orchard fruits. The spiciness carries on, creating a backbone to the sip — with marzipan, figs, and ripe stone fruits all making an appearance. The sip closes with a rush of spice with caramel covered almonds as the finish lingers with a slight black tea bitterness.

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HENNESSY VSOP

Price: $49.99

The Story:

You can’t get much more well-crafted that good ol’ Henney. The Cognac is distilled from Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, and Fins Bois juice and then barreled in local French oak for up to 15 years. The final step is a blend that matches the specifications laid down for the brandy back in the early 1800s.

Tasting Notes:

Dried fruits dominate the nose of this sip with plenty of wildflowers wafting in the background. Mulled wine Christmas spices with candied dried fruits bring about sharpness and sweetness as mild hints of tart berries, oak, and a wisp of smoke linger. A slight bitterness arrives and carries the spices, vanilla, and fruits towards a dry and rewarding end.

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D’USSE COGNAC VSOP

Price: $49.99

The Story:

Jay-Z’s signature Cognac is a brilliant expression at a very accessible price point. The booze is made in Cognac and cellared for four to eight years at the famed Château de Cognac in France. The expression is blended specifically for the American palate and then shipped over the pond.

Tasting Notes:

Oak, vanilla pods, and cinnamon sticks greet you. The spices build as a roasted almond flutter kicks in with a continuation of the cinnamon with notes of honey, black pepper, and caramel. Finally, the sip carries that honey forward and it mingles with dried fruit and spices — giving a real holiday feel to the dry-yet-sweet final note.

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