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The Best Bottles Of Brandy And Cognac Under $100 To Give As A Gift

You can’t deny the greatness of a snifter of good brandy this time of year. The oak-aged juice has a lot of ties to well-aged whiskey while still feeling light (for the most part). The wine-based spirit can range from syrupy and full of holiday spices and candied fruits to almost airy, sunny, and very full of fresh and bright florals.

There’s also a lot of variation in brandy from Germany to Spain to France to the U.S. and beyond. While we don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of each region’s rules, each part of the world brings its own nuance to the style and we’re very into it.

Below, we’re going to call out some of our favorite brandies (and cognacs and armagnacs) that we think would make an amazing gift this holiday season. The only two rules we have for this list are 1) does it taste good and 2) is it under $100 (a nice bottle is a welcome bonus!).

That’s it — let’s dive in!

Torres 20 Hors D’Age Brandy

Torres 20
Torres

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $69

The Brandy:

This Spanish brandy is a throwback to centuries-old brandy making. The juice starts off with Parellada and Ugni Blanc grapes that are fermented. That wine is then distilled twice in old copper stills before it’s loaded into French Limousin barrels for a long, 20-year rest.

Tasting Notes:

This is pure holiday cake on the nose with plenty of dark spices next to rich dried fruits, candied cherry, orange oils, and fatty nuts with a hint of creamy vanilla. The palate delivers on those notes while folding in a light sense of musty cellar beams and the smoothest cinnamon and clove spiked vanilla pudding you can imagine — it borders on light eggnog with a little water added. The finish arrives with a subtle push towards the spice and dried fruit and leaves you with a dry sense of orange-infused tobacco and dry walnut shells.

Bottom Line:

This is a luxury brandy (made in the French style with those barrels) that costs about half as much as cognacs twice the price. This is also one of the most awarded brandies on the shelf, making this the perfect stocking stuffer this time of year.

Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection No.4 Cognac

Hennessy Masters Blend
LVMH

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $94

The Brandy:

This year’s limited release from Hennessy’s Master Blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde is all about snowy Alpine slopes and winter vibes. The brandy was aged in both new and used French Limousin barrels. Those barrels were left alone for at least five years before they were blended into this masterful final product.

Tasting Notes:

This feels like a bright and fresh winter fruit basket brimming with stone fruits, tangerines, pears, and nuts all wrapped in golden cellophane and busheled into a slightly damp basket. The taste dials in those notes while mingling orange oils with spicy mulled wine, dried berries, and a touch more of those roast nuts. The end comes slowly and moves between apricot, spicy orange tea, rich marzipan, and a flutter of wet cedar boughs.

Bottom Line:

These limited releases from Henny are always delightful. This year’s release was specifically built to feel like a brisk walk through a snowy forest … which, what could be more “now” as a gift than that?

D’USSÉ VSOP Cognac

DUSSE

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $60

The Brandy:

This is Jay-Z’s signature brand. The juice in the bottle goes way back to Baron Otard from the famed Château de Cognac. The new line was re-crafted to suit American palates and includes a blend of cognacs that are aged at the château for four to eight years before blending, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

The florals and fruit take a back seat to wood, spice, and vanilla on the nose. The palate of rich caramel leads to butter toffee with plenty of that oak shining through next to mild dark spices. The end lets the florals and fruit come out to play a little as the wood, spice, and caramel fade through your senses.

Bottom Line:

This feels both more like bourbon and a little lighter on the fruit. That’s not a bad thing! The bottle makes this a great gift all around and the lighter (more accessible) juice inside means that this will easily be enjoyed.

Chateau de Laubade VSOP Armagnac

Chateau de Laubade

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $40

The Brandy:

Château de Laubade is a vine to glass experience in Armagnac, France. The Maison uses primarily Ugni Blanc and Folle Blanche grapes to make their spirit. The juice then goes into the barrels for anywhere from six to 12 years. The barrels are then hand-selected and small-batched with no more than 20 barrels going into a single batch.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a creamy caramel and vanilla underbelly that leads toward bright and ripe cherries on the nose. That cherry sweetness counterpoints notes of old oak and dark spice as the sweetness edges towards creamed honey. The sip is perfectly-rounded, with zero rough edges. It lingers on your sense as the sweet fruit ends slightly tart and spicy.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for something that expands your giftee’s knowledge past standard brandy or cognac, this is the play. This armagnac is a very approachable representation of the style in a classic presentation/bottle.

Asbach Uralt

Asbach Urhalt
Asbach

ABV: 38%

Average Price: $35

The Brandy:

Germany’s Asbach is the closest you’ll get to “cognac” outside of France. The brandy was re-designated “weinbrand” (wine brandy) after the French dialed in their appellation designations for cognac and prohibited anyone outside the region from using that term for their brandy back in 1892. The grape distillate is made from German-grown grapes but aged in French Limousin oak (like cognac) for up to three years. The end result is a blend of two to three-year-old brandies.

Tasting Notes:

Aspach starts off with nice woody vanilla, buttery caramel, and notes of ripe and almost juicy apricot. Warm pepper spiciness comes into play with a rush of dark, sweet fruits, light and dry nuts, and a touch of light but acidic wine. The end is heavy on the alcohol with a slightly creamy vanilla edge.

Bottom Line:

This is a great introduction to the world of German brandy. While it’s not the most refined entry on the list, it’s a damn fine brandy that’s both easy to track down and damn tasty for this price point.

HINE Rare VSOP Cognac

Hine

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $70

The Brandy:

HINE Rare is a masterfully crafted cognac. The juice is a blend of eaux-de-vie (water of life) made from wines from the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne growing regions. That spirit then is barreled in oak where it spends six to 12 years maturing. The results are then married, proofed with soft mineral water from local springs, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Old oak barrels are tempered by rich and almost creamy notes of vanilla that lead towards a burst of summer wildflowers on the nose. The taste embraces those flowers with hints of jasmine next to violet next lavender that’s counterpointed by plum pudding nuttiness, woody spice, and a hint of that vanilla cream. The end is long-winded and really leans into the brightness of those florals as the woody spice warms your senses.

Bottom Line:

This is getting into the “good stuff.” The bottle is unique and the juice is excellent. That adds up to a great gift.

Remy Martin 1738 Royal Cognac

Remy Martin

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $85

The Brandy:

This high-end offering from Remy really does shine. The brandy is a blend of ultra-refined “Fine Champagne Cognacs” that are hand-selected and small-batched, adding a unique vibe to the expression.

Tasting Notes:

Dark red grapes mingle with sharp Christmas spices, musty oak, rich vanilla, and creamy toffee sweetness. A Christmas cake full of dried and candied fruit, spice, nuts, and buttery rum leads towards a whisper of fallow lavender fields. The end lingers just the right amount of time, touching on the fruit, spice, wood, and velvet texture.

Bottom Line:

The Christmas cake vibe of this brandy makes it a great sipper right now. Plus, this is a nice step up from the average Remy you see on shelves, which makes it the one you should probably wrap up and put under the tree.

Delord 25 Ans D’Age Armagnac

Delord
Armagnac Delord

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $82

The Brandy:

This brandy from Armagnac has a lovely level of nuance that makes it worth seeking out. Delord is a single house operation where grapes are grown organically and sustainably by the family. The grapes are pressed and twice distilled before going into the barrel for long resting periods of up to 25 years before blending, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a deep oak nature to this one. That vanilla spice is supported by bright orange zest, sweet prunes, old bouquets of dried wildflowers, and whispers of allspice. Next, a rush of ripe fruit comes into play: Bright grapes, dark red cherries, juicy plums, peach stones, and zesty oranges all play a role here. It feels like you’re sipping from a fruit orchard in full bloom on a warm summer day in France. Then that’s all counterpointed by this deep and dark woody spice and vanilla tobacco that just pops on the finish, leaving your senses buzzing.

Bottom Line:

Delord 25 is an introduction to the heights brandy can reach. The fact that this is under $100 means that you’ll have a stellar brandy to give as a gift this year.

Laird’s Rare Apple Brandy Aged 12 Years

Lairds

ABV: 44%

Average Price: $92

The Brandy:

This brandy from New Jersey harvests its apples from the misty Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. 30 pounds of apples go into each bottle of brandy. The juice then rests in American oak for 12 years before it’s blended, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

You’re greeted with apples stewing in butter, spice, raisins, and brown sugar. Hints of vanilla and oak join the party and a sense of salted caramel arrives to drive all those stewed and spicy apples towards a nice sweet/savory feel. The end isn’t too long but leaves you with a warm apple pie vibe.

Bottom Line:

This is an easy-drinking American brandy that’ll feel almost nostalgic. The bottle is also pretty hefty and cool looking on any bar cart, helping this pop as a gift.

Cardenal Mendoza Gran Reserva

Cardenal Mendoza

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $52

The Brandy:

This Spanish brandy has some serious pedigree. The juice is made from Airen grapes grown in Jerez. That then goes into former Pedro Ximenez sherry casks where it rests for 15 long years. The result is a deeply flavorful snifter that’s second to none.

Tasting Notes:

Roasted nuts, orange-infused dark chocolate, espresso beans, and brown bread greet you. The sip embraces the oak, nuts, and coffee as the body of the brandy feels like sharp beams of golden light flooding through darkly colored stained glass. The fruit is fairly dried and plummy and the sweetness edges ever-so-slightly towards molasses. The end is dry, bold, and leaves you warmed to your soul.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the best brandies on the market (not from France, that is). It’s thick, luxurious, and a great sipper. You cannot go wrong gifting this brandy to a true brandy lover this year.

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