Fernando de Castilla SGR Allier

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Review

This Brandy from Jerez is not your every day Solera Gran Reserva. The Fernando de Castilla Solera Gran Reserva Allier made by Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, is something special.


Already the label is a great give away as the hand written parts show that this is a limited and numbered Brandy. Only 360 of those bottles where made in 2007 (it is not clear to me if this was repeated in later years as well). And each bottle is signed by the cellar master!

But what is so special? Well, similar as with the Uno en mil from Sanchez Romante, this is a single cask Brandy that ages its last three to four years in a Allier oak cask and comes unfiltered. This kind of selection and ‘botteling’ is very rare to see and is somewhat of a speciality/exception in the world of Spanish Brandy.


It is no surprise that oak is the dominating thing when drinking this fine spirit. :-)) Be it in the nose, on the palate or in the finish. This dominance in all the areas is actually very impressive as I never had that in a Brandy before. Apart from that it is a straight and honest Solera Gran Reserva. If I could wish for something I would wish for a few more years of age. Even though I am not sure if this would turn the woody notes and make them unpleasant I feel that a tad bit more texture would have lifted this one to an ‘Über-Brandy’ at least in my imagination. But as said that might have thrown the whole thing over the top.


All in all an excellent Brandy that certainly is something special and very unique. It is a very distinguished addition to each Brandy collection. I applaud to Bodega Rey Fernando de Castilla for creating this Brandy as I feel it adds depth and versatility to Brandy and requires a lot of know how to create a Brandy like this. Very, very special!

For more infos click on the tasting sheet: FernandoDeCastillaSGRAllier

Lustau Solera Gran Reserva Finest Selection

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Review

Finally got around to open the second bottle coming out of this Lustau trial package, this time it is the

Lustau Finest Selection which is a Solera Gran Reserva from Emilio Lustau S.A. in Jerez de la Frontera.


The etiquette below the companys name is black with golden drawings and letters and right on the bottom of it it says ‘Finest Selection’. From the looks of it this is the darkest of the three if only just a tad bit darker than the regular Solera Gran Reserva.


Already its smell is a giveaway. A rich Brandy almost overpowering. It is a little bit overly sweet and has somewhat of a short finish. That is if you really have to look for something negative (and I really had to look very hard). With its fruity body and candice sweetness overall it easily is on par with the rest of the top SGRs. I can relate to why it has gotten the best in class award.


Another remarkable thing is that it really fits into the Lustau Brandy line. I was already impressed with the Solera Reserva and I love the Family Selection. And yet this one fits right and properly in between. Just another proof of the splendid craftsmen ship and know how at Emilio Lustau!

Again I would like to mention how much I like this trial package as I do feel that Brandy is underrated as it seemingly does not fit into todays broader taste. Not beeing sold in a hip bottle or beeing despised by Single Malt snobs it is important that Brandy is getting to the right target. So I feel it is a great thing to go out on the market with a package like this!

Well done, Lustau!

For more infos click on the tasting sheet: LustauSoleraGranReservaFinestSelection

Lustau Solera Reserva

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Review

When I started this blog I wanted to concentrate on Solera Gran Reserva and nothing less. But today I am writing something about a Solera Reserva. There are three reasons for this: I really liked the family reserve from Lustau. I was intrigued by the box saying this one had won “best in class”:

And last but not least there are enough limits and restrictions in this world and why not drinking something else from time to time. 🙂

So here goes the tasting of the Lustau Solera Reserva.


As you can see by the small bottle in the pictures I got this one in a trial package containing three Brandies (more on the others later in time). I could not resist picking it up for the above mentioned reason and I do applaud to this kind of thing as I feel that Brandy for some reason has lost its old glory and is somewhat out of fashion. That is a crying shame and trial packages like this and other marketing things are very welcome in my view to make Brandy more attractive to a broader public. BTW Lustau actually is more known for its wide and excellent range of Sherrys.

The Brandy that has been aged in 500 liter american oak casks is a very pleasant surprise indeed. Grape variety is 95% Airén and 5% Palomino and while it is not complex and maybe a little too sweet it taste of dried fruits and brown sugar and this it does while being surprisingly smooth and balanced taking into consideration that it is “only” a Solera Reserva thus consisting of younger spirits.


Compared to the few Brandys I know out of the same league I do see why this one got the “Best in Class” award at the 2011 International Wine & Spirit Competition. Well deserved and I would even go so far as to say that this one can keep up with a few run of the mill Gran Reservas in taste. Great value for money.

For more infos click on the tasting sheet: LustauSoleraReserva