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This is what they had in mind all those years ago when they figured out that fortifying their wine would keep it over their long sea voyages around the horn of Africa and keep their sailors with something to warm them and bouy their spirits.
Darvelle Freres harkens back to a time when distillation was a vast universe of experimentation and fine tuning. This is a means to an end brandy - a minor triumph - in the art of fortifying wine.
The nose is candied fruit and a hint of eaux de vie.
After initial taste it flows through the palate with caramel undertones and mild vanilla giving way to some slight oakiness. I kept expecting some burn but there was little to be found. It just finishes with a subtle salinity and a wisp of toffee.
For 15 dollars you absolutely can not go wrong with this brandy. It can be enjoyed straight or with a little dry ginger ale. Try a drop of distilled water if you plan to sip it neat it will bring out the caramel notes for anyone with a slightly challenged palate.
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