Sunday, March 20, 2011

Booze Reviews: St. Rémy Authentic French Brandy VSOP

My taste in beer leans towards the expensive, but I'm also a big fan of spirits in all their forms. (aside from Gin, eww)  My bank account is unable to handle expensive spirits and expensive beer so the beer wins out, and I drink the cheap stuff when I hit the hard stuff.

That doesn't always mean you can't drink something tasty.  As with beer, there is a good variety of tasty stuff available at a lower price.  In general you sacrifice complexity of flavor in exchange for savings.  It's a good idea when hunting for cheap booze to sometimes avoid the more well known cheaper brands, if you go with them you may end up paying for advertising rather than taste.

I had a craving for Brandy, these things happen to me, so at the local state store I looked around for something cheap to try.  I've previously had a good experience with Cognac Salignac VS, a young Cognac produced by Courvoisier and a less enjoyable experience with Christian Brothers Brandy (It's a good thing the Brothers sold off the brand, if this is the best booze they can make they should stick to teaching)

The St. Rémy seemed to fall somewhere between the two in quality.  The taste was sweet and more winelike than most other Brandy I've tried, it was easy drinking and relaxing.  The woody notes seemed to take a backseat to the more fruity flavors, but nothing dominated to the point of seeming out of place.  

St. Rémy is produced in Saint-Barthélemy-d'Anjou, France.  Why isn't it a Cognac?

"Cognac" appellation defined by french Law in 1909 is exclusively for the "eaux de vies" coming from wines produced in the limited region of Cognac. All the other french or foreign eaux de vies produced out of this region are brandies. 
St Rémy Authentic is a french brandy français, of french origin 100 % guaranteed which means that it is elaborated from distilled wines coming from legendary vineyards in France.

Good enough for me, I don't have a developed enough palate for grapes to tell you if a wine is from California or France, much less distinguish between French growing regions in a distilled product.  

For the price of $10 per 750ml for French Brandy I don't think it can be beat.  This was a sale price at the local state store though so if it jumps back up I would probably buy the Salignac if they are at the same price.  

Next time I have a craving for Brandy I will be venturing down to the true bottom shelf and trying some American flavored Brandy, a taste experience I have been promised is truly....something.


  1. A kindred spirit, I might have written this. Just got some St. Remy at state store today knocked down a buck at $12.50 – my take is that it's relatively smooth and has some interesting taste characteristics, those woody and fruity notes. Like the reviewer I'm basically a beer guy, try to get some of the better brews by the case at COSTCO when available – wish I had stocked up with three cases of Sam Adams Oktoberfest, expected to see it again after the first case. When in Wisconsin Spotted Cow is a favorite. Like the reviewer I had a hankering for some brandy a couple of weeks ago and got some Asbach – 24.95 at state store, also a reduced price. Had some of that in Germany while in the Army, couldn't recall any taste impressions, but remembered that it was supposed to be top stuff. Well, it's pretty good, I guess, but this is a plug for St. Remy; to be fair I should have some of the Asbach left over for comparison, but at my meager level of existence my thumbs are up to St. Remy – seems smoother than the Asbach, and more interesting.

    BTW I am the 99% – Beer and cheap spirits is the opiate of the masses.

  2. Let it be known to the masses!!! Put two fingers of St. remy in a snifter and rise to thr top where the fat cats have always been. Dollar for dollar, this brandy cannot be beaten for taste, smoothness, and hidden notes of wood and fruit. Sip On!!

  3. I agree with most of the posts here. I have tried many brandies, of decent to good quality. St Remy compares well with the higher end stuff. Snifter on my friends. I find myself, going for the St Remy, again when I am in the mood for mellow.

  4. Wow, this could be written by me as well. I buy expensive beer and good booze too but have to be budget conscious (e.g. I max out at $50/bottle scotch). I like cognac but the store I was at didn't have any so figured SVOP should be good enough. This isn't phenomenal brandy, but for the price it can't be beat.

  5. I love Courvoisier VSOP but the 375 runs close to $20 after tax and that was more than I wanted to spend tonite.

    Guy picking up a bottle of Paul Mason turned me onto this at just under $8, told him it had to be smooth. Solid bang for the buck and will buy again.