Early Landed, Late Bottled Brandy, 1993-2020, 51.9% – Thompson Bros. for The Netherlands

There’s a lot to digest in the title alone.

First of all, it’s a bottling for The Netherlands. While I’m quite up to date on most things whisky, I’m not sure if specific bottlings like this have been done before, with brandy.

Second of all, it’s bottled by the Thompson Brothers of Dornoch, Scotland. They are the guys behind Dornoch Distillery and the whisky bar in the Dornoch Castle Hotel. Normally they bottle whisky and their own gin, but apparently they diversified into brandy as well.

Third, this early landed brandy stuff. Early landed is a term I’m more familiar with from the world of rum, but it means the same thing. It simply means that it was transported from its country of origin to Scotland before being bottled. It suggests that maturation happened in the United Kingdom as well, but I’m not 100% sure about that in this case. Either way, it doesn’t matter too much.

The label says brandy, because it is not allowed to label it as a cognac. It is a cognac, but instead of being bottled in that region of France, it was transported to Scotland before being bottled, hence ‘brandy’.

Now then, this came out sometime in December last year and most bottles were scooped up pretty quickly. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one for bottle-sharing. That share went quickly too, both in ‘sharing the bottle’, but also in drinking my 10cl.

Sniff:
Lots of fruit and oak, with a crisp herbaceous note. A whiff of chocolate, mocha, old fruit. Grapes and raisins, overripe, fallen off the branches. There’s very mature ‘armchair and a fireplace’ feel to this. Dried plums, later on.

Sip:
Quite dry with a bit of a corky texture, old oak. Some black pepper and raisins, grapes. Mocha, milk chocolate, some pastry cream. The dried plums are here too, and they bring a little plum stone bitterness with them.

Swallow:
A warming finish with lots of raisins, old oak and a dry texture. The finish is long and slightly less sweet. Still with raisins, but towards the end the oak takes the upper hand, but there are still notes of dried plums.

Generally I’m not too big on cognac, but it seems that the whisky bottlers are also finding casks of this to bottle. When things get to 50-something years old the prices are still quite reasonable compared to whisky, but when it can’t be bottled as Cognac, it seems to push prices down a little bit, like with this one. A 27 year old single cask for € 80 is quite a steal.

And is it worth it? Hell yes it is! I absolutely loved every drop of this and am strongly considering getting myself another bottle before they’re all gone. I’m also hoping this is part of a parcel and not just a single cask. That way there might be more in the future.

Anyway, it’s quite different to whisky, obviously. But I certainly loved the combination of fruit, chocolate and herbs. The general feel of the armchair and a fireplace is awesome too. So both great in flavor and in experience. I love it!

90/100? Honestly, I don’t think I have too much to compare it to.

Available at Slijterij Vonk in Zaandam, for € 80.

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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