Two Laird’s Apple Brandy Single Cask Selections

Though there’s evidence to suggest that they’ve been making applejack since the early 18th century, Laird and Company has been a commercial distillery since at least 1780. They have been releasing single cask selections over the last few years, of which I have a pair.

A brief aside: I’ve been exploring the world of brandy recently. I’ve gone from old yak to Armenian eau de vie to American apple brandies like these. You’ll start to see more brandy reviews from me going forward, but don’t worry, the rum reviews will keep coming as well.

Laird’s Apple Brandy Single Cask 16E12#6 

(Aged 57 months, 60.5%)

The nose leads with woody and earthy aromas like pencil shavings, hardwood smoke, gravel, and geosmin. Then come the fruit and spice notes like baked apple with brown sugar, vanilla, dried ginger, black pepper, and sesame. Finally, there’s some men’s shaving cream and a subtle butyric note, but it’s below the threshold for making this unpleasant.

The palate is hot and flavorful. Its primary focus is baked apples and pears topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce. There’s also some fresh white peach, graham cracker, dried ginger, Sichuan peppercorn, shaving cream, and lemon essence.

I like this. It’s definitely cask driven and drinks pretty hot, but it has a pleasant fruit and spice profile beneath all the oak and it swims well. Bet it could make some killer cocktails. (6/10)

Laird’s Apple Brandy Single Cask 15E12#8

(Aficionados Group x r/Bourbon x RareBird101 pick, aged 96 months, 65.8%)

The nose here seems more mellow than the expression above. There’s still lots of gravel and geosmin, perhaps even more than 16E12#6, and the wood influence comes across more like an old log cabin than freshly charred oak. The apples are a bit more mild and less tart; think Red Delicious instead of Fuji. I also get shaving cream, black pepper, clove, cardamom, black tea, vanilla, and thankfully, no butyric notes this time.

On the palate, I taste baked apples and pears again, but some of the baked Red Delicious apples are turning back into tart, fresh Fujis. The pome fruits are topped with nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, black pepper, and, of course, a generous dollop of shaving cream.

For me, this is a noticeable improvement over 16E12#6. The nose and palate both feel more integrated, and it’s also just downright delicious. It’s a shame this sold out so quickly, but it’s cool to see so much interest being shown in American apple brandy. (7/10)