Virginia’s Catoctin Creek may be best known for its whiskey, but the distiller also produces the Old Dominion’s first-ever commercial brandy. 1757 Virginia Brandy is distilled from Virginia-grown wine grapes before a two-year nap in French Bordeaux barrels.
Its nose is dominated by a deep and earthy grape must, which is also accompanied by vanilla and a touch of raisin. It is round and warming on the palate and initially sweet with flavors of grape must and raisin. These initial flavors darken to prune at the center, which is where oak hits, setting off a live wire of spice. From there it’s vanilla and oak surfing a wave of hot, tingling spice to the back. At the conclusion vanilla claims center stage again, finishing with something like a toasted vanilla marshmallow played off by warm mulling spices.
Catoctin Creek 1757 Virginia Brandy is as hot and stomach-clearing as you want a good after-dinner brandy to be, but it packs enough complexity between its earthy grape-and-raisin notes and spicy vanilla and oak to warrant slow sipping, preferably in a leather armchair before a crackling fire.
— 40% ABV