Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Brandy Gran Duque de Alba Solera Gran Reserva 40%, Williams & Humbert

Well patinated mahogany fading through amber with bright copper highlights.
Rich aromas of well matured brandy, the Oloroso, while obvious, is not dominant and balances well with the fruitiness of the spirit. There are notes of raisin, caramel, vanilla, oak and tobacco but on the whole they are well integrated into a very wholesome whole.
A touch of sweetness at the start helps acclimatise the palate to the 40 degrees of alcohol then it opens out nicely and very generously with all the above flavours. There will be a little sweetness from the Dry Sack 15 and I'm not certain if any more has been added (it is not uncommon), but it certainly makes for a very enjoyable brandy rounding it off nicely. Good length.

This is one of the best sellers of the Solera Gran Reservas which originally belonged to Diez-Merito and comes from an 1889 solera. The firm was taken over by Rumasa and the brandy finally ended up at Williams & Humbert. The story goes that it is named in honour of Jacobo Fitz-James Stewart y Falcó, XVII Duke of Alba, a descendant of the Jacobites and father of the late Cayetana, Duchess of Alba. The Duke was a friend of the firm's Madrid agent and having been impressed by the brandy, kindly allowed his title to be used for its brand name. Since then W&H have added two other, older versions of the brandy; GDA XO and GDA Oro. They even have a cream liqueur using GDA as a base. It is made from Airén grapes with a little Palomino fermented at low temperature to conserve primary aromas. The wine is only lightly filtered leaving a little of the lees in suspension on arrival at the still. Distillation is carried out in alquitaras at a very slow rate to achieve the best possible estery holandas. The spirit is then racked into butts seasoned with Dry Sack Oloroso 15 Year Old and goes to the 10th criadera of the solera. Ten years later it emerges as this delicious brandy.
25 euros from the Corte ingles

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