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Original Gangster XO French Brandy

Original Gangster XO
French Brandy


By Robert Plotkin

If you're in the market for a delectable, high quality brandy that's reasonably priced and completely devoid of pretence, then Original Gangster XO French Brandy is just the ticket. This French brandy is a gem. The fact that it's packaged in a stunning fan-shaped decanter and was created in partnership with the musician and actor Ice-T only enhances its appeal.

Original Gangster is made near Provence in the Languedoc-Rousillon region of France. The wines of the area are growing increasingly in demand due to the quality of the region's grape varietals. The brandy is an assemblage of eaux de vie distilled from Chardonnay, Grenache, and Ugni Blanc, the famed grape varietal used to produce cognac. One of the singular features of this brandy is that it is blended with a combination of column-distilled and pot-distilled spirits. The alembic copper pot stills and column stills produce spirits with dramatically different characters. When blended together, the result is a brandy with engaging aromatics and a full, lushly textured body. After it is twice distilled, the brandy is aged for a minimum of 10 years in French oak barrels and bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof).

Original Gangster XO French Brandy is not a cognac, although it certainly drinks like one. It has a lustrous amber hue, a velvety textured, medium-weight body and a generous bouquet brimming with floral and fruity aromas. The aromatics are captivating and qualify this newcomer as a franchise player. The brandy quickly fills the mouth with a sumptuous array of flavors, including fresh peaches, black pepper, vanilla, caramel and dried fruit with sultry vinous notes. The lingering finish is warm and satisfying.

You owe it to yourself to sample this brandy neat. Pour it into a snifter and let it breathe for a minute or two. After that, go ahead and feature it in a Sidecar, Manhattan or the cocktail recipe of your choice. It'll perform beautifully in any brandy-based assignment.

Considering Original Gangster carries the modest price of around $20, it is one of the great buys of the decade. So the next time you're chatting with Ice-T, please thank him for us. This import is worth every penny, plus a thousand or so more. A votre sante!