Tuesday, 22 September 2020 08:58

Carlos I (brandy) - a noncommercial consumer review 

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According to what I’ve been told by a clerk in the Finnish alcohol store Alko, Carlos I Solera Gran Reserva (in the picture above) is on average 10 years old. Regarding that it could be interesting to note that the Solera systemis a process for aging liquids by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years (source Wikipedia). Or said in other words normally every year a part of the oldest brandy is bottled (from 10% to 30% - 50%, according to different sources) and on its place into the older and oldest casks goes an equal amount from the age-chain down or up, if you take that the oldest casks are on the floor and the younger ones above... 

For the particular brandy is said: “It all starts by carefully picking grapes from the best Airén grapevines, which are then gently distilled using a traditional method in Moorish pot stills, a traditional copper pot still or alembic (source https://carlosbrandy.com/en/)”. As well “matured in oak-wood casks using the traditional aging system of Criaderas and Solera, until a velvety texture and intense aromas are revealed (source, the package of the bottle)”. It could also be noted that since the producer has also Carlos I Imperial XO (which I haven't tasted), the youngest brandy in the mixture of the one presented, is less than 6 years old…(according to some sources the age limit for XO has been raised to 10 years in 2018…?). 

Technically the presented brandy contains 40% alcohol and 12g sugar/L. 

Colour - deep-dark ambarish-red…which presumably comes primarily from the aging process in oak sherry casks...

Nose - sherry, cherry, vanilla, toffee...Inhaled from very close distance, one can feel alcohol chills with notes of oak in his/her nose, but with nothing excessive or unpleasant… 

Taste - in a freshly opened bottle, my unprofessional, but yet unprejudiced taste, catches a kind of  cherry-grapes (that’s the best term I figured out…) initial taste with sharper, but yet well balanced good brandy aftertaste, with notes of toffee, oak and grapes as well as some kind of watery-freshness at the end… I should also note that the quality of the drink improves, in terms of smoother smell and taste, when you leave the spirit to breath for some time or if you let air in the bottle, ex about 15-20% from the bottle is drunk and you close the rest for tomorrow… I am not an expert, but quite likely the latter results from the processes of evaporation and may be to some extent oxidation on air, but I’ll leave that for your own research :)

Most of the experts recommend room temperature (around 20 C), for best flavour and taste experience of a brandy or cognac…

P.S. Since the articles of newfinns.com aim at transparency and knowledge, I’d like to note that enjoying a quality drink, when you are legally aged, has nothing to do with alcohol abuse in any manner, which may prove strongly culturally and individually biased… In that regard here are 2 videos concerning the matter: Why hangover happen? and  Which alcohol gives the worst hangover? 

Kind regards, Rosti  

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