Brandy -

A liquor obtained by the distillation of the fermented juice of fruits {illegible} the word is employed without any qualifying prefix, it is nearly always under {illegible} the liquor distilled from wine, i.e., the fermented juice of grapes. Other {illegible} generally carry the explanations of their source - as "Cherry Brandy," "Peach Brandy," etc. After grapes, the most important commercial type of European br{illegible} that made from dried figs.

Red wines yield the largest amount of Brandy, but the product of white {illegible} considered the finer and more delicate.

When first distilled, the liquor, known then as "white Brandy," is entirely {illegible} and will so remain if stored in glass or earthenware. Custom first stored it in {illegible} casks and these gradually gave it the yellowish color which it had when first {illegible} The public obtained the impression that the darker the Brandy the greater its s{illegible} and as a consequence a little caramel (burnt sugar) is nearly always added to {illegible} the now characteristic "Brandy color."

The finest Brandy in the world is that known as Cognac, distilled from fi{illegible} wines grown in the vicinity of the City of Cognac, in the department of Char{illegible} the west of France. The word "Cognac" was for many years, until checked {illegible} lation, so freely used on imported brandies that it is generally taken to be the word for Brandy. The proper equivalent is though Eau de Vie, "Cognac" only a {illegible} correctly to Brandy from the Cognac district.

The genuine Cognac is divided into four principal grades - "Grande Champagne" or "Fine Champagne" (the very finest), "Petite Champagne," "Borderies" and {illegible}

The name "Champagne" was given in Old France to a plain or upland, the {illegible} of which is chalk with a thin layer of mould. It is only suitable for vine cultiva{illegible}

There are many such "Champagnes" in France, but the two most famous are those around Reims (the source of Champagne wine) and around Cognac. Their soil and subsoil are similar.

The third grade, "Borderies," is so named because it is from the district "bordering on" the "Champagne."

The fourth is styled "Bois," because formerly the country immediately beyond was a woodland (bois). It is divided into: Fins (fine) bois; Bons (good) bois; Bois ordinaires (ordinary); Bois éloignés (distant).

Cognac as marketed is generally a blending of Grande Champagne or Petite Champagne with Borderies or Bois, the first for flavor and aroma and the second for strength. It is interesting to note that though Cognac is so distinctively a French product, comparatively little of it is consumed in France, the bulk being exported to English speaking countries. In the offices of the largest Cognac firms, nearly 95% of the correspondence is conducted in the English language.

The use of the word "Champagne" in connection with Brandy is also sometimes attributed to the custom of adding a small quantity of the finest Brandy in the last stages of Champagne making - the choicest Brandy being used, the entire grade attained commercial significance as "Champagne Brandy."

"Cognac Vierge" is distilled from wine made from the first pressing of the grapes.

The term Fine Champagne is also applied to a blend produced in Languedoc and Roussillon.

Armagnac is another high class French Brandy, produced in a district in South-west France, formerly known as Armagnac - now chiefly within the department of Gers.

Eau de vie de Marc, or "lees Brandy," is a distinct grade distilled from the fermented liquor obtained by steeping in water the skins, etc., left over from the pressing of the grapes for wine. It is generally of minor quality, but some varieties, as the best grades from the Burgundy district, are very highly rated.

Care should be taken to avoid adulterated and imitation brandies. Their use is unnecessary as there is a plentiful supply of the genuine, both domestic and imported.

Of the domestic product, that from California is generally rated as the best. The average annual output is in the neighborhood of five million gallons. Of this, about one-third, principally of that made from Muscat grapes, is placed on the market as Brandy, the remainder being used to fortify sweet wines, such as Port and Madeira.

Genuine new Brandy is frequently given the appearance and flavor of "age" by the addition of a little old rum, old kirsch, etc.

Brandy is used medicinally as a stimulant and for various other purposes. It is distinguished from the majority of other ardent spirits by its light stomachic properties.

Arround Brandy in The Grocer's Encyclopedia

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