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Drink Review: Cardenal Mendoza Brandy

This unique Spanish brandy is aged, like a sherry, in a solera made from casks that previously held fine Pedro Ximénez and oloroso sherries, imparting an incredible richness and complexity to the spirit.

Cardenal Mendoza Review: 

Initial Impressions

On entrance, I was greeted by notes of blackcurrant, orange blossom and something earthy and vegetal, perhaps like cedar. The nose was rather complex, with an abundance of fresh fruit and wormwood. The taste wasn’t as intense in comparison, as the cardenal Mendoza has a rich body and the wormwood does not come through as much. The palate is similarly light yet rich in a way that I have never experienced in a brandy of this style. Copper, oak, orange peel and hints of leather, caramel and vanilla mix with the fruit notes to create a very complex and inviting palate. On the finish, the cardenal Mendoza is light and bright with a healthy dose of spice and an enjoyable mouthfeel. I really enjoyed this, and as I said, would love to try the second distillate from the casks.

The Cardenal Mendoza Brandy Experience

The first time I ever really tasted a cardenal Mendoza Brandy, was with the 2006 bottling. I found the 2006 batch to be dramatic and challenging, thanks in no small part to the unusual funk of the yeast strain used in the 48% alc/vol spirit. While it was wonderful and unique, it was not my favorite. The 2005 bottling however, easily holds that honor. I just had the opportunity to try the 2008 bottling and it is without question my favorite. The two 2008 bottlings are similar, but I find the 2005 version to be more polished and complex and smoother on the palate. This brandy has been aged 4 ½ years and it shows, not least of all in its heavenly nose.

Cardenal Mendoza Review: 

Overall Impression

The cardenal Mendoza Brandy is a brandy of surpassing beauty and subtlety, and while I have no doubt it is good value for money, I can not help but say that it costs a lot to be so good, this brandy is just shy of the 50% mark (though it is not the most expensive in my current line up). The name of the brand is less than subtle, and I wonder if the distillers are hoping that once you have tasted the brand, you will be “satisfied” with it and not want to spend such money again.

The cardenal Mendoza is quite simply one of the best brandies I have ever tasted, hands down. I guess the question is – would I pay this much for it? I would, definitely. However, because I do not believe that this is a brandy for the masses, but one that requires some personal attention once it has been brought home, the price is around twice as much as the cost of top-notch spirits like del Sol and Latakia and so this review may appear a bit biased. I just think that in my opinion, this brandy truly deserves to be a top-shelf item. Do I think it is better than Dos Maderos or Black Forest?, No. While it is lesser in body, it is greater in complexity and the savory, nutty aspect of the brand is a more difficult one to achieve. Not sure. In my view, it is a bit more. However, the cardenal Mendoza Brandy is an excellent value for money choice, even if it costs twice as much as other brands to be amazing.

Cardenal Mendoza Review: 

It is very good in taste and aroma and very long lasting. Cardenal Mendoza is a remarkable blend of good spirits, and price very appropriate, a great. Cardenal Mendoza is exquisite, it permeates the aroma with the wine of wonderful grapes. Quite perfect. An excellent and rare wine. One of my favorites, a wine of unique character. Impressive.

Cardenal Mendoza in my opinion really does deserve its praise and for all of you who love brandies, trip to Spain and are game for an adventure, this is one that you must try. The cardenal Mendoza is a very special ale that is very exotic, unique and special. It is refreshingly different in a good way. Perfect for whiskey drinkers or those who make great brandies and don’t know what else to drink with them. The cardenal Mendoza is one of those rare brands whose style is so strong that you will either really like it or you won’t. If you do like it, you will be drinking your brandy more than any other brandy, as the cardenal Mendoza is that good.

Written by Mark Adams

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