One of Tamworth Distilling’s most luxurious spirits, Tamworth Garden V.S.O.P. Apple Brandy is an experiment in purity and terroir. It begins with the apples: heirloom Cortland apples grown in Concord, NH at Carter Hill Apple Orchard, one of the oldest active orchards in the United States. It is then double distilled in a traditional alembic still, in the style of French Calvados, ensuring that the barrels are packed with New Hampshire apple flavor. The resulting spirit is barreled in new oak at no more than 125 proof, before aging for at least 4 years in our bonded barrelhouse.
This distillation and aging process adheres to the standards of both the Bottled in Bond Act of 1987 and V.S.O.P. (as established by the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac in 1983). The result is an apple brandy produced by one distillery, in one season, aged for four years and bottled at 100 proof: unadulterated, with no artificial colors, other spirits, or younger brandies mixed in.
Tamworth Garden V.S.O.P. pours rich and golden in the glass, with custard-y richness on the nose and a full-bodied mouthfeel. Hints of stewed apples and tobacco smoke punctuate whiskey-like notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and clove. Take a sip and appreciate the simplicity of the humble apple, and its journey from the orchard to your glass.
About Bottled in Bond:
We are offering Tamworth Garden V.S.O.P. Apple Brandy as one of our signature Bottled In Bond spirits at Tamworth Distilling, which takes the local history up a notch. The Bottled in Bond act of 1897 was a last lame-duck act to be passed by President Grover Cleveland, just before he took up residence on (what is now) Cleveland Hill Road where Tamworth Distilling sits. Cleveland was asked by Secretary of Treasure, as well as some HUGE personalities of whiskey in the end of the 1800’s: E.H. Tayler being the champion. Tayler still has bottles on shelves today, though no longer of his making. Buffalo Trace has obtained the name and uses the historic name for upper echelon whiskeys. Taylor’s name being synonymous with industry standards and achievement.
Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 speaks to a higher quality, verifiable by the US Government. The Act outlines, clearly, the qualifying characteristics and practices of a spirit that is deemed “Bottled In Bond.” Bourbon and Whiskeys, Rum and Brandy (apple brandy, too!) can be stamped Bottled In Bond.
At first glance, it could seem irrelevant that an act from over a hundred years ago should ring true today. Few things can stand the test of that span of time. It seems the temptation to adulterate spirits is just as great today as was in 1897. The purchasing of bulk spirits from all manner of producers, and the addition of flavoring agents to obscure the true nature of the spirit is just as popular in today’s Modern Craft Spirits Boom as when more dubious blenders would add things like shoe polish to darken the spirit for a more aged look.
While the stakes are certainly less grave (as people were being poisoned by bad blends back then), the blurring of authenticity is still a current concern. At Tamworth Distilling we make everything from scratch, hand milling grains and distilling of all our spirits from house produced fermentations.
In 1983, the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) of France outlined the standards of maturation for brandy. This guideline categorizes the quality of brandy through years aging in casks. The standard of V.S.O.P. means Very Special Old Pale, and ensures the youngest Eau de Vie has been aged in a cask for at least four years. The result is a premium in the field, with mellow, integrated and nuanced flavors that earn the term. While our apple brandy is not a French product, we aim to hold our standards to the same appellations that maintain the integrity of Cognac.