Noble and elegant, but also pretty old-fashioned. This image has changed; brandy is in and it’s booming. Daniel Scheier, barman at the Romantik Hotel Walhalla in Osnabrück, explains this trend and tells us what makes a good brandy.

What does the term “brandy” include? 
Brandy is the umbrella term for spirits produced from distilling wine. This includes, for example, German Weinbrand, Spanish brandy, and Armagnac and cognac from France.

How do you recognize a good brandy?
There isn’t a single definition; it’s always a matter of personal taste. And, of course, aging is important. With cognac, for example, there is the category VS where the brandy is aged up to two years. This is followed by VSOP with an at least four-year aging period and the top category is XO brandy, which has to age for at least ten years in an oak barrel.

At 1,400 euros per bottle, Torres del Mamut is one of the most expensive brandies in the world. How do you explain a price like that?
It’s aged for over 30 years in oak barrels, is produced from a grape of very high quality, the Parellada grape. And there are only a few barrels of it. But don’t worry: You can find very good brandy at stores for between 25 and 40 euros.

What characterizes German Weinbrand? 
While cognac and Armagnac have to fulfill strict requirements with regard to the regions in which the brandy can be produced and what kind of grapes can be used, German Weinbrand is less rigidly regulated. It has to have an alcohol content of at least 38 percent but there are no official requirements in terms of grape varieties.

Why is brandy growing in popularity?
For a long time, brandy was overshadowed by gin and whisky. But now young people are discovering how versatile brandy is, how many different flavors there are, even if you only consider the grape varieties that form the basis of brandy. Brandy definitely has just as much potential as gin and people are becoming aware of this now.

How do you drink your brandy?
There are the classic brandy cocktails like the Side Car or Brandy Alexander, but personally I prefer to drink it neat in a snifter. That’s stylish and the brandy can release its full bouquet of aromas.


More about the hotels:

Romantik Hotel Walhalla, Osnabrück (DE)