Tonight I’m reviewing a brandy for no other reason than, we’ve only reviewed a few and I didn’t want to walk all over our local liquor store. I didn’t know this until I got home and talked to Tony but this will be the second bottle we have reviewed from FishHawk Spirits. The first was a Twisted Sun Rum that Tony reviewed, he wasn’t a fan. I’m really hoping that this Marion Black 106 will be be a better experience than the rum.
The description on the bottle seems pretty interesting. It says it’s a tangerine brandy flavored with blackberries and seasoned with American Oak. The bottle cap is dipped in a black wax which was really fun to get off since there wasn’t a pull tab like other bottles have. I had to scrape around the cork with my fingernail which to be honest was frustrating but built up the anticipation a little more.
I could smell a faint soured citrus and a familiar rum scent when I poured it in my glass. I really was hoping it wasn’t going to be overly sweet. Well, it wasn’t real sweet, but with all the wax removing fun, it slipped my mind that this is 106 proof. Drinking this neat was a little much for me. Under the the strong alcohol taste there was a nice oakey citrus flavor but then shortly after the burn kicked in, and that’s when the shivers kicked in. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment because I finished the drink, and it either got a little better, or I quickly became numb to the burn.
I decided to drop some ice in the mix and that did cool the burn. As the ice melted, I could pick up more citrus and something else. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first but after a few sips, I could detect what I can only describe as winey. It might be the blackberry but to me, I think I could reproduce this if I took some rum, squeezed a sour orange in it and topped it off with a splash of red wine.
Lately, I have noticed a lot of rums coming out are being aged in Sherry Wine Casks. This is usually done to boost the aromas and to build a little more character during the aging process. I haven’t found any that I have liked because the Sherry also adds a little more sweetness to an already sugary rum. The hint of wine that I’m noticing is a little more subtle and adds a holiday spice as it slowly builds warmth and a slight dryness. Whatever FishHawk Spirits is doing, I believe this is the end result the rum makers were trying to get when aging in wine casks.
I could drink this on ice, but even after the ice melted, it’s still a little too potent to sip on for very long. I know there is a million different cocktails this bottle would make interesting, but I’m not feeling very creative right now, I just splashed some coke on it and it didn’t lose all of it’s character but it did get a little boring and a bit sweeter.
Years ago my mom would make a sangria punch whenever we had a party and she would add all kinds of stuff and finish it off with a cheap brandy. It always tasted amazing but I bet this brandy would bring it to another level, plus the 106 proof would make the party a little more interesting.