In 1982, Hubert Germain-Robin and Ansley Coale brought an antique hand-operated still taken from an abandoned cognac distillery over to the US. Before then, there had been no craft distilleries since prohibition, 1919. They built the distillery themselves.
Hubert relied on ancestral craft distillation methods, but he also innovated by using hyper-modern vinification techniques and by distilling wines made from premium Northern California varietal grapes. Germain-Robin brandy, released in 1987, was the first modern craft-method distilled spirit to reach a national audience.
In 2012, they decided to make a great U.S. brandy available at an accessible price. They worked on Millard Fillmore U.S. brandy for more than three years. In January, 2016, they put the blend together, gave it time to marry, and bottled their first batch, 400 cases, in May, 2016.
Why Millard Fillmore? Here’s what Craft Distillers has to say about their unusual name choice. “Well, Millard is kind of like U.S. brandy. You maybe know he was the 13th president of the USA (1850-53), but you don’t know much about him, and a lot of folks don’t think very highly of him. That’s U.S. brandy, right? You don’t drink it, you don’t know much about it, and not many people think highly of it. We don’t know what we can do for Millard, but we know what we can do for U.S. brandy”.
Millard Fillmore United States Brandy (80.6 proof)
Visual: Yellow gold.
Nose: Lightly fruity and brisk. After a few moments, a wash of oak barrel colors the grape nose. Warming and autumnal in aspect.
Taste: Mellow and smooth with an almost caramel flavor.
Finish: Medium long with a brown bread finish.
Overall: The vine fruit is more reticent than I expected, but there is still a good deal of character. For an American brandy, this is a huge step up for the category. An easy go-to sipper that won’t break the bank and a notch above most U.S. VS & VSOP brandies for use in cocktails.
GSN Rating: B+
For more information go to: Craft Distillers
Filed under: Spirits & Liqueurs