I have spent the last two hours trying to find out if the brandy I like has any additives. I couldn’t find the answer. In the process, I found out that most of the cognacs that I enjoy, when I can afford them, have caramel color in them. It makes them look older, so the manufacturers can charge more money for them. Sadly, I also found out that some of my favorite single malt Scotch whiskeys have the same flaw. I am not allergic to whatever they add, but I try to live a pure life, as much as possible. I am talking about food and drink here not morality. I wish to avoid as much as possible, the introduction of any kind of chemicals made in a laboratory into my body. That includes aspirin, cocaine, caramel color, propylene glycol, high fructose corn syrup and so on. Sadly, I couldn’t find quick answers to my inquiries. On top of that, I also found that some brands of vodka have propylene glycol in them. I usually have a bottle of Polish Wodka Luksusowa in the house. I think that the purest vodka is made from potatoes and I hope this one is actually pure. I found their website and I sent them an inquiry.
Back to my Cognac or I should rather say my Brandy. Brandy is an umbrella name for many beverages of which Cognac is the most expensive. At this point I’d like to say that I am quite done with Cognac. I found a few that do not add caramel color though now I am not sure if they add anything else. Also, they are not found in my neighborhood, so I will skip them. I will contact some Armagnac distilleries and asked them those questions. I really appreciate a good Armagnac and would love to find out which ones are pure.
There might be some good news in this cesspool of additives. I am not very fond of the United States FDA nor the TTB which is controlling alcohol and tobacco sales. However, it turns out that the TTB enforces a law about straight whiskey. Straight whiskey, be it bourbon, rye or whatever, cannot contain any additives. There are quite a few really good ones out there. My research has also led me to another law, specifically the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. The parameters of this law are even stricter than the ones about straight whiskey.
To be labeled as bottled-in-bond or bonded, the liquor must be the product of one distillation season (January–June or July–December) and one distiller at one distillery. It must have been aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least four years and bottled at 100 (U.S.) proof (50% alcohol by volume). The bottled product’s label must identify the distillery where it was distilled and, if different, where it was bottled. Only spirits produced in the United States may be designated as bonded.
Among the many interesting sounding whiskeys listed there is also a Sacred Bond Brandy from the Heaven Hill Company. I will look for some very soon.