What's In David's Bar - 1/12/10
I was nursing this bottle of one my favorite local secrets because I was under the impression that it was going to be a permanent piece of history. Little did I know that Osocalis (named after the local native American name for Soquel - the town outside of Santa Cruz where the brandy is distilled) was already at work on an XO release and an exquisite apple brandy, as well as a re-up on the already legendary Rare Alembic Brandy. The straight Alembic lies on the verge of subtlety - that netherrealm where, after tasting, some people shrug their shoulders and say "eh," and others stop, focus, and sit in complete and utter awe. If you haven't been exposed to much Cognac or brandy, then the Osocalis won't blow your mind. If you've tasted the Germain Robin, Ferrand, or Pellehaut offerings, then you'll probably get why Osocalis is so cool: because this miniscule operation in the Santa Cruz mountains holds its own next to its finely-crafted, world-renowned contemporaries. I've always been told that the sign of great brandy is in the fruit - if you can still gently taste the grapes through the distillation and the barrel aging, then something is being done correctly. The Rare Alembic is neither rich, nor delicate. It's neither sweet, nor without sweetness. It balances perfectly in the middle of everything, and it does so subtly. Subtlety is the key with Osocalis and I couldn't be happier that I no longer has to wait a month between visits to my bottle. There's more to be had.