You Think You're a Spirits Geek?
How into booze are you? I mean, seriously. You're into wine and whiskey, yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it. But are you into Sherry? Because if you're not into Sherry then you're really not as big of a geek as you might think you are. If there's one thing that makes you a "geek" it's the adoption of an interest usually reserved for the old men of previous generations. Whisky used to be such an interest, but now it's so popular it's completely lost that association. Sherry, on the other hand, is still an interest that is far too esoteric and confusing to ever attract mainstream support. There have been attempts to popularize it, to proselytize people over to its merit, but it never really takes off. Sherry is, and will remain, the geekiest interest of the most geeky aficionados. Like me.
Sherry should interest you if you like single malt because that's were 80% of your flavor comes from when you're drinking something like Glenfarclas or Glendronach. Sherry completely shapes the flavor of almost any spirit aged within its vast wooden butts. Sherry can be barrel-aged like whiskey. It's made of both wine and spirit, giving it the ultimate crossover potential from wine over to spirits, or from spirits over to wine. But you already know all this. However, if you thought that simply being into sherry was geeky, you've underestimated us geeks. It's no fun being a geek if everyone else is into what you're into. You've got to remain one step ahead at all times to retain any credibility (Pappy Van Winkle? Please....that's soooo 2011).
Speaking of Pappy, if there were such a thing as the "Pappy of Sherry," it would without a doubt be the ultra-geeky, ultra-delicious sherries from Equipo Navazos -- a consortium of serious Sherry buffs and insiders that selects and blends barrels from the finest soleras for their own enjoyment. Everything from EN is expensive. Everything. That being said, everything from EN is also insanely delicious. Their "La Bota" finos are the stuff of legend amongst the initiated, but the only people willing to pay $45 for fino sherry are the most dedicated of sherry geeks. If you thought merely being into Equipo Navazos made you a "geek," however, you're totally underestimating the world of spirits geekdom.
What if someone were to take the empty Sherry barrels from EN and fill them with things like Spanish brandy or rum, creating a mature spirit from the best maturation vessels possible? Unlike a tequila aged in Pappy barrels, aging something in EN butts wouldn't be a total sales gimmick (because that would assume that anyone actually cared about sherry). The wine would still be soaked into the wood if you got the barrels fresh and, if they were first-fill barrels, there would be a huge presence of the wine's influence still left to play its part. But who would be willing to invest in that type of project? Who would be willing to go all the way, spare no expense, age these spirits, import them, and then actually try to sell the final product to the 47 people in the world who would actually care? Nic Palazzi, that's who -- the bold and daring Brooklyn-based Frenchman who has practically become an unofficial K&L employee over the years.
The Navazos-Palazzi EN-aged Spanish brandies are here! They're crazy expensive. They're crazy good. They're simply crazy. And we've got em. If you're a Glenfarclas fan, or you love that chewy Glendronach character, then these are for you. AND.....they're only $70 to $80 for half bottles, which is great because we must have fifty people in here everyday asking for esoteric Spanish brandy in half bottles for $80. In all seriousness, they're quite spectacular, but they're not for everyone. Only the most die-hard, dedicated of spirits geeks will truly appreciate what it took to make these bottles happen.
And if you're totally geeking out on rum, why not go for the $150 bottle of EN Oloroso-aged bottle? It's expensive, but again it's waaaaaay better than any other sherry-aged rum we have. It is a full bottle, at least!
Personally, I think this project by Nic is awesome and I love that Nic is only filling Spanish-distilled spirits in the casks, keeping a sense of place within the portfolio. Kudos to you, Palazzi.
Now we just need to call all 47 people who geek out for both Equipo Navazos and Spanish brandy to see if they want a bottle. Maybe they'll buy two!