Spirits & Wine

St Agnes XO Brandy

St Agnes, Australia’s original brandy has released two luxury brands, the XO Imperial 20 Year Old and XO Grand Reserve 40 Year Old.

St Agnes Brandy
St Agnes Brandy

The St Agnes XOs were officially released on 8 August which coincides with third generation winemaker and distiller Tom Angove’s birthday, and the brand’s 90th anniversary.

St Agnes Distillery was established in 1910 along the quiet banks of the River Murray in Renmark, South Australia. In 1925, after travelling to Cognac, Carl Angove decided to create a new style of Australian brandy, lighter and more delicate.

St Agnes Brandy
Improved Japanese Cocktail

At a tasting event held at The Swinging Cat in Sydney, guests were served the Improved Japanese Cocktail originally created by Jerry Thomas made up of brandy, orgeat, lemon juice and Peychaud Bitters. Jason Crawley of The Drink Cabinet gave a brief history of Brandy and Cognac, highlighting the abundance cocktails that were made with these spirits before the impact of Phylloxera in Europe led to spirit substitution.

Richard Angove introduced the brand and led a tasting of the St Agnes range starting with St Agnes XO 15 Year Old, St Agnes XO Imperial 20 Year Old and St Agnes XO Grand Reserve 40 Year Old.

St Agnes Brandy
St Agnes Brandy Tasting

Light orange on colour, St Agnes XO 15 Year Old (40% ABV) has oaky aromas with vanilla and fruity sweetness. The palate has bold fruit notes upfront, with quince, marmalade and orange peel that lead on to a long and warming finish that has hint of nuttiness.

St Agnes XO Imperial 20 Year Old (40% ABV) is deep amber in colour with aromas of ripe fruit, toffee apples, caramel, apricots and almonds. The palate is luscious and fresh, with less oak than the XO 15 yo, and a balance that makes for fine sipping. The finish is very long, sweet and elegant.

St Agnes XO Grand Reserve 40 Year Old (43% ABV) is dark amber in colour, with aromas of vanilla, cocoa, dried fruits, orange and hazelnuts. The palate is earthy, chewy and complex with hints of almonds, prunes, raisins and tobacco. Only 500 bottles were released, and this brandy expression would appeal to avid collectors.

St Agnes Brandy
1925 Cognac

At the conclusion of the tasting, the Angove family shared a bottle of a rare 1925 Cognac that was brought back to Australia from France by Carl Angove.

St Agnes XO 15 Year Old is available at a RRP $100, St Agnes XO Imperial 20 Year Old at RRP $200, and St Agnes XO Grand Reserve 40 Year Old has a RRP $785.

Next… Is brandy making a comeback?

Lead Photo Credit: St Agnes Distillery, used with permission.


This article is posted on Gourmantic.com - All rights reserved - Copyright © 2018.

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.