In mid-March, I took part in a fantastic Carlos I online tasting run by my good friend Michael Lutz. I enjoyed the event so much that I decided to buy a new bottle of Carlos I afterwards. At first I aimed for the PX or the Amontillado. But then I thought to myself: Why not up the ante and get the one bottling that I had not yet tried, namely the luxurious 130 Aniversario. Luckily, my local dealer Weinquelle Lühmann had it in stock for a decent price. So without pondering about it too much, I made my move and purchased the bottle. Looking back, I am very happy that I followed my heart in this instance. The 130 Aniversario is truly outstanding! It is composed from an exquisite selection of sherry casks that are both very well aged and very well developed. It comes with a raised alcohol strength and a heavy, custom-made decanter that is a total work of art. On paper, the 130 Aniversario ticks all the right boxes. On the shelf, it is a real eye-catcher. And in the glass, it completely lives up to its name, lore and allure! It embodies everything that makes for an out-of-the-ordinary drop. The sherry influence on the spirit is strong, promoting a complex arrangement of sweet, dark, fruity and spicy notes. Furthermore, the mouthfeel is full, rich, oily, creamy and salivating. The 130 Aniversario currently resides at the very top of the Carlos I portfolio – and rightfully so! This is a super precious, delicate and special Brandy de Jerez; it is the kind of spirit you will not forget soon, even if you only sipped it once. Salud, my friends … salud!
Eye: The pinnacle of the Carlos I range presents itself in a dark, full-hued brown with a taint of shimmering red.
Nose: A rush of creamy vanilla comes first. Then follow the spices – lots of them! I get cinnamon, clove and even a wee bit of cayenne. There is also some heavy, well-baked cake and some dark, full-toasted wood. Plus a lot of brittle that is close to being burnt and a couple of hazelnuts that got roasted in the pan for a good amount of time. From underneath, these dark and weighty aromas are joined by lighter, livelier scents: strawberry sorbet, orange zest, whipped cream, sponge fingers and caramel-infused latte.
Palate: Sumptuous, deep and oily! Despite the raised ABV, the spirit feels soft and silky on the palate. But it also has a well-defined stature. Taste-wise, the fruits fully kick in at this stage! They show themselves to me in the form of juicy blueberries, plums, brambles and blackcurrants. These flavors go along splendidly with the creamy vanilla, the roasted nuts and the charred wood. Burnt raisins are also part of the mix. And sweet licorice! When given a bit of time, the 130 Aniversario substitutes its initial juiciness for a somewhat leathery dryness.
Finish: Like the nose and the palate, the finish is also strongly (and excellently!) shaped by the sherry casks, in which the kingly 130 Aniversario was fully matured. The result is a long-lasting aftertaste that is opulent with dark berries, raisins, oranges, strawberries, honey cake and mousse au chocolate. The biting cayenne pepper also pierces through from time to time, albeit more “needle-like” than “knife-like”. This grand finale puts one helluva end to a remarkable drop!
Type: Brandy de Jerez
Region: Spain (Jerez)
Alc. volume: 45 per cent
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
# of bottles: 2,000
Price range: ~200.00 Euro
More info: https://carlosbrandy.com/ (Brand)
*** I bought the bottle as a regular customer. ***