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Renee Collins
09-17-2009, 09:07 AM
I don't drink, but I'd need to know what it tastes like and smells like.

Thanks! :)

alleycat
09-17-2009, 09:26 AM
Brandy is distilled wine, with a much higher alcohol content (there are various types). That might at least help you get the idea of what brandy tastes like.

I'm stumbling on how to describe the taste to someone else.

Here's an attempt to describe it to a non-drinker.

Slightly sweet, an intensity of aroma (I know it's a bad analogy, but something like a vanish), with a bit of "heat" as you drink it. Does that help at all?. I know that's an awkward way to describe it.

Mumut
09-17-2009, 03:23 PM
I don't drink but if it was that important, I'd buy a miniature of some really good stuff and smell it and place the smallest amount on my tongue - probably wash my mouth out afterwards. It's the only way to really know you're describing it correctly.

Sirius
09-17-2009, 03:27 PM
Brandy is distilled wine, with a much higher alcohol content (there are various types). That might at least help you get the idea of what brandy tastes like.

I'm stumbling on how to describe the taste to someone else.

Here's an attempt to describe it to a non-drinker.

Slightly sweet, an intensity of aroma (I know it's a bad analogy, but something like a vanish), with a bit of "heat" as you drink it. Does that help at all?. I know that's an awkward way to describe it.

How about "a smell which combines vanilla and raisins with the 'bite' of industrial alcohol"? I dislike the flavour of brandy (whisky drinker where spirits are concerned), but it smells a lot better than it tastes. Bad brandies (metaxas, fundador) smell a lot better than they taste, though this doesn't mean they smell all that good!

alleycat
09-17-2009, 03:38 PM
I often find it hard to describe a taste or smell to someone else who has never tasted whatever it is. You generally have to fall back on an analogy of some sort; and sometimes it's hard to come up with one that really works.

For example, how would you describe the actual taste of watermelon to someone? You can say it's sweet, but that just classifies what kind of taste it is. If I'm doing it, pretty soon I'm fumbling around for the right combinations of tastes. "It's like, uh, raspberry . . . but without so much raspberry flavor, more like weak raspberry with a lot of sugar . . . no, that's not right. Like bubble gum, sort of, but not artifically sweet. No . . . "

PeterL
09-17-2009, 04:58 PM
There is a huge amount of variation among the various types of brandy. The cheap stuff smells like alcohol, and it doesn't have any real flavor. All of the flavors that have been emntioned apply to some sorts of good quality brandy. Cognac has a nutty taste, and it smellss of light oils. Armagnac has a wide array of flavors, and some Armagnacs have a deep taste of old wood. You might want to get a job as a brandy taster to get the full range of flavors.

Maryn
09-17-2009, 05:03 PM
Words to know:


QUALIA

QUAY-lee-ah\, noun:
The elusive quality of what something is like which cannot be expressed except by those who have experienced it. Taste, scent, and color are typical examples. Often the trait may be difficult to convey even for those who have experienced it.

It smells like brandy. It smells rich and golden-brown and very alcoholic, like wood panelled bars with white tablecloths and good service. You can go someplace to buy a tiny one, or order one at a bar or restaurant. Smell it. Get your nose right in there, like with wine.

Good luck describing it.

Maryn, who knows she couldn't do it justice, but who'll drink it for you

DavidZahir
09-17-2009, 05:11 PM
Brandy tastes like a smooth and mild liquid flame, with a deep fruity flavor underneath.

It smells like that, too.

Sarpedon
09-17-2009, 05:12 PM
Buy some and see!

If you don't want to drink it, you can use it for cooking. It adds good flavor to virtually any sauce, baked beans, meat marinades, soups etc. Cooking with alcohol is great!

Summonere
09-17-2009, 05:49 PM
I don't drink, but I'd need to know what it tastes like and smells like.

Thanks! :)

Through the magic of Google-osity...

Very Important Link (http://www.tastings.com/spirits/brandy.html) to reviews of brandy, including, taste, appearance, odor -- you'll find them over on the right sidebar (yellow background). Here's a sampler from the V.S.O.P. Cognac reviews:



93 • Louis Royer Fine Champagne "Force 53" V.S.O.P. Cognac $49.99. (http://www.tastings.com/scout_spirits.lasso?id=187680)
Brilliant deep amber color. Soft aromas of toasted marshmallow, pudding, pepper and figs follow through on a round, vibrant entry to a fruity-yet-dry medium-full body with vanilla custard, bold sweet spices, caramel, and fruit cake notes. Finishes in a long, hot, dried fruit and cream fade with lingering heat and chalky minerality. With water it becomes rounded and more integrated with bright candied dried fruit and confectionary spices prominent. A delicious choice for vibrant fruity cocktails. (tasted on Feb-19-2009)
Also from the same site, a few minor things of interest.


Claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy." – Samuel Johnson
The word Brandy comes from the Dutch word brandewijn, ("burnt wine"), which is how the straightforward Dutch traders who introduced it to Northern Europe from Southern France and Spain in the 16th century described wine that had been "burnt," or boiled, in order to distill it.

GordonK
09-17-2009, 06:43 PM
Brandy tastes like a smooth and mild liquid flame, with a deep fruity flavor underneath.

It smells like that, too.

This. For a simple enough description, IMHO. The better the brandy, the smoother the smell and taste. And also, the flame will spread from your stomach, an awsome feeling.


Through the magic of Google-osity...

Very Important Link to reviews of brandy, including, taste, appearance, odor -- you'll find them over on the right sidebar (yellow background). Here's a sampler from the V.S.O.P. Cognac reviews:

Also from the same site, a few minor things of interest.

Yeah, tasting sites are very helpful. It also depends on how much you want to describe about it and make sure you don't go overboard.

In my WIP, I have a similar situation where I need to address the quality of a specific wine I created. I went through some tasting sites and assigned one to my wine and copied the comment to my notes. On two separate occasions two characters talked about the wine:


“Much better than last year’s. A lot better. Killer kind of fruity.” :)

“Nice wine. Tons of cherry, rose petal. Hints of charred asparagus, cedar, cocoa. Massive fruit-attack on the front-end. Some nice hints of veggie action hit across the back-side of the mid palate.” :Huh::eek:

Renee Collins
09-17-2009, 07:28 PM
Thanks all! I appreciate the help. I think I've got a what I need. It's not a huge part of the story, just a scene in which my MC has his first drink of brandy in a long time. So not vital, but I don't want to be way off.

Thanks again. :)

StephanieFox
09-17-2009, 07:38 PM
It's like caramel.

Priene
09-17-2009, 08:35 PM
It's like caramel.

Oak and caramel and exploding fire.

sommemi
09-17-2009, 09:08 PM
Thanks all! I appreciate the help. I think I've got a what I need. It's not a huge part of the story, just a scene in which my MC has his first drink of brandy in a long time. So not vital, but I don't want to be way off.

Thanks again. :)

Actually - if it's not a huge deal, the descriptions here work good, but to get used to what it's like to describe the taste of something alcoholic... I'd say a great experience is to take 5 minutes next time you go to the grocery store and actually just read the labels on the backs of wine bottles and see if you can find a more expensive brandy bottle that has a description on it. Wine bottles have the most awesome descriptions of flavors on them.... they are like mini-stories on a bottle.

Kitty27
09-17-2009, 09:29 PM
It smells like the ambrosia of the gods.


It depends on the type of brandy. The expensive kind is bracing,carrying different flavors and goes down smoothly.

The cheap kind stinks and burns your throat.

Rowan
09-18-2009, 01:48 AM
Brandy tastes like a smooth and mild liquid flame, with a deep fruity flavor underneath.

It smells like that, too.

Precisely! :)

Eriador117
09-18-2009, 12:34 PM
If you don't drink, have you tried brandy ball sweets? Or maybe they are not available in the US? They're supposed to taste like brandy but without alcohol, I think. It's been years since I tried some.

Summonere
09-18-2009, 08:21 PM
...tasting sites are very helpful. It also depends on how much you want to describe about it and make sure you don't go overboard.

Agreed.

StephanieFox
09-19-2009, 08:09 AM
If you don't drink, I'd recommend that you go to a liquor store and get a little one-serving bottle of a good brandy. The folks behind the counter can help. Open it, smell it, then pour it into the pot roast. Brandy is a great cooking liquor and adds a rich flavor to beef and lamb.

StephanieFox
09-19-2009, 08:10 AM
If you don't drink, have you tried brandy ball sweets? Or maybe they are not available in the US? They're supposed to taste like brandy but without alcohol, I think. It's been years since I tried some.


I've never seen these, but they sound wonderful.

Ruv Draba
09-19-2009, 12:57 PM
Brandy is aromatic because it contains distilled alcohol. It's fruity without being sweet, though Armagnac brandy is more floral than fruity. In colour it ranges from amber-gold to tan. It's volatile and the vapours condense on the side of the glass,and roll back down. When you drink it, the vapours go down the back of your throat and into your nose leaving a burning sensation. The burning goes down your oespohagus and sits in your stomach and spreads, which is a relaxing feeling. Traditionally, brandy has been used as a restorative because of these warming, relaxing, volatile properties. Socially brandy is often drunk undiluted at the end of a meal. It cleanses your palate and relaxes you.

Brandy has a long aftertaste perhaps because it's so potent. It's also quite dehydrating and very easy to get a hangover from.

Summonere
09-19-2009, 06:06 PM
If you don't drink, have you tried brandy ball sweets? Or maybe they are not available in the US? They're supposed to taste like brandy but without alcohol, I think. It's been years since I tried some.

These (http://germandeli.com/branweinpral.html) are available, and they taste yummy. (Oops. I noticed the "out of stock" note just now, but surely someone else presently offers such things...)