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Cornelius Applejack

It’s been too long since my last post, but I’ve got something I’m excited about to kick off the new year: Cornelius Applejack.  Anyone who has read a few entries on this blog has no doubt encountered the fact that I am a big fan of American apple brandies and take every opportunity to try one.  So, seeing this new entry at Astor Wines a couple weeks ago made my day.

Cornelius is made by Harvest Spirits – whose Pear Brandy I’ve written about before – located in upstate New York, which also happens to produce an incredible volume of apples every year making it the perfect place to produce an apple brandy.  The last I’d checked their site, this was still not in production, but apparently I’m not the first to get my hands on it: my bottle numbered batch 2, bottle 55.  Hopefully it will live up to my excitement!


– $40ish

– 80 proof

– Made by Harvest Spirits


Though a standard 750ml, the bottle does seem heftier than most on the shelf.  This is probably a result of the cylindrical shape that narrows slightly toward the bottom.  The edges are clean and sharp and the text almost gets lost among the pale yellow/brown of the contents.  What ends up standing out most is the bottle numbering at the base as it’s the only completely opaque and sizable element.

Instead of having text on the back as most liquors do, Cornelius has a few sentences of description running down the side.  It tells us of the applejack’s namesake, a bit about the production (distilled cider, aged like bourbon), and very defiantly that there is no added grain alcohol – lest anyone think this is Laird’s Applejack.  Overall this is an attractive bottle that places a good amount of emphasis on its contents rather than showmanship.


I’m surprised how pale this is, so I think it must not have spent too much time in that charred white oak.  It does, however, smell very much like a bourbon: a dry, spicy char to the nose with a bit of dry grasses and honey in there and (of course) apple.

On tasting, it opens fairly sweet but not so much with apples; it’s more of a strawberry flavor in that first impression.  This gently melts into an oakiness with strong vanilla streak that spreads out across your entire mouth.  The finish is long for an apple brandy and medium-spicy.  Their triple distillation really comes through in the silky smoothness throughout the whole experience.

Over all:

Wow.  I was not expecting this at all.  This is a fantastic spirit, but it tastes like no other apple-based spirit I’ve ever had.  This is more like a very smooth, friendly vanilla-centric bourbon with just the right amount of spice and heat at the end to make it interesting.  I really am impressed with Cornelius.  Hopefully Astor will re-stock it soon!