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Review: Cornelius Applejack—Batch No. 46, Bottle 271

Cornelius Applejack sounds a bit like a nutty professor, the kind of guy who tries to make a time-machine from a busted up Oldsmobile.  Well professor, you’ve done it; this is a time machine.  Applejack is a classic American spirit, a crude liquor made from hard cider—often in the old days it was concentrated by freezing the cider and tossing out the water that froze.  A classic antifogmatic, for guys work worked hard.  Like that George Washington guy.  Georgie boy drank Laird’s applejack, which is still made today, but is a far different product from what lurks in my glass.  Laird’s nowadays is fortified with neutral grain spirits.  It’s cheap, tasty, but it’s made to be cheap.  The good people of Harvest Spirits in Valatie, New York do what those guys in Jersey haven’t; they’ve refined a good tradition.  Cornelius is closer to calvados, the French apple brandy, as it’s triple distilled to a cleaner finish.  Then again Harvest Spirits have been able to overcome my problem with calvados–its cloying sweetness.  Perhaps this has something to do with the barrel aging, but the end result here is very interesting—sweet, hot and slightly tart.  There’s no way to place this flavor other than apple, like green apple Laffy Taffy fermented, and yet there’s so much more than that. It comes in waves, sweet, than tangy and tart, finally leaving your tongue cool and aching for more.  This applejack may not use traditional methods, but it certainly makes a fine product.  Cornelius Applejack takes the spirit out of the 18th century and into the sophisticated world— a product that is distinctly rural America, and yet has grown up with the nation into a modern spirit for a modern society.Image

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