To know Raj Peter Bhakta is to know a madman. The kind of fellow crazy enough to take a rich, 50-year old Armagnac brandy and finish it in an oak barrel. This stunt created a new category of spirits amid a crowded world of well-established tipples. This Bhakta Brandy isn’t cheap, however, you’re paying for both the risk he’s taken and the incredible reward he’s garnered through this experiment. Let’s see if you’re ready to drop over $300 on a bottle of Bhakta.
Bhakta Brandy’s Armagnac Origins
The foundation of the flavor profile for this brandy starts in Armagnac, France. This quaint wine region looks like a scene out of a cheesy rom-com set in wine-country Europe, designed for Americans; it’s as beautiful as you’d want a region in Europe to be. Here, the French create, among other things, a special kind of brandy, that is the ying to cognac’s yang. Meaning, cognac goes through a lot of filtration and removal of flavors whereas Armagnac requires less filtration and more flavor.
Bhakta Brandy’s Finishing Process
Once Bhakta got his hands on a small run of old casks of Armagnac, he had a decision to make. He could have finished them off in traditional brandy style, a slight filtration, bottling, and taken to a retailer. But madman Raj knew better, he then sourced 36 oak casks to finish the brandy in a manner akin to whiskey. This clever pivot produced a unique flavor profile different enough to define an entirely new category of booze.
Buying the Bhakta
Raj will jokingly say that cognac the French were happy to export, but Armagnac they kept for themselves. Whether this is some clever slogan for the purpose of marketing or the truth of the old country, we still want to give this thing a try. Of the remaining casks, this spirit’s entry point price is $375 for a 750ML bottle. So, if a brandy finished in an oak barrel sounds like something up your alley, give this bottle a go, and let us know what you think!