Sniffing At Spanish Brandy

A cognac (and brandy) drinker for over 40 years, I have never paid more than about $35 for a good bottle of VSOP from Hennessy, Remy Martin, Camus, or Biscuit, and I have also found quite a few really good French cognacs that still cost under $20 ("Brandies that don't speak French," Personal Business, Jan. 27).

Spanish cognacs are just not up to par and carry a slightly rough alcohol taste, similar to the French VO cognacs, but harsher. It is regrettable that you stop at Spanish, Italian, and U.S. brandies. The world is bigger, and German Weinbrands such as Asbach Uralt and many others are at least as palatable as the run-of-the-mill Spanish ones. There are also quite a few very passable Hungarian and Romanian brandies.

J. Larry Nederlof

Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

Your article concerning Spanish brandy reminded me of Winston Churchill's comment to the South African Premier, Jan Christiaan Smuts. During the war, the old field marshal presented Churchill with a bottle of South African brandy. After the first sip, Churchill politely remarked: "Most excellent, Smuts. But it isn't brandy."

Alfred J. Lurie


International Churchill Society

New York