The Georgian winery Askaneli already had operations in the late 19th century, but the actual production of wine and wine distillates began in 1998. Askaneli is one of the few Georgian wine producers who also own distillation facilities. Indeed, their distillates are the most widely available together with another producer, Sarajishvili, especially in Eastern European countries.
Askaneli 5 is a rare brandy in the sense that it is bottled stronger than the 36-40% normally used. Today, however, stores also show the same product at 40% strength, so it may just be a vintage that was bottled stronger.
Askaneli 5 is the oldest brandy made by the winery, using only the house’s own distillates. The older brother 8 is also blended with distillates made in France. The company’s second brand series, VS / VSOP / XO, is also a blend of its own and French-made distillates. Askaneli 5 costs about 10 € in a 50cl bottle in Estonia.
The nose is sharp and dry. Slightly dried fruit, a hint of leather and a little spiciness. The taste is slightly sweet, lightly fruity but very sharp. The alcohol content of 42% is quite high in the young distillate and the burn is in line with it. Askaneli 5 is one of the few brandies that tastes better with a little added water. The taste goes smoother, a bit sweeter, but the aromas remain very unchanged, even slightly strengthened. There is also more spiciness, subtle nuances of cloves and cinnamon. Brandy’s dark color is probably a bit reinforced with caramel color, but it and the added sugar have been used quite sparingly. Askaneli 5 is a well balanced and tasty brandy, especially with a small addition of water, and offers more than most VS-class cognacs. While the price is also very affordable, it can definitely be recommended especially if you are not yet familiar with Georgian brandys.