I visited Ted Huber a couple of years ago and we started tasting barrels in their warehouses at Starlight Distillery. One of the spirits I tasted was a pear brandy that had been aging for over a decade. It was fantastic. Ted said he did not think it was quite ready then and was waiting to release it. It is the last pear brandy he will produce because the change in climate has killed his pear trees. That is a real shame as it is a great brandy.
This past November he finally bottled that pear brandy. There is a limited amount and I believe it is only sold in the distillery gift shop because of the limited number of bottles. It is a beautiful bottle of 80 proof pear brandy that is like drinking a caramel poached pear. I am going to have to go back and get another bottle or two. I think that this is the best pear brandy I have tasted to date. Great flavor with a silky mouth-feel. I would have liked to have seen it at 100 proof but I understand why he chose 80 proof to bottle this brandy. He has a limited amount of brandy and he can get more bottles from an 80 proof bottling.
Starlight Pear Brandy
Age: No Age Statement but it is over ten years old.
Nose: Caramel, ripe pears and a hint of baking spices.
Taste: Ripe pears, caramel and baking spices – just a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. A little oak comes out just before the finish. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the pear taste is stronger and a creamy vanilla flavor joins the party. Tasted with a pecan the spice is almost gone but the pears are joined by a bit of berry fruit.
Finish: Medium long with a little oak and pear fruit sweetness. The cranberry enhances the dry oak and makes it a longer finish. The pecan shortens the finish and makes it very sweet and fruit forward.
The cigar I picked for this brandy is a Schrader MMXIII. This cigar was designed to pair with wine with lots of vanilla and mild tobacco flavors with only a hint of cedar spice. It was a good choice. The brandy adds some sweet caramel to the smoke and the smoke makes the brandy more caramel forward without lessening the fruit. An excellent pairing.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller