Metaxa Private Reserve brandy (40% ABV) summary
Technically not a brandy, this enigmatic, mercurial Greek delicacy is as smooth an experience as you can have with a fruit juice based spirit. Leathery, oily even, on the tongue, the Metaxa Private Reserve is full of indulgent dark chocolate, honey and fresh orange.
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Where is Metaxa Private Reserve brandy made?
Greece is a country of stunning natural beauty characterised by a tapestry of mythology, culture and history which weaves and meshes together in such a fashion that it is sometimes hard to figure out where fantasy ends and reality begins.
The legend of Metaxa is that of Spyros Metaxa, a man with a taste for the finer things in life, born into a family of silk merchants. Spyros was a frequent traveller and, like any sensible traveller, he sampled spirits from across the continent, concluding that they were far too harsh.
In 1888, Spyros took matters into his own hands, founding a brandy company in his family name with the intention of creating a smoother, more aromatic spirit.
Construction of a distillery began immediately with the building conveniently situated in the Athenean port of Piraeus. The choice location helped Metaxa quickly begin exporting his brandy throughout the Mediterranean.
Is Metaxa actually a brandy?
Right, cards on the table time. Ok – sure – Metaxa isn’t strictly brandy, it is a ‘spirit drink’. But when you hear hoofbeats you think horse, not zebra. Given that Metaxa is as unique as they come, they don’t have a master distiller, nor a master blender. There is merely a Metaxa master, a man by the name of Constantinos Raptis, only the fifth Metaxa master in history.
Where Metaxa differs from brandy is that it doesn’t contain just fruit juice distillate. Metaxa distils locally sourced grapes and selects the finest Muscat wines, ageing them separately in oak casks before blending them at a later date along with a carefully curated selection of Mediterranean botanicals. It is a complex process but the ends undoubtedly justify the means.
The Metaxa Private Reserve was Constantinos Raptis’ first creation as Metaxa master. Once a year the aficionado selects casks which have reached the peak of their maturity and blends the distillates, some up to 30 years old, in a small batch. Year in, year out, Constantinos keeps getting this blend spot on, it truly is the pinnacle of the distillery’s output.
How is Metaxa Private Reserve to drink?
You know exactly what you’re in for as soon as you get a whiff of the Metaxa Private Reserve, as burnt oak wafts a gentle plume of dark chocolate orange and roasted coffee. The palate is silkily smooth but with a distinct, leathery, even oily texture to the smoothness upon which dark fruits, cocoa and fresh orange are spread, bound together with caramel and honey.
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This review was last updated in September 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.