Spirit Forward: Volcan X.A, Herdade do Freixo, and Ferrand Cognac

Pick your form of pleasure.

For a good time no matter the occasion, we have you covered in this edition of Spirit Forward featuring fun spirits such as the Volcan X.A tequila, the Ferrand 1840 Original Formula cognac, and a range of Herdade do Freixo—Portuguese wines.

Ferrand 1840 Original Formula

While cognac often takes on a prestigious connotation these days, it was, once upon a time, a favoured spirit for cocktail-making. Here’s some history: in the 19th century, when the modern cocktail bar was starting out, most bartenders only had a handful of spirits to choose from when creating cocktail recipes: cognac (or brandy), gin, and whisky. Cognac formed the building blocks of many classic cocktails, including the Sidecar, the Stinger, and the French 75.

Fast forward to the present day, and you’ll find that most people prefer sipping cognac. Maison Ferrand, however, wants to bring the glory days of cognac mixers back, which is why they’ve created the Ferrand 1840 Original Formula. It’s an attempt to recreate the style of cognac used by bartenders in the 19th century, specifically a rare 1840 bottle of Pinet Castillon Cognac. The resulting cognac is rich, concentrated, and highly mixable, with notes of creme brulee and toasted vanilla pods while on the palate, the cognac is light and buttery, with fresh green grapes and a long, buttery oak vanilla finish.

Volcan de mi Tierra Volcan X.A

volcan x.a

Tequila often gets a bad rap thanks to the unwise decisions we made in our youth. As adults who now know better, it’s also time to choose better—like getting a bottle of premium Volcan X.A tequila, for instance. What makes this tequila stand out from most is its blend of three types of tequila: Reposado, Añejo, and Extra-Añejo. The first gives the tequila a good balance of sweetness and smoothness, while the second and third adds aroma and complexity. The blend is then aged in American oak barrels resulting in notes of vanilla, caramel, dried fruits, and spices. With over one decade needed to produce a bottle of the Volcan X.A, you can be sure that this tequila will banish any bad experiences you’ve ever had with tequila. Have it neat or on the rocks, but in our experience, freezing the bottle and having the spirit neat really amps up the enjoyment factor.

Herdade do Freixo

When you think of Old World wines, Portuguese wine doesn’t often come to mind first. However, it should not be slept on. We recently had the opportunity to try Portuguese winemaker Herdade do Freixo, whose winery is located in Alentejo, Portugal. Their strength is in utilising grape varieties that can adapt to the soil and climate of the vineyard. Other than that, Herdade do Freixo is also known for its unique underground construction, located 20-metres under the surface. The reason for this? It utilises gravity for a gentle and natural movement of the grapes and wine throughout the entire winemaking process. The underground location also serves to provide constant temperature throughout the year, perfect for consistent wine production with less variables.

During our time at Olivia Deli in APW Bangsar, we got to try several Herdade do Freixo wines—a standout has to be the Freixo Special Edition Rosé 2021, which only has a yearly production of 3,000 bottles. It’s so prized that there are only 30 bottles available in Malaysia. Worth checking out is also the Freixo Alvarinho White 2021, a refreshing and easy-to-drink white wine that is sweet on the palate without being too grassy. If you’re looking to splurge, however, set your sights on the Freixo Family Collection Red 2018. Aged in new French oak barrels for 14 months with an additional 14 months in the cellar before being released to buyers. It has an elegant flavour profile with depth like you can’t imagine.

Herdade do Freixo wines are available at Olivia Deli in APW Bangsar.