E&J XO Extra Smooth

xoI seem to be semi-lucky when it comes to contests on twitter.  Out of the three I’ve entered, I’ve won two.  The first one I won signed books by one of my favorite authors.  In the second, I won a swag pack from E & J Brandy.  I haven’t received it in the mail yet, so I can’t tell you exactly what I won.  Anyway, in celebration of my win I decided to break open the 50ml of their XO Extra Smooth that’s been sitting on my shelf and do a taste and review.

Now I had tasted this flavor before, sort of.  DJ Charlie was teaching me about what different alcohols taste like, in his quest to get me to drink something beside just vodka all the time.  So I got a taste, and I’m talking a few drops, before we moved to the next alcohol.  It didn’t make me want to wash my mouth out, which is good, but not nearly enough to determine whether I would want finish a shot or mix it into a cocktail.

So first of course is smell, a bit like musty caramel.  I’m not a connoisseur but I’m figuring the musty smell is actually the distilled wine that brandy is, because that’s how most wines smell to me.  I’m not a fan of wine.  The earthy bitterness that I find with most of them, I can suffer through for public appearances but my money isn’t going that way.  So I’m slightly worried but the caramel smell is rich and promises the whole experience won’t be horrible.

The initial taste is warm, spicy warm, although I’m not sure if it’s cinnamon or some kind of mix.  Next is a fruity taste, you want say grape because yeah distilled wine but it’s more full that that, like the nice mingled remains a fruit salad. The caramel smell has translated into a nice “rich” flavor.  It’s not cloyingly candy sweet, more top of cream brulee’ maybe even a flan caramel.

For 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume) you would expect a good amount of alcohol burn. But surprisingly there isn’t much of anything I would call alcohol burn.  Oh you feel it going down and spreading across your chest but it’s more a decently intense warmth, not the liquid hell fire I’ve experienced with other 80 proof alcohols.  When they said extra smooth they mean it.

As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a straight alcohol drinker. I would have zero problem just having a good measure of this as a night cap on a semi-regular basis.  But seriously I have a desire to pour this over ice cream.


(Can’t decide if I want this on dessert or as dessert)