As early as next week, bottles of Tom's Foolery Applejack Batch #4 will begin arriving on shelves at area liquor stores. While the release is now an annual occurrence, this year's batch is anything but typical, says founder Tom Herbruck.
"There will be a lot more product available this year as compared to last year," he says. "This year, we released 1,347 bottles as opposed to just 480 bottles last year. As a matter of fact, batch number four is larger than all three prior batches combined."
Another key difference is the alcohol by volume (ABV), which jumped from 80 proof to 90 proof — a 12.5% increase. The price, in contrast, has risen by just one dollar per bottle to $41. Observers will also notice a new attractive embossed bottle.
What hasn't changed is the pedigree. Herbruck and his wife Lianne still craft their apple brandy in Chagrin Falls using just local apples, water and yeast. The sweet cider is cold fermented before going through a double distillation and then aging in both American oak barrels and used Cognac barrels from France. At no point is any coloring or sugar added.
The result, according to the maker, is "a depth of character that intertwines notes of ripened fruit, subtle citrus and spice within a backdrop of wood, caramel and warming alcohol."
"I can humbly say that this is the best product we have ever made, and in my opinion, is the best American-made apple brandy that I have ever tasted (and, yes, I have tasted a lot of them)," says Herbruck.
If the bottles don't pop up at your friendly local hooch supplier, you can always contact the shop and have it special ordered.
Next up for fans of Tom's Foolery is the release next summer and fall of their pot-distilled bourbon and rye, which have been filling up barrels for two years now.