There are countless spirits in the world. But few, very few, can undoubtedly be considered premium spirits of international repute. Considered a noble spirit, made from grapes and aged using the fascinating dynamic system of criaderas and solera in American oak casks that have previously aged the best Sherry wines, Carlos I is a benchmark in its category.
Our brandy is created in El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz, within the Jerez region. Our cellars are located in the heart of the town, a truly magical place. The geographical area forms a microclimate regulated by the surrounding waters - the Atlantic Ocean, the Guadalete and Guadalquivir Rivers - and the prevailing easterly Levante and westerly Poniente winds. These weather conditions play a key role in the production and ageing of brandies from the Jerez area.
The production of Carlos I begins with the careful selection of the best grapes from which the wines to be distilled are made. Distillation is carried out in an artisanal, discontinuous manner, in copper stills with a capacity of 5000 litres and in 2500 litre alembic stills, all located in our own distillery. The fact that they are made of copper leads to a slower process and a lower yield. This discontinuous distillation involves separating the fractions of distillate that are of lower quality, called heads and tails, and only keeping the central part of the distillation, the heart, called holanda, which is the highest-quality component and will be the basis of Carlos I.
Only by extracting the most select holandas do we obtain the finest, most precious and delicate distillate, with the perfect aroma to fill the American oak casks in our criaderas where the brandy will slowly age.
Our cellars, with over 250 years of history, are our cathedrals. These monumental buildings were built to store the wines before they were shipped overseas and are called cathedrals because of their height, arches, and the layout of their naves. The outer walls are made of sandstone or brick, with a thickness of at least 60 centimetres, which helps to maintain the optimal temperature and humidity. This prevents variations in the winery's microclimate, which would be detrimental to the quality of the brandies. This heritage is undoubtedly our greatest asset.
Within the cathedrals, the precious liquids of Carlos I slowly age in American oak butts previously used to age the finest Amontillados and Olorosos from Jerez, known worldwide as "Sherry Casks". The average age of an Osborne butt is approximately 50 to 60 years, of which more than 20 years have been spent ageing sherry wines. Thus, the brandy is aged with the nuances and aromas provided by these precious wines, forging a unique and inimitable personality.
Art and dexterity are combined in the dynamic criaderas and solera system. The expert hand of our Master Blender Marcos Alguacil wisely blends the aged distillates from the solera, incorporating young spirits with fresh aromas from the criaderas, thus defining the personality and character of Carlos I.
This dynamic ageing favours the assemblage of the different aromatic components that develop, thus achieving an incomparable harmony of flavours.
The climate, the grapes, the wood, the winery... There are many elements responsible for the unique flavour of Carlos I.
The Atlantic west wind, humid and fresh, creates the noblest flavours, such as those of ship's wood, wet earth and toast. The dry, gusty easterly wind brings Mediterranean aromas such as orange peel, wicker, aged wine, apricot and plum.
Ageing in casks, which contained our finest Oloroso and Amontillado sherries for more than 20 years, gives Carlos I its unique flavour. The Amontillado adds finesse and almond and hazelnut flavours, while the Oloroso enriches it with nutty aromas, old oak, and greater tannins, thus achieving the bouquet, the noble and elegant flavour of our brandies.
Everything, added together and combined in perfect harmony, creates our exceptional brandy.