By Stefanie Collins, editor bars&clubs

With the Australian spirits category going from strength to strength, the original Australian brandy from St Agnes Distillery is launching into the luxury market with new XO additions to its portfolio.

While brandy might not seem like the sort of category that sees much movement, Australian brand St Agnes is used to subverting expectations. In August, the brand will launch its first foray into the rarefied world of luxury brandy, with the release of two ultra-premium XO brandies – the XO Imperial 20 Year Old, and XO Grand Reserve 40 Year Old. 

The two XOs will be officially released at the Top Shelf Festival in Melbourne on 8 August, a date significant as it marks both the birthday of third generation winemaker and distiller Tom Angove, and the brand’s 90th anniversary. The new XO brandies join the already widely popular XO 15 Year Old, a world-class brandy that has already won three Best in World trophies.

Richard Angove of St Agnes Brandy, and Tom Angove’s grandson, says the company is excited to raise and reposition Australian brandy not only in the Australian market, but the spirits market globally.

“My family has been crafting brandy for over 90 years and we’re excited to now be moving into a new territory of rare, luxury and unique goods. We have a clear purpose, and that is to do one thing brilliantly, to show the world another face of Australian produce excellence by crafting an iconic Australian spirit of world-class standard,” he says. “The team at St Agnes Distillery is exceptionally proud of these new releases. They represent a uniquely Australian take on the timeless luxury and prestige of XO, and we can’t wait to show them off.”


Angove says that the company is working hard in the on-premise sector to breathe life into the Australian brandy category.

“It is a fantastic locally made spirit that mixes really well and through double pot still distillation is a true piece of Australian craft and wine industry history,” he says. “We will be working with key on premise accounts in developing St Agnes-based cocktails and are just in the process of putting a St Agnes cocktail guide together – bringing some of the old school back like The Sazerac, The Sidecar, and St Agnes and dry ginger. These drinks are fresh and full of flavour and, when made with a good quality Australian brandy, they’re even better.”

Angove believes that what is important behind the bar is taste and flavour, and he is excited to be launching masterclasses to educate bar staff around ‘The ABC of Eaux de Vie’ – with the ABC standing for Armagnac, Brandy, and Cognac – as a way to get them talking about the history and flavours of the old school categories.

“Bartenders are very good at identifying what their customers want and making drinks that taste great, as well as convincing someone to try something new or different that they have  stumbled across,” he says. “We plan to start and finish the masterclasses with a couple of cocktails to show the mixability of brandy and get the ideas flowing.”


Originally established in 1910, the distillery has been handcrafting and ageing brandy, in the historic St Agnes Barrel Halls, every year since 1925. The St Agnes XO Imperial 20 Year Old has a nose that shows crème caramel, toffee apples, and Christmas cake with underlying chocolate, apricots and almonds. The palate is long, with characters of truffle, walnut, chocolate and poached pear.

The St Agnes XO Grand Reserve 40 Year Old is a dark amber in colour, with a nose of dried figs, hazelnut, orange candy and prunes. The aromatics continue with cocoa, vanilla cream and smoky oak from over four decades in small oak. The palate is complex, with chocolate truffles, hazelnut, prune, almond and cigar box tobacco. 

Be the first to experience the new range when it launches at the Top Shelf Festival in Melbourne on 8-9 August

For more premium bar and spirits news sign up for the Top Shelf Professional enewsletter.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *