I was shopping at my local Trader Joe's junior (shout out to Ski's Meat Market.. love you guys!) and saw a new bottle brandy old fashioned sour product. I had never previously seen the Philly's brand before. I was hesitant to purchase, as it was ~$12-14 a case (the exact price escapes me), but I've made a commitment to taste testing for the world, and I had to stick to it.
I enjoy the concept of bottled old fashioned cocktails--they make an awesome gift to those out of state, as well as being convenient for winter outings, like golfing on the ice. It is also boating season.. although I feel compelled to note, that I typically make a point to try to only consume old fashioned cocktails fall-early spring (which, TBH, is basically 9 months out of the year). Summer drinks for me are usually Prosecco, Vodka Champs, Vodka Clubs, Sangria and margaritas/daiquiris. However, I know some diehards drink BOFs year round.
My first bottle was a disaster. I didn't shake it. I can't lie. It was beyond awful that I didn't even finish the bottle. It tasted like artificial sugar mixed with cough syrup and didn't have a lot of flavor. The only good thing about it was all the bubbles it had.
In fact, it took me well over 2 months to try another bottle. This time though, I shook it too much. For when I popped off the bottle cap, it sprayed everywhere. It lost the bubbles this time, but the drink was a lot more tolerable. It is still definitely far too sugary for me, but the heavy bitters shines through. There is also a nice tang to it.
Each bottle is 12.7 FL OZ. So it averages out to about $4 a bottle, which contains 1.5 drinks (the bottle says 2, but let's be honest, this is Wisconsin). It has 8.5% alcohol.
I know what you are thinking, "If I were to pick Arty's (sour review / sweet review) or Philly's to bring to a gathering, which should it be?" Tough call. The price of Arty's has went up--noticeably. Plus they now sell only 4 small bottles for $8 in a pack. I think the flavor of Arty's is better, but I am upset that the cost has went up so significantly (it used to be 6 bottles for $8).
The real answer-- neither. I'd buy Korbel and all the fixings and make my own.