Founded in 1772 by Englishman Thomas Osborne Mann in El Puerto de Santa María, the firm had early and close connections with the British Consul, Sir James Duff of the famous firm of Duff Gordon, and eventually acquired it. Both firms shared the same manager, Juan Nicolas Böhl de Faber, whose daughter Cecilia would become the famous author Fernán Caballero, while Thomas Osborne married his other daughter, Aurora. The firm grew in prominence and owned many bodegas in the Campo de Guia area of the town, and the family was the prime mover in the construction of the bull ring.
The bull became the company’s logo, and as a form of promotion for their Veterano brandy, once Spain’s best seller, ninety massive bull-shaped billboards was erected near major roads throughout Spain. Due to changes in the law, they can no longer carry advertising but everybody knows what they mean. With the success of their brandies, Osborne began to diversify and acquired Anís del Mono, Rioja Montecillo, Cinco Jotas Jabugo ham, Nordés gin, Sherry soleras from Bobadilla and very old Sherry and brandy soleras formerly belonging to Domecq. They also have a huge table wine making operation near Toledo and distribute a wide range of third party products.
The company – or more correctly group – remains in family hands, and while its focus has now extended far beyond Sherry, its bodegas still contain some wonderful old soleras, some dating back to the XVIII century. The more everyday wines are all excellent examples of their type and one, the Fino Coquinero, is of a type which has largely disappeared: Fino-Amontillado, an older Fino with hints of Amontillado character giving it more depth and seriousness.
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