Established in 1270 in France, Cognac Frapin is a single-family estate that continues to produce a range of spirits in the Grande Champagne area. The distillery turns out a wide selection of brandies, including vintage-dated varieties. Today we look at two of the operation’s expressions — a mainline VSOP and a rarer XO.
Cognac Frapin VSOP – Clearly young based on the punchy, alcohol-laden nose. Doughy and quite winey, it otherwise offers a fairly gentle and indistinct raisin aroma. The palate’s on the rough side, tough with grape skins and cotton balls, though the finish brightens things up with a slight note of incense and a hint of cocoa. This is a rather simple and harmless VSOP, but you’ll find better offerings on the market in this price band. 80 proof. B- / $50 [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]
Cognac Frapin Chateau Fontpinot XO – Made exclusively from grapes harvested, distilled, aged, and bottled at Frapin’s Chateau Fontpinot. Restrained on the nose, with a slight camphor note, the brandy slowly opens up to reveal notes of raisin, butterscotch, dried flowers, and incense, though filtered through a slight layer of bitterness. The palate has a fairly traditional composition, with notes of fresh caramel, toasted coconut, and an ample chocolate character. It’s all filtered through a charred, almost ashy note which smolders well into the finish, though here notes of tea leaf and vanilla caramel pop back up. On the fade-out, a hint of greenness — indicating that this could benefit further from some more time in the barrel — remains on the tongue. 82 proof. B+ / $140 [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]