Review: Rome de Bellegarde XO Cognac
In 2018 the defunct Cognac brand Rome de Bellegarde made headlines when a shot of its brandy, produced in 1858, sold for more than $14,000, making it the most expensive shot of Cognac ever sold. Shortly thereafter, sensing an opportunity perhaps, the brand was revived by the latest generation of the Bellegarde family, and its first product was pushed to the market, an XO expression of its Cognac.
Rome de Bellegarde XO comes with some basic production data, as follows:
Delicately plucked from ripened vineyards of the grand champagne terrains, the aromatic, ugni blanc grapes are fermented, distilled twice, placed in a new cask for 3-5 years, then stored in a French oak barrel to awaken its depth and intensity. The time of aging is longer than many of its XO predecessors and can last for many decades, but the result is a 6 eaux de vie that is exceptionally smooth on the palette [sic] and can be meticulously blended to ascertain the superior quality that is desired.
We are very excited to share the release of our Exclusive Christmas Gift Box, which will be available to purchase on our Website from the 14th December. The box consists in a 100ml Cognac bottle of our XO, accompanied by a co-branded Ettinger Flask, customisable upon request.
The Ettinger flask and 100ml of RdB XO will run you £499. Only 50 were produced, but they still appear to be available on Bellegarde’s website.
We received a sample of the Cognac — though not a leather-wrapped flask — and it is also available in 700ml bottles, though you may find it challenging to obtain one. (The company mentions that it is available “exclusively on Rome de Bellegarde’s website and some of the most exclusive locations around the world.”) One thing to note: We’re not entirely who exactly makes this product, whether it’s drawn from Bellegarde’s old stock or sourced from somewhere else. You be the judge.
Nosing our sample of Rome de Bellegarde XO, it’s got all the hallmarks of old Cognac, through and through. Aromas of rich chocolate, raisins, and a dense vein of incense are all palpable, alongside a hefty layer of fresh flowers. It’s a remarkably fragrant Cognac that invites immediate tasting. And sure enough there’s a ton of fruit on the palate here, and the Cognac quickly reveals itself to be on the sweet side. As the initial sugar rush fades, some grittiness and astringency emerge, which is a bit surprising considering the age of the spirit and its focus on fruit. This blows off with time in glass, revealing more of that raisiny core, chocolate, and a reprise of incense. As the finish approaches, more savory elements emerge, including hints of coffee bean, cloves, and a lightly smoky element that feels driven by barrel char. All told, it’s a balanced Cognac that has a bit of an edge to it, and that’s not a bad thing, as it does serve to keep the experience from becoming too sweet — but do take care to note that the price listed below is not a typo.
A- / £3000 / romedebellegarde.com
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