Cognac is grape brandy named after the region in which it is made, in an around the town of Cognac in the southwest of France. Cognac is predominantly made from three types of grapes — ugni blanc, folle blanche, and colombard, with other grape varietals showing up in the mix. They are vinified into a thin wine, then distilled twice in copper pot stills to make brandy. This brandy must by law then be aged in French oak barrels for at least two years. Brandy of this minimum age can be labeled VS in quality. After four years it can be called VSOP, and after ten years (a recent extension of time), it becomes XO. Many highly prized cognacs are much older than this — and they carry some incredibly high price tags.

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Review: Remy Martin VSOP and Tercet

By Christopher Null | May 12, 2024 |

We’re backfilling some forgotten expressions in the Remy Martin Cognac lineup today, with belated reviews of Remy’s VSOP and Tercet expressions. Details follow, along with some opinions. Remy Martin VSOP – A big blend of eaux de vie from all over Cognac — Grande Champagne, Fine Champagne, and Petite Champagne. A simpler expression of brandy,…

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Review: Naud Cognac VSOP

By Christopher Null | April 24, 2024 |

If you didn’t think you’d find room for innovation and new blood in old school Cognac, look no further than the Naud family, which revived an old distillery and has been making Cognac here since 2017. The operation also produces gin and vodka in addition to its four expressions of the iconic French brandy. We…

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Review: Martingale Cognac

By Drew Beard | February 3, 2024 |

There’s a new Cognac on the market, and it’s trying very hard to appeal to a younger generation of brandy drinker. Despite the hipper approach to a very old drink, Martingale Cognac retains the pedigree of a heritage brand. It is the product of Guillaume and Amaury Thomas, fourth generation Cognac-makers whose family distillery has…

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Review: Fanny Fougerat Pineau des Charentes Le Colibri Charmant Blanc

By Christopher Null | January 27, 2024 |

If you’re still sleeping on Pineau des Charentes — essentially young wine blended with Cognac to fortify it — then it’s time to wake up. Here’s a new release from Fanny Fougerat made from ugni blanc grapes grown in Cognac and fortified with a bright, effusive brandy. The bottle is more evocative of spirits, with…

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Drinkhacker’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 23, 2023 |

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some festivities in the form of holiday revelry. Naturally, the holidays mean gift-giving time is nigh, and you’re going to want recommendations for what to wrap up and stash under the tree. As always, this year we want your gift-giving to make a statement, but we…

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Louis XIII Rare Cask

Review: Louis XIII Cognac Rare Cask 42.1

By David Tao | November 20, 2023 |

For the third time in the brand’s history, Louis XIII has released its Rare Cask expression. With an estimated $50,000 price tag, it’s Louis XIII Cognac’s most coveted and expensive expression currently on the market. This particular Rare Cask is also the first such release in over ten years, and the first from Cellar Master…

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Review: Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac

By Christopher Null | September 1, 2023 |

While we’ve regularly covered Martell‘s various special edition Cognacs, we’ve never taken a stroll with Cordon Bleu, which sits just below Martell XO on the quality and price band. It’s made with a high proportion of Borderies eaux de vie, but otherwise Martell doesn’t offer a whole lot of information about the product. We won’t…

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Review: Cognac Park VS Carte Blanche

By Christopher Null | August 5, 2023 |

Cognac Park isn’t a household name in the U.S., but its Carte Blanche release makes a strong case that maybe it should be. While it’s just a VS release, composed of 50% Fins bois and 50% Petite Champagne eaux de vie, it drinks a lot like a more refined, rounded Cognac — at least a…

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Benedicte Hardy

Cognac Misconceptions and the Challenge of Organic: An Interview with Benedicte Hardy

By David Tao | June 21, 2023 |

As Benedicte Hardy likes to tell it, when she took the helm of Hardy Cognac nearly 30 years ago, Cognac was in a very different place compared to today. There was little international education around the spirit. A post-millennium cocktail revolution had yet to break the Cognac from its perception as an after-dinner drink for…

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Review: Cognacs of Through the Grapevine, 2023 Releases

By Christopher Null | June 18, 2023 |

Independent bottling isn’t just for whiskey and rum, La Maison & Velier is bringing the idea to fine brandies from Cognac, all bottled under the Through the Grapevine label. Each of the six Cognacs in this line are designed to showcase smaller producers, a few of which I’ve never even heard of before. We received…

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