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: Hennessy Cognac VS and XO

By Christopher Null | March 19, 2023 |

  We’ve reviewed countless special editions from iconic Cognac producer Hennessy over the years, but its core line has strangely eluded our pen. Today we begin to rectify that with a look at two stalwarts of Hennessy’s core line: VS and XO. Both are 80 proof. Hennessy VS Cognac – The entry level Hennessy is…

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Review: Ferrand 10 Generations Cognac Port Cask Year of the Rabbit

By Christopher Null | February 1, 2023 |

The Year of the Rabbit officially began on January 22, and to mark the occasion our friends at Maison Ferrand have put together a special edition of Ferrand’s 10 Generations Cognac bottling. This one — which features a dramatic, red label — undergoes a second round of aging in Port wine casks (for an undetermined…

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Review: Remy Martin XO Cognac

By Christopher Null | December 14, 2022 |

We’re way behind on reviewing the standard edition expressions of Cognac from Remy Martin, but today we take a step toward remedying that with a look at the iconic Remy Martin XO, once of the most widely available and consumed XO brandies on the market. As Cognac goes, it’s about as harmless and straightforward as…

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Drinkhacker’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 24, 2022 |

When they said Covid was over, we didn’t think we’d be summarily dropped into a new financial crisis to replace the one we just got out of. The good news is that the holidays have arrived just in time to provide a welcome (if brief) break from yet another year of chaos. At Drinkhacker, we…

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Review: Cognacs of Drouet – VSOP, XO Ulysee, Fine Melina, and Muscat Cask Finish

By Drew Beard | October 29, 2022 |

Drouet is a Cognac producer that traces its history back to 1848. Revitalized by the present, 4th generation, they use sustainable agriculture practices across their 40 hectares of vines located in both the Grande Champagne (70%) and Petite Champagne (30%) crus to create an impressively broad portfolio of traditional expressions and unique “craft” Cognacs. We…

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Review: Ferrand Renegade Barrel No. 3

By Christopher Null | July 13, 2022 |

Cognac Ferrand launched its Renegade Barrel collection — in which its brandies were finished in various types of different casks — back in 2018. This edition, #3, is our first encounter with the line. It begins with vintage 2011 Ferrand Premier Cru Cognac and finishes the brandy in Plantation 1996 Jamaica HJC rum casks (which…

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Review: Sazerac de Forge “Finest Original” Cognac

By Christopher Null | July 9, 2022 |

The Sazerac Company — best known as the parent of Buffalo Trace — has immense spirits holdings globally. Among them is a namesake Cognac, Sazerac de Forge. This is a relaunch of an old brand, and there’s some history to wade through, should you be so inclined. So here goes: Previously available exclusively at Sazerac…

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Review: Branson Cognac, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | June 1, 2022 |

Branson (along with Le Chemin du Roi Champagne) is part of the Sire Spirits brand, which is famously owned by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. Branson Cognac is available in four expressions, all of which we received for review. Ready to get started? All are 80 proof. Branson Cognac Phantom – Essentially a VS bottling, this…

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Review: Merlet Cognac VS and VSOP

By Christopher Null | May 21, 2022 |

We’ve reviewed some of Merlet’s premium Cognac expressions in the past, but never its two most affordable bottlings, the VS and VSOP expressions. Today, we rectify that. Both are 80 proof. Merlet Cognac VS – Eaux-de-vie mostly from Fins Bois crus, but also from Bons Bois and a little bit of Petite Champagne in the…

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Review: Jean-Luc Pasquet L’Organic 04 and 10 Cognac

By Christopher Null | April 10, 2022 |

We recently covered Jean-Luc Pasquet’s L’Organic 07 Cognac — and now we’re back with two additional expressions, both also organic, and made from 100% ugni blanc grapes grown in Grande Champagne. The difference, as you might have sussed out, is age: L’Organic 04 is at least 4 years old, while L’Organic 10 is a decade…

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