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.
Top Cognac Posts:
What’s the Difference Between Cognac and Armagnac?
Bache-Gabrielsen American Oak Cognac
Courvoisier VS, VSOP, and XO Cognac
Remy Martin 1738 Accord Royal Cognac
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
I’m naturally prejudiced against anything that claims to be “so smooth” on its label, but let’s set that aside for our first foray into new Cognac brand Nyak. Nyak is the brainchild of some spirits and business royalty, including CEO of Detroit Equities, Dennis McKinley; former VP for Remy Cointreau, Patrick Charpentier; and Jerome Hyafil,…Read More
Ready for Christmas? Ready for Christmas 2023, maybe? Our long day’s journey into night may have continued unabated this year, but we’re hopeful you’ve at least found some ability to get out of the house, maybe take a trip, and reconnect with friends and family this season. Naturally, you’re still not going to be able…Read More
Meukow is the Cognac with the panther on the bottle. Or rather, in the bottle, part of the bottle. There’s more to it than that, I’m sure, but I don’t know a whole lot more about it than that — except that the house dates back to 1862. This VSOP is reportedly aged for five…Read More
Jean-Luc Pasquet produces this Cognac expression from ugni blanc grapes, grown in Grande Champagne, taking two vintages of Cognac, each at least 7 years old, and blending them together. The idea is that Pasquet can find a better sense of balance by combining the styles of two vintages. All of it is organic. Let’s…Read More
This entry level Cognac is a blend of 25% Grande Champagne/Petite Champagne eau de vie and 75% Fins Bois eau de vie. It spends just two years in small oak barrels before bottling, qualifying it as a VS expression. Let’s dive in. The nose has many of the hallmarks of young Cognac — slightly astringent…Read More
Maison Ferrand’s S.D.A. — Selection des Anges, the angels’ selection — is not a new expression, but the brand has recently retooled it, creating new packaging and upping the proof slightly from 80 to 83.6. We never reviewed the expression in its pre-Covid incarnation, but we’re digging in to a 2021 bottling all the same. It’s…Read More
Larsen’s new Aqua Ignis has a curious claim to fame: It is the first spirit in the world aged in steam-toasted barrels, specifically “triple-steamed brasero toasted barrels.” What does that mean? Instead of only toasting the barrels with open flame, they are immersed in hot water, then toasted in a brasero, causing the water to…Read More