Cognac

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

Drinkhacker’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 23, 2017 |

It’s our tenth anniversary, and our tenth holiday gift guide! After more than 5500 posts — the bulk of them product reviews — we’ve written millions of words on all things quaffable, and as always, we select the cream of the crop to highlight in our annual holiday buying guide. Consider it a “best of…

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Tasting Report: WhiskyFest San Francisco 2017

By Christopher Null | October 24, 2017 |

San Francisco’s WhiskyFest seemed as popular as ever this year, kicked off with the stampede to the Pappy Van Winkle booth that always marks the start of the show. As always, there was plenty to enjoy at this year’s event — both new expressions and classic old friends ready for tasting. Here’s a full rundown…

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Review: Merlet Cognac XO and Soeurs Cerises Cherry Brandy Liqueur

By Christopher Null | October 3, 2017 |

Two new releases from Merlet, which makes both cognac and a selection of liqueurs. Today we look at the new XO cognac release, and a brandy-based liqueur infused with cherries. Let’s dive in! Merlet Cognac XO – This XO is a multi-cru blend with components at least six years old (and likely much more). A…

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How Is Brandy Made?

By Ivan Lauer | September 12, 2017 |

“Claret is liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.” – Samuel Johnson So you understand what different kinds of whiskey are called and why, and you can name the aromatics used in gin without a second thought, but brandy is still a spirit that eludes…

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Review: Pierre Ferrand Reserve Double Cask Cognac

By Christopher Null | June 19, 2017 |

The latest from Pierre Ferrand is Reserve Double Cask — not to be confused with Pierre Ferrand Reserve Cognac — which is finished for a year in Banyuls wine casks, the fortified wine that is France’s answer to Port. Some additional detail from the distillery: Long ago, Cognac producers used a variety of casks to…

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Review: D’usse Cognac XO

By Christopher Null | June 13, 2017 |

I didn’t find much to love in D’usse’s inaugural Cognac, a VSOP, but this upscale update, an XO, has a whole lot more to recommend. All the eaux de vie in the finished product are at least 10 years old — and the black bottle is arguably even cooler than the one used for the…

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Review: Martell VS Single Distillery Cognac

By Christopher Null | May 29, 2017 |

Ready for something new in the world of Cognac? Check out this new idea from the House of Martell. Allow them to explain: The iconic House of Martell unveils Martell VS Single Distillery, a cognac from a sole distillation source, offering an exclusive new profile to the Martell family of expressions.  This innovative blend unites…

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Review: Hine Domaines Hine Bonneuil 2006 Cognac

By Christopher Null | May 11, 2017 |

Hine’s Bonneuil 2005 was a standout Cognac from 2015. Now the company is back with another expression in this series of single estate, single vintage Cognac: Bonneuil 2006. In case you missed it, these Bonneuil limited-edition releases are named after the Bonneuil Village where Domaines Hine’s 297-acre estate, located in Grande Champagne, can be found. This…

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What’s the Difference Between Cognac and Armagnac?

By Ivan Lauer | February 5, 2017 |

Even if you’ve got a pretty good handle on the world of spirits, Cognac can come across as opaque. It can be hard to tell where Cognac fits into the broader spectrum of spirits, and that’s even before you’re introduced to Armagnac, Cognac’s lesser-known sister spirit. So what are you actually getting when you buy…

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Review: Bache-Gabrielsen XO Decanter Cognac

By Christopher Null | January 26, 2017 |

Norway’s Bache-Gabrielsen has been doing some rebranding and relaunching of late. Its most recent launch is a third XO expression (not to be confused with its Classic XO or XO Fine Champagne bottlings, which are both separate products and different blends). You’ll immediately notice the difference because the XO Decanter is packaged in a squat decanter and comes…

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