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 2016 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | December 22, 2016 |

Our ninth year is under our belt, and that means our ninth annual installment of the Drinkhacker holiday gift guide — our “best stuff of the year awards” — is here. As always, the list gives you the lowdown on some of the best-rated products we reviewed over the last 12 months, with at least some…

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Review: Martell Blue Swift Cognac

By Christopher Null | November 15, 2016 |

Finishing Cognac is officially a thing. Hot on the heels of Bache-Gabrielsen’s new oak-finished Cognac comes this spin from major Cognac house Martell, a VSOP Cognac that is finished in previously used Kentucky bourbon casks. No word on the length of the finishing, but Martell does say this: Martell Cognac’s latest offering represents the essence…

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Review: Courvoisier VS, VSOP, and XO Cognac

By Christopher Null | October 26, 2016 |

  Courvoisier is revamping the packaging of its VS, VSOP, and XO expressions, with the VSOP getting the biggest switch, moving from its old, iconic, and unwieldy bottle design (called the Josephine) to a more stylish, modern look (see above). Changes to the VS and XO aren’t as extreme. We took the opportunity to review…

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Review: Bache-Gabrielsen American Oak Cognac

By Christopher Null | October 25, 2016 |

Bache-Gabrielsen’s Hors d’Age Cognac is a favorite around Drinkhacker HQ, and so it was with great anticipation that I met its latest release: A VS Cognac that is further finished in new American oak (officially Tennessee oak) barrels for six months. (The initial aging period in French oak isn’t noted on the label, but it is…

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Review: Chapters of Ampersand Et No. 1 Limited Edition Cognac

By Christopher Null | October 12, 2016 |

Chapters of Ampersand is a new Swedish company that wants to bring the absolute finest in Cognac to the world. This isn’t going to be inexpensive, to say the least. For its first ultra-limited expression, called Et No. 1, the company is blending three Cognacs in collaboration with Tiffon Cognac: a Grande Champagne Cognac distilled in 1974,…

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Review: Gilles Brisson Cognac VS and VSOP

By Christopher Null | July 24, 2016 |

Gilles Brisson, or just Brisson, is a Grande Champange-based producer of Cognac located in the Grande Champagne region of Châteaubernard. With just 65 hectares of production, Brisson is a relatively small producer, but it makes some impressive brandy from all estate fruit. Today we look at its two lower-level releases (a Napoleon and XO bottling are…

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Review: Pierre Croizet Cognac VS

By Christopher Null | July 22, 2016 |

This is the entry level Cognac bottling from small producer Pierre Croizet, a Fins Bois based producer. This VS (production and aging information is not available) is a soft but surprisingly well-made and focused brandy, with a nose that offers aromas of gentle fruit in the form of baked apples and golden raisins, studded with…

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Tasting Report: Hardy Cognac (with Benedicte Hardy), 2016

By Christopher Null | May 15, 2016 |

I recently had the good fortune to taste Cognac with one of its grande dames, Benedicte Hardy, one of the proprietor’s of the Cognac Hardy house in France. Benedicte recently visited San Francisco and treated a number of media and trade professionals to a deep dive into Hardy’s “Anniversary Series” lineup at the city’s legendary…

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Drinkhacker’s 2015 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | December 24, 2015 |

We at Drinkhacker have been busier than ever this year, and yet it seems impossible that it’s time for our eighth annual edition of the Drinkhacker holiday gift guide — our “best stuff of the year awards.” As always, the list comprises some of the best-rated products we looked at over the last 12 months but…

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Review: Cognac Paul Giraud – VSOP, Napoleon, and Tres Rare

By Christopher Null | October 25, 2015 |

Paul Giraud is a small Cognac producer that has been harvesting its own vineyards to make brandy since the 17th century. While not commonly available in the U.S., you can find a bottle or two of the eight expressions the company makes if you look hard enough. Today we take a spin through three expressions,…

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