Considered to be a premier alcoholic beverage, Cognac is enjoyed world-wide by a variety of tastes. In order to earn the name of Cognac however, this brandy must meet strict requirements.
Cognac is produced from 90% Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard grapes and must be aged in Limousin oak casks for a minimum of two years. These, and many other specifics to the processes make Cognac a prestigious drink among the liquors of the world. But not all Cognacs can receive the label of excellence, even with its unique guidelines.
This favored drink of CEO’s, politicians and musical names remains the exclusive drink of the wealthy, elite and sophisticated class though many brands can be found under 75$ that still reflect the richness of the land from which they are produced.
Equally important when selecting a brand of cognac is understanding the ratings that are provided for each.
For example, the primary rating is given to age, in years and is as follows:
Every manufactured has generated their own unique label for this elite blend including such names as premier or special. Other aspects considered by cognac lovers include are the smell upon first opening a bottle, taste of unique blends, smoothness and aftertaste. It has been noted such flavors as critics, floral blends, honey, almonds and even chocolate and many of these liquor delicate make excellent desert companions.
Experts agree that Cognac Park Borderies Single Vineyard is a quality cognac for the price, making it the fifth best in the world. This bottle can be found for 55$ in most areas selling fine liquor. The creators, Scotsman Dominic Park and Master Distiller of Tessendier have been producing Cognac since 1880. Upon opening, consumers will find themselves locked in the aromas of creamy vanilla and a floral scent blend. Upon first drink these flavors enrich the palate and include a slight hint of plum pudding, making this an excellent combination for delicate pastries.
Coming in fourth is another excellent cognac to be paired with premier chocolates such as truffles. Hardy V.S.O.P Organic was born from the Englishman Anthony Hardy and celebrates its fifth generation family owned and operated with Benedict Hardy at the helm of productions. This floral Cognac is priced around 60$ per bottle. This organic Brandy is light in texture and taste, with hints of orange blossom, citrus and vanilla blends. Lovers of this brand claim a warm taste on the palate with splashes of floral. Most recent to the addition is the Hardy’s Traditional Collection which consists of VS, VSOP, VSOP Organic, XO and a bottle of XO rare.
Remy Martin is an often song of brand, established in 1724 and continues to push the limits of the Cognac industry. Alongside its time-honored traditions in the creation of its cognac brand, the company has made history by being the first to have a woman as cellar master and currently employs the youngest master in history. The flavors of its product offer drinkers a blend of plum, toffee and fig as well as spice, butterscotch and even chocolate giving it a creamier finish. Remy Martin is celebrate both on the rocks as an excellent complement to dinner or mixed with blending flavors of fruit in cocktails.
Hennessy Privilege VSOP has a rich history as well as taste. The original distillery for this brand was opened in 1765 by Richard Hennessy who was commissioned by the King George IV to create him a special blend of cognac. The VSOP label was added to imply “Very Special Old Pal honor of George’s request. This blend provides the palate with a combination of oak, fruits and cinnamon danced with a mixture of vanilla, honey, apple and spice for a warm, welcoming taste. For those with delicate palates this presents a daring combination of strength and smoothness. Hennessey Privilege runs at around 65$ a bottle. The newly designed bottle is reminiscent of the original 1954 collection and was created by automobile designer Chris Bangle. This is another cognac that is excellent stand alone or blended into a variety of cocktails as an excellent addition for the elite nightlife.
Our top Cognac spot is held by Pierre Ferrand Reserve and is considered to be the elite in taste while still dabbling on reasonable price at 73$ a bottle. Founder Pierre Ferrand, who specializes in such Grande Champagnes is fairly new to the business of premier liquor. Though still young, the company uses only the most traditional and pain-staking techniques for creating its brand and is well-known for its quality. Reviews state that this brand of cognac has been known to be aged up to 20 years, making it the premier of its trade. Tasters can expect a pleasurable experience of apply, honey, cinnamon blended with orange, chocolate and almonds when sipping this eloquent liquor. Though each taste is distinct, some blends are also reminiscent of sure aromas as acacia tree blossom, cedar and meadow flowers.
Several runner ups to this top five list that still deserve some spotlight include:
Camus Borderies Cognac VSOP with its smooth flavor heavy on fruits, honey, apple and spices for a more summer taste. These are considered to be one of the most popular cognac brands because of its family history, traditions and the soil of their land rich for grape growing yet still only runs at around 50$ a bottle.
Also for consideration is Gautier Cognac VSOP, a distillery dating back to the 17th century. This cognac is produced using a blend of four grapes that hail from the top cognac regions of France and carries the aroma of vanilla with a hint of fruit. In the end, the decision on which cognac is the preferred will come down to a combination of preferred aromas, palate tastes and pricing as well as availability.