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Archive for the ‘Cognac Review’ Category

#12 Camus Extra Elegance (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 13, 2015

CAMUS is the last of the major Cognac Houses that is entirely family run, and the House has been that way for five generations. Cyril Camus who represents the fifth generation of the Camus family currently remains in sole control of the company which currently has employees on three continents, and they are responsible for sales of cognac in almost every country of the world.

CAMUS Elegance Extra

CAMUS Elegance Extra

CAMUS Extra Elegance is a blend of eaux-de-vie produced primarily from the Borderies, Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne regions. The eaux-de-vie which make up the blend are all subject to a long aging process in cool, damp cellars which is said to allow the final blended Extra Elegance to reach its full quality.

Here is a link to my review of the #12 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#12 – Camus Extra Elegance

“… The  initial nose brings forward a rich melding of butterscotch, oak and fresh fruit which smells truly delicious. Fine oak spices, green grapes and hints of butterscotch, maple and apricot brandy tease the breezes above the glass along with bits of vanilla, orange peel spice and nutty almond. As the glass breathes, the oak pushes forward bringing smells of freshly sanded oak and hints of white pepper and spicy sap upward into the air above the glass …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirit

Posted in Awards, Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Cognac Review, Extras | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

#29 Pierre Ferrand Cigare (Grande Champagne Cognac)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 26, 2015

Pierre Ferrand uses only small (25-hectoliter) copper pot stills to produce their Cognac; and after distillation, the resulting distillate (eaux de vie) is matured in 270-liter French Limousin oak barrels. During this aging process, the cognac may rest in any of seven different aging cellars (each with traditional earthen floors). Within each of these cellars, the spirit is monitored, and may be transferred several times during its aging life to different cellars and/or to different oak casks (with differing char levels) to maintain the integrity and character of the spirit.

2729_PF Cigare HD (1125x1500)Pierre Ferrand Cigare was produced in very small quantities, created solely from aged eaux de vie produced within the 1st Cru de Cognac, specifically the Grande Champagne Cognac appellation of France. In producing the Cigare Cognac, the aim was to structure the final spirit such that it would be suitable for pairing with a fine Cigar, hence the name Pierre Ferrand Cigare. Although the final spirit has no age statement, according to the information provided to me, the Cognac is blended to achieve an average age of 25 years.

Here is a link to the review of the #29 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown of the best spirits I have ever tasted.

#29 – Pierre Ferrand Cigare

“… The aroma is oak stained and decadent with dark dry fruit (dates, raisins and prunes), charred coconut, and roasted walnuts all rising into the breezes. I am also greeted with strong oak and cedar smells which carry a rich combination of leather and spice (hints of spicy clove mixed with allspice, and cinnamon and nutmeg) in their wake. As the glass sits, chocolate and caramel scents seem to drift into the breezes …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#45 Hennessy X.O (Extra Old) Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 10, 2015

Jas Hennessy & Co., is the largest Cognac producer in the world today with sales that exceed 45 million bottles per year. The company was founded in 1765 by Richard Hennessy who was an Irish Officer in the army of Louis XV. Hennessy XO Cognac traces its development back to 1870 when Maurice Hennessy created a special cognac for him to share with his closest friends. This cognac meant for his ‘inner circle’ was given the name X.O to denote it as an “extra old” cognac. This X.O designation has become a labeling standard used throughout the industry, and today denotes an older Cognac style which must meet a minimum age requirement of 6 years for all of the eaux de vie within  its assemblage.

Hennessy XO SAMHennessy X.O Cognac is produced from the fruity Ugni Blanc grapes which have been harvested from the four great crus of the Cognac region (Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Fins Bois). The grape wine produced is double distilled upon Hennessy Distillery’s copper pot stills, and then selected eaux-de-vie is set down to age in french oak casks.

Here is a link to the review of the #45 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#45 – Hennessy X.O (Extra Old) Cognac

“… The oak did not diminish; however other scents and smells began to climb up into the breezes to greet me. I notice thick fudgey chocolate, Christmas fruitcake, dark baking spices such as allspice, vanilla, cinnamon and clove, as well as rich dark brown sugar, and roasted walnuts …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#51 Pierre Ferrand Selection Des Anges

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 4, 2015

Pierre Ferrand uses only small (25-hectoliter) copper pot stills to produce their Cognac; and after distillation, the resulting distillate (eaux de vie) is matured in 270-liter French Limousin oak barrels. During this aging process, the cognac may rest in any of seven different aging cellars (each with traditional earthen floors). Within each of these cellars, the spirit is monitored, and may be transferred several times during its aging life to different cellars and/or to different oak casks (with differing char levels) to maintain the integrity and character of the spirit.

Pierre Ferrand Selection des Anges (599x800)Pierre Ferrand Selection Des Anges is blended solely from aged eaux de vie produced within the 1st Cru de Cognac, specifically the Grande Champagne Cognac appellation of France. Although the final spirit has no age statement, according to the information provided to me, the Cognac is blended to achieve an average age of 30 years.

Here is a link to the review of the #51 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#51 – Pierre Ferrand Selection Des Anges

“… The immediate nose surprised me with an alluring smell of fresh green grapes accented with butterscotch and honey. I was expecting oak and leather to dominate the breezes, and it was a little exciting to be greeted with this much fresh fruit. As the glass breathes, the oak and leather smells do come forward, melding into the grape and honey while pouring out fine wood spices …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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# 62 Camus XO Borderies

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 24, 2015

CAMUS is the last of the major Cognac Houses that is entirely family run, and the House has been that way for five generations. Cyril Camus who represents the fifth generation of the Camus family currently remains in sole control of the company which currently has employees on three continents, and they are responsible for sales of cognac in almost every country of the world.

The construction of the CAMUS XO Borderies begins at the home of Camus within the Borderies cru (the smallest appellation in the Cognac region) with a selection of grapes which are produced mainly from the vines of the Domaines CAMUS Estate. The wine produced from these grapes is distilled on the lees after which the eaux-de-vie is set down to age in French oak barrels.

BORDERIES XO 70CLThe ages of the various XO Borderies eaux-de-vie which make up the blend must be (by law) a minimum of six years of age, although to achieve the desired flavour profile, it would not be unusual for some of the specific Cognac in the blend to be aged much longer, in fact some of the Cognac for the CAMUS XO Borderies may be aged as for long as 30 years.

Here is a link to the review of the #62 spirit in my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#62 – Camus XO Borderies

“… The nose is rich with the both the fresh scents of green and yellow fruit and some dryer scents of raisins and dates. The fruit forward aroma is supported by fine oak spices and a light marzipan-like nuttiness which each building softly as the glass sits. Herbal scents of camphor, sweetgrass, menthol and spring willow accent the aroma …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Cognac Review, Extras | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on # 62 Camus XO Borderies

# 95 Camus XO Elegance (Cognac)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 21, 2015

Camus is the last of the major Cognac Houses that is entirely family run, and the House has been run that way for five generations. The construction of their Camus XO Elegance begins with a selection of different styles of eaux de vie in an effort to create a specific floral character suitable for the final Cognac. Specifically mentioned upon the Camus website are the eaux de vie from the Borderies Vineyards which are included in the blend.The distilled spirit is aged in cool damp cellars until the eau de vie reach perfect maturity.

CAM ELEGANCE XO 70CL_WHITE BACKGROUNDAlthough the distilled spirits which make up the Elegance blend must be aged for a minimum of six years, according to Richard Bush, the Area Manager (US Travel Retail, Canada and the Caribbean) for Camus Wines & Spirits, some of the eaux de vie in the Elegance XO blend has been matured for as long as 30 years.

Here is a link to my review of the #95 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#95 – Camus XO Elegance

“… The cognac leads out with oak spices (orange peel, ginger and cardamom) and candied fruit (oranges and apricots and raisins). Vanilla and almond flavours lie underneath with perhaps some dabs of honey. I really like how the sweetness mingles with the hotter oak spices giving the cognac a fresh almost flamboyant character. Some woody tannins pucker the mouth but again the candied sweetness acts beautifully to counterbalance. …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Cognac Review, Extras | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on # 95 Camus XO Elegance (Cognac)

Review: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 14, 2015

SAM_0801 Oh Mai Mai

Heretic Cocktail

Cognac Ferrand is the result of a rare opportunity offered to a young man (Alexandre Gabriel) in 1989 by one of the oldest wine growing families in the Cognac region of France. According to Mr. Gabriel:

” I met a small Cognac producer who needed help selling his products to finish off his stock. This was Cognac Ferrand. I fell in love with the product and with the region. It all reminded me of what I grew up around. So when I was invited to become a partner and told that no one was going to continue if I didn’t, I just said….yes.”

Although that beginning may have seemed rather precarious to those on the outside, Alexandre Gabriel plunged headlong into the task of rebuilding what he described to me as:

“A run down business with no distribution network, with no real sales, good stocks but no organized production”

Alexandre Gabriel made the most of his opportunity, and now that run down business with no distribution network is s a well-respected producer with sales in more than 40 countries world-wide.

For Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac, Mr. Gabriel collected old bottles of cognac that were bottled at a young age and designed his Cognac based upon a particular bottle from 1840 thus replicating a style of cognac which had heretofore been lost to time.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac

“… I received enticing aromas of wood spices which gave me impressions of freshly sanded oak and sandalwood. Hints of cinnamon stained the oak spices; butterscotch and honey gave the breezes a hint of sweetness; and a fruity citrus zest  contributed to an effervescent quality which was apparent in the air …”

Because, some of my friends believe it is sacrilegious to mix brandy or cognac in bar drinks and cocktails, I decided to call my recommended cocktail which features both the 1840 Cognac and a well aged brandy, the Heretic. (And for the record, it is a thoroughly delicious cocktail!)

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Review: Courvoisier Cognac (VS)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 8, 2015

Baby Doll

Courvoisier Cognac VS & the Baby Doll

We can trace the origins of Courvoisier Cognac to 1809 when Emmanuel Courvoisier began a small wine and spirits company with the Mayor of Bercy, Louis Gallois in the French suburb of Bercy (Paris, France). The company and its Cognac was soon to achieve fame as in 1811, Napoleon Bonaparte visited Bercy, and it is said, that after visiting this small suburb, Napoleon insisted that he wanted to have available a ration of cognac for his artillery companies during the Napoleonic Wars. And in fact, later (in 1869) Napoleon’s heir, Napoleon III stated a preference for Courvoisier and also bestowed the honourable title of “Official Supplier to the Imperial Court” to the company, and this title remains on display at the Courvoisier Museum in Jarnac, France today.

To produce their cognac, Courvoisier utilizes eaux-de-vie from four of the crus in the Cognac appellation, Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Fin Bois. The grape juice from which the cognac is distilled is produced solely from white grapes which have been grown within these appellations. The spirit is distilled twice upon a copper Charentes Still, and the resulting eaux de vie is aged in barrels hand-made from 200-year old oak sourced from the Tronçais Forest in France.

You may read my full review of Courvoisier Cognac VS  by clicking on the following link:

Review: Courvoisier Cognac (VS)

“… As I allowed the glass to sit for a while, the wooded sap-like scents of cedar seemed to dissipate and were replaced by light baking spice aromas (brown sugar, vanilla, allspice, cinnamon, and clove) reminding me a bit of the scents and smells from a glass of aged Demerara rum. There are indications of tobacco and toasted walnut rising into the breezes as well a few hints of chocolate and a touch of cola … “

Please enjoy my review which includes as my suggested recipe for the Courvoisier VS, the Baby Doll.

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Review: CAMUS VSOP Elegance

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 21, 2015

CAMUSCAMus ELEGANCE VS 70CL is the last of the major Cognac Houses that is entirely family run, and the House has been that way for five generations. Cyril Camus who represents the fifth generation of the Camus family currently remains in sole control of the company which currently has employees on three separate continents responsible for sales of cognac in almost every country of the world.

The CAMUS VS Elegance is the introductory spirit of the CAMUS Range. Its construction begins with a selection of eaux-de-vie made from wines distilled without lees. Of particular note on the CAMUS website is a reference to the aromas of the wine and the flavors of the Charente terroir, characterized by delicate fruity and floral notes which are particularly important for the CAMUS VS Elegance blend.

French Presbyterian

French Presbyterian

The ages of the varies blended Cognac in the VS Elegance must be (by law) a minimum of two years of age, although to maintain a consistent flavour profile from year to year, it would not be unusual for some of the specific Cognac in the blend to be aged longer.

You may read my full review here:

Review: CAMUS VSOP Elegance

“… The merry little breezes above the glass bring a very nicely fruited mixture of green grape and apricot brandy into the air which are both melded nicely into rising scents of fine oak spice and light butterscotch. There is a gentle floral sweetness in the breezes represented by indications of rose petals, garden lilies and lightly perfumed iris …”

Please enjoy my review of the Camus VS Elegance which includes my suggested mixed drink recipe, the French Presbyterian Cocktail.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Review: Hennessy Very Special Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 14, 2015

Hennessy V.S.Hennessy Cognac is produced from the fruity Ugni Blanc grape picked from one of the four great crus of the Cognac region (Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Fins Bois). The grape wine produced from the Ugni Blanc harvest is (of course) double distilled upon Hennessy’s own copper Charentes Stills, and then selected eaux-de-vie is set down to age for several years in french oak casks which have constructed from old growth oak timbers.

In 1865, Maurice Hennessy, the great-grandson of the original founder, devised a cognac classification system based upon varying numbers of stars which defined the quality of the bottled spirit. Again the classification devised by Hennessy was later adopted by the entire industry. Today, Hennessy’s Three Star Cognac, is now known as Hennessy Very Special (VS).

Blood Orange Bitters SAM_1369

Blood Orange Bitters

You may read my full review here:

Review: Hennessy Very Special Cognac

” … I allowed the glass to breath for a few minutes and was pleased by the melding of aromas that resulted. The oak, the caramel toffee and the fruit all coexist harmoniously with no particular element outshining any other. I notice some new smells of rich vanilla and honeycomb rising into the air; as well, some nutty smells of almond and walnut are wafting in the breezes as well …”

I hope you enjoy this review which concludes with a very nice cocktail which I found on the Jas Hennessy & Co. website, Blood Orange Bitters. It is as tasty as it sounds!

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