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Camus XO Borderies

Review: Camus XO Borderies  92.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published December 16, 2014

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.

The 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.

BORDERIES XO 70CLIn the Bottle 5/5

To the left is the frosted teardrop decanter which houses the CAMUS XO Borderies Cognac. Although it is not shown, an attractive caramel coloured display box is also available in most retail locations. The presentation is elegant, and the crystal topped cork closure is the perfect complement to the bottle presentation.

In the Glass 9/10

When I poured the XO Borderies into my tulip shaped glencairn glass I saw the spirit displayed itself as an appealing copper spirit. When I tilted and twirled my glass, the liquid sheen inside was thickened, and the crest of cognac within slowly dropped some droopy leglets which formed trails of thickened spirit which ran slowly back into the Cognac at the bottom.

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, and the overall result is quite delightful.

In the Mouth 55/60

The XO Borderies fills the mouth with fruity flavours of fresh green grape, yellow apples, and green pears, as well as with flavours of raisins and dried apricots. So much obvious fruit in front of the oak in an XO Cognac is unusual. There is also firm undercurrent of herbal flavours which remind me of sawgrass, heather, licorice and green spearmint. Under all of those wonderful flavours of fruit and herbs is a supporting layer of fine oak spice and woody sap and tannin. Everything is melded nicely together, and although the fruit dominates to a small degree, a lovely sweet butterscotch serves to bind everything together nicely.

In the Throat 14/15

The Cognac leaves a trail of light spice along the tongue which glows with flavours of oak sap and cinnamon. A cool mint-like sensation tempers the spiciness and then fades into flavours of licorice and camphor.

The Afterburn  9.5/10

This is one of those spirits which seemed to be under represented by the individual scores I originally assigned to each component of the review. I think it is that lovely cooling mint-like sensation combined with the lightly spicy oak sap and cinnamon in the exit which seems to beg me to repeat the process after each sip. In fact each time after I finished a sampling session, the urge to refill my glass is quite strong. To account for this, I bumped my scores by a few points, and my final verdict is, that yes, I will indeed have another glass!

You may click this link to read some of my other Brandy and Cognac Reviews


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing spirit.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)




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