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Gautier VSOP Fine Cognac

Review: Gautier VSOP Fine Cognac    86/100  
A review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published September 19, 2017

In 1755 the Gautier family obtained a Royal Warrant and a founding charter from the King Louis XV for the purpose of making Cognac. It is probable that the family was active making brandy and cognac prior to 1755; however, the Royal Warrant and Founding Charter mark the official launch of the Maison Gautier.

The making of cognac is governed by strict rules designed to guarantee consistency of quality and character. All cognac must be produced from a specific region of France whose appellation was first set out by decree on May 1, 1909. Since 1938, this appellation has been composed of six crus: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bon Bois, and Bois a Terroir. (You can think of these crus a specific grape growing regions within the overall appellation.) The grape juice from which the cognac is distilled is produced solely from white grapes which have been grown within the appellation.

(The Maison Gautier VSOP blend is produced from eaux de vie derived from grapes grown in the Petite Champagne, Fins Bois and Bons Bois “crus”.)

Cognac is distilled twice upon a copper Charentes Still. The resulting distillate must be aged in new french oak or french oak that previously contained only Cognac eaux de vie. The minimum aging for Cognac is 2 years, and if Cognac carries an age statement, it must be the youngest cognac in the blend which is represented. The youngest Cognac eaux de vie in a blend which is VSOP  must be 4 years.

This is my review for the Maison Gautier’s VSOP Fine Cognac.

In the Bottle 5/5

The tall long-necked bottle which houses the Gauter VSOP is shown to the left. The bottle is downright sexy with seductive elegant curves. The royal blue labels with printed gold fonts look attractive and professional adding to the overall class of the presentation. The bottle is sealed with a cork closure. There is also an elegant display box available although my particular bottle did not arrive with one.

Note: Gautier VSOP is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Glass 8.5/10

When I poured the VSOP Cognac into my tulip shaped sipping glass I noticed the spirit had an inviting copper/bronze amber appearance. When I tilted and twirled my glass, the cognac left a light sheen upon the inside, the crest of which only stubbornly dropped medium-sized leglets which ambled slowly back down into the spirit below leaving trails of medium thick legs.

The breezes above the glass carried a nice aroma which represents a melding of oak spice, raisin and caramel toffee. The spiciness of the oak is firm but not assertive which appeals to me as sometimes oak can dominate a spirit to the detriment of the other aromas and flavours. I noticed that a nice herbal component in the breezes with  camphor, hints of licorice and mint and a light welling up of tobacco.

As I let the glass breathe the oak spice seemed to grow as did a light impression of caramel and treacle.

In the Mouth 51.5/60

The first sip suggested to me that this cognac, with its rich colour and heavier than usual body (for a VSOP) was somewhat more mellow than I was expecting. I found the oak and wood spices firm, but cloaked to some extent by an impression of caramel and vanilla. The fruitiness which is normally quite high in cognac was similarly restrained. There certainly is a raisin-like grape presence but I would not say that the fruit jumped out at me. The herbal nature I noted in the breezes hinted at baking spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, but also carried impressions of menthol, fresh mown alfalfa hay and clover. Again though, these impressions do not leap out at me. Everything seems wrapped in a light covering of caramel and vanilla.

I like that this cognac is somewhat more reserved than other VSOP spirits I have on my shelf. It is almost as if the spirit is destined for those days when the mood is reflective and mellow. In style this reminds me of Hine VSOP cognac, although Hine would have a much firmer herbal presence.

In the Throat 12.5/15

Gautier VSOP is a medium bodied spirit with a nice ebbing herbal flavour which highlights the exit. Some oak spice build with each sip with a cooling menthol sensation keeping the heat in check.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

A mellow reflective cognac is what I discovered as I sipped the Gautier VSOP. The flavours are restrained (although balanced) giving the cognac connoisseur something quite different from the big boys (Hennessy and Remy Martin). One advantage to the lighter nature of the Gautier offering is that in addition to being an easy sipping spirit it mixes also easily into your favourite Cognac Cocktails. (I have shown two below.)

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

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Suggested Recipes

Sidecar

1 3/4 oz  Gautier VSOP Fine Cognac
3/4 oz Curacao
3/4 oz. fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
3/8 oz. Sugar Syrup (1:1)
ice

Add all ingredients to a metal cocktail shaker filled with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Serve and Enjoy!

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

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Champs Élysées

2 oz Gautier VSOP Cognac
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1)
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Ice
Lemon Wedge

Add the first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides frost
Strain into a chilled rocks glass with ice
Garnish with a wedge of lemon

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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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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