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Hine Bonneuil 2006 Cognac

Review: Hine Bonneuil 2006 Cognac  91/100  
A review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published October 27, 2017

Hine is one of the oldest Cognac Houses in the commune of Jarnac, (within the Cognac appellation of France of course), and Hine has produced their Cognac since 1763. For those unfamiliar with the spirit, 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 each of these crus as specific grape growing regions within the overall appellation.) The grape juice from which cognac is distilled must be produced solely from white grapes which have been grown within the overall Cognac appellation.

Hine Bonneuil 2006 is a Cognac produced from grapes of a single harvest from the Grande Champagne Cru. The spirit was drawn from 19 individual casks each limited to 450 bottles. The release is named for Bonneuil Village where Domaines Hine’s Grande Champagne estate is located.

Hine Bonneuil 2006 Cognac is currently available in Ontario through Vintages, the premium wine boutique at the LCBO.

In the Bottle 4/5

I was sent a 200ml sample bottle (see cocktail suggestion below) but was also provided with the bottle shot shown to the left of the 700ml configuration. Hine Bonneuil 2006 arrives in an attractive box. Inside that box is a medium tall bar room style cylindrical bottle which houses the Cognac. The bottle is sealed with a quality wood topped cork enclosure which is protected from drying out by a brown metal foil. The bottom labels indicates that the cognac is a Limited Edition of 19 Casks which were bottled on January 14, 2016.

In the Glass 9/10

When I poured the vintage Cognac into my tulip shaped sipping glass I noticed the spirit had a nice golden amber hue. When I tilted and twirled my glass, the cognac left a light sheen upon the inside, the crest of which slowly released some small to medium-sized droplets which ambled back down into the spirit below leaving trails of slender legs. Visually the spirit is appealing.

The breezes above the glass carried a nice melding of oak, wood spice, green grapes and raisins. Mixed in are light accents of honey, butterscotch and vanilla. As I let the cognac sit and breathe, both the oak spice and the fruit grew firmer in the breezes. I began to notice both yellow apples and pears as well as a touch of fresh citrus. Heather, licorice, and some soothing mint were hinted at, and there were floral tones as well which reminded me of iris, lavender and jasmine tea. The merry little breezes above the glass demonstrated not only complexity, but harmony as well. This is a very nice beginning!

In the Mouth 55/60

The delivery reveals a buttery texture which was not suggested by the visual appearance of the spirit. However, as the nose suggested, the cognac carries fine oak and wood spices melded into flavours of green grapes and plump raisins all of which is accented by light impressions of honey, butterscotch and vanilla. The oak is perhaps just a little firmer than I anticipated and this is a good thing as this oak presence gives the spirit an anchor from which the other finer nuances are tethered. Mint-like menthol, bits of light cinnamon, camphor, licorice and lavender all seem to be dancing within and around the oak spice giving the spirit life and vibrancy. The Cognac continues to bring new nuances forward, and I am impressed at how all of this complexity remains in balance. The subtleties within seem to accent and lift the oak and the grape character rather than diminish it.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The buttery texture give the spirit length as the cognac coats the palate and throat after the swallow. The exit showcases vanilla and baking spices (particularly cinnamon and nutmeg) with echoes of menthol and light licorice soothing the light bite of the fine oak spice.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

Hine Bonneuil 2006 is a finely nuanced Cognac which (as the breezes above the glass demonstrated) brings both complexity and harmony to the glass. While sipping the spirit, I found it continued to bring new flavours forward keeping me engaged throughout the experience. Although the grape and raisin character are firm, I would describe the dram as mellow approachable. It is an excellent spirit for both the novice and committed cognac connoisseur. For mixology, I would recommend an Old Fashioned style cocktail as shown below.

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

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Suggested Recipe

Meditrinalia

1 3/4 oz Hine Bonneuil 2006
3/8 oz Orange Curacao
1/8 oz Sugar syrup
2 dashes Fees Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
ice
Orange Peel

Place the first four ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker  begins to frost
Strain into a chilled rocks glass containing a few ice-cubes
Add a coil of orange peel

Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more 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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