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Archive for the ‘Brandy and Cognac Reviews’ Category

Review: Hine Rare VSOP

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 8, 2018

Hine Rare VSOP is produced from a blend 25 Cognac spirits in the heart of France’s Cognac appellation on the banks of the River Charente. More than 50% of this VSOP blend is distilled from grapes grown in the Grande Champagne cru and the remaining spirit is distilled from grapes produced in the Petite Champagne cru. The Grand and Petite Champagne regions are two of the most recognizable Cognac regions of France known for consistently producing high quality grape harvests.

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 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 labelled VSOP must be 4 years old.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Hine Rare VSOP

“… the initial nose is somewhat heated with scents of both raw oak spice and white pepper mingled within a fruited caramel aroma. As the glass breathes I begin to notice a growing sense of fresh fruit (peaches and apricots) as well as a few raisins in the breezes above the glass. Some bits of floral perfume seem to be present as well which remind me of camphor, lilac and iris …”

Please enjoy my review of this outstanding Cognac.

Chimo!

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Review: Courvoisier VSOP Fine Champagne Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 17, 2018

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 Bercy, Napoleon stated 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 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.

To produce their VSOP Fine Champagne Cognac, Courvoisier utilizes eaux-de-vie from only two of the crus in the Cognac appellation,the Grande Champagne,and Petite Champagne crus which are generally recognized at the two premier regions within the overall Cognac appellation. The grape juice from which the cognac is distilled is produced solely from white grapes which have been grown within these two appellations. The spirit is distilled twice upon a copper Charentes Still, and the resulting eaux de vie is aged in barrels handmade from 200-year old oak sourced from the Tronçais Forest in France.

Here is a link to my full review of the Courvoisier VSOP Fine Champagne Cognac:

Review: Courvoisier VSOP Fine Champagne Cognac

“… The initial aroma is somewhat restrained, but soon opens to reveal fine wood spices and sandalwood in front of some nice aromas of caramel and butterscotch melded into aromas of sugared green grapes and canned peaches …”

As I indicated two days ago, Cognac is a great mixing spirit, and the Courvoissier VSOP is no exception. I used my sample bottle to experiment a little and came up with a sour recipe I quite enjoyed, the Cognac Lime Sour.

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Review: CAMUS VSOP Elegance

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 24, 2018

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 separate continents responsible for sales of cognac in almost every country of the world.

The construction of the CAMUS VSOP Elegance begins with a selection of particular aromatic eaux-de-vie which are partially distilled on the lees. These include eaux-de-vie from the famous Borderies cru which are selected to strengthen the aromatic character of the VSOP Elegance as it ages. The aging barrels selected for this VSOP are medium toasted rather than lightly toasted which helps to maintain the original characteristic aromas of the eaux-de-vie.

Champs Élysées

The ages of the varies blended Cognac in the VSOP Elegance must be (by law) a minimum of four 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.

Here is a link to my review:

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. As the glass sits I sense a light herbaceous quality within the air with impressions of menthol and lemongrass …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my cocktail recommendation, Champs Élysées.

Chimo!

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Review: Courvoisier Cognac (VS)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 10, 2018

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 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.

In 1828, the company moved from Bercy into the Cognac region of France in the town of Jarnac. In 1909, the business was acquired by the Simon family (from England) but remained headquarters in the Cognac region. Today Courvoisier is owned by Beam Suntory, and its main business operations remain in the Cognac region of France, in the town of Jarnac, located on the banks of the Charente River.

Here is a link to my review of Courvoisier VS:

Review: Courvoisier Cognac (VS)

“… The initial aroma displays a combination of fine oak spice with woody cedar accents, some butterscotch toffee, hints of maple, bits of dried raisins, and some sweet sticky orange marmalade in the breezes. 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 …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with a nice cocktail suggestion, Baby Doll.

Chimo!

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Review: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 26, 2018

Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula

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 made the most of his opportunity, and now Cognac Ferrand a well-respected producer with sales in more than 40 countries world-wide.

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

The Heretic

In 1840, the appeal for Cognac was much more broadly based. Rather than being an after dinner indulgence consumed in a brandy snifter, those who consumed Cognac regularly mixed it with Seltzer water, and it was even the distilled spirit of choice for cocktails. Mr. Gabriel is convinced that bringing people back to the origins of cocktail culture through an original style cognac is a winning idea.

You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac

“… Even before I put my nose to the glass, I could sense the clean scent of fresh green grapes climbing into the air above the glass. When I did place my nose over the glass to inspect the breezes, I received enticing aromas of oak spices which gave me and impressions of freshly sanded oak  and sandalwood. Hints of cinnamon stained the oak spices …”

Of course I could not help but follow Alexandre Gabriel’s lead and constructed a somewhat heretical cocktail using not only his wonderful cognac, but also a 20-year-old brandy at the conclusion of my review.

Please enjoy the review, and my fantastic cocktail suggestion, the Heretic!

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