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Archive for the ‘Brandy and Cognac Reviews’ Category

Review: St-Remy XO Authentic French Brandy

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 13, 2017

St-Remy Heretic No. 2

In 1886 Paul-Emile Rémy Martin II established the original St-Rémy Distillery in the tiny village of Machecoul. After 30 years of experimentation (in 1917), St. Remy launched Fine St-Rémy, the French Brandy which came to define the St-Rémy style and character for decades to come. The distillery began to exported their French Brandy to the rest of Europe in the 1920s and then jumped the Atlantic to Canada in 1967. Within another decade, the St-Remy spirit was sold on all five major continents, and today St-Rémy proudly proclaims itself the World’s No. 1 French Brandy.

The production of St-Remy XO Authentic French Brandy begins with the selection of grapes, harvested in France’s most prestigious wine-growing regions, such as Burgundy, Champagne, Rhône Valley, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire Valley, Bordeaux and Beaujolais. Distillation takes place in both column and pot stills where the fermented wine is heated until the contained alcohol evaporates and becomes eaux-de-vie. The heart of the second distillation is carefully selected by the distiller to have the proper characteristics such that the eaux-de-vie will develop into brandy as they are matured in small French oak barrels.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: St-Remy XO Authentic French Brandy

“… When I bring my nose to the glass the breezes bring me aromas rich with oak and caramel toffee. There are firm oaky vanillans imprinted into the oak and toffee as well as hints of maple. The spirit is fruity with scents of orange marmalade, plump raisins, and impressions of Turkish Delight (red licorice) dancing in the background …”

Please enjoy my review which includes my cocktail recommendation, Heretic No. 2.

Chimo!

 

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Review: Hennessy Paradis Rare Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 18, 2016

bottle-paradisJas 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.  Fifty two years later, in 1817, Hennessy Cognac was so highly regarded that the Prince of Wales, (who later would become King George IV of Great Britain) asked the Hennessy House to produce what was termed a “very superior old pale cognac“. This was apparently the genesis for the initials V.S.O.P (Very Superior Old Pale), and these initials have become a labeling standard used throughout the industry to this day.

Hennessy’s eaux di vie spirit 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 (of course) double distilled upon copper pot stills and then set down to age.

Hennessy’s Paradis was the creation of Maurice Fillioux, the sixth generation of his family to act as chief blender for Hennessy Cognac (succeeded by his nephew Yann Fillioux) who in 1979 chose to blend eaux de vie which had been selected by his grandfather specifically because they displayed the temperament and structure which would lend themselves  a long period of maturity. The result of his efforts was Hennessy Paradis Rare Cognac which is composed of up to 100 blended eauz de vie aged for between 25 to 100 years.

Here is my review:

Review: Hennessy Paradis Rare Cognac

” … The breezes above the glass are oak stained with strong woody aromas accented by light baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg, cardamon and cinnamon) and hints of dark Demerara sugar. There is a firm underlying floral element with impressions of lilac, menthol and subtle reflections of blue iris. As the glass breathes, pipe tobacco seems to form from the aromatic constituents in the air …”

Please enjoy my review of this extra aged cognac.

Chimo!

Posted in Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Hine Antique Cognac XO

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 13, 2016

hine-antique-xoThe production of cognac is governed by strict rules designed to guarantee consistency of quality and character in the final 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 Cognac appellation.

Hine Antique XO Cognac is produced from a blend 40 Cognac spirits in the heart of France’s Cognac appellation on the banks of the River Charente. Every drop of this XO blend is distilled from grapes grown in the Grande Champagne cru. The Grand Champagne regions is the most recognizable Cognac region of France known for consistently producing high quality grape harvests. In addition, all of the eau de vie for this cognac blend have been aged a minimum of 10 years, 4 years longer than required by French law.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Hine Antique Cognac XO

“… The initial nose is perhaps a tad restrained as scents of  oak spice and vanilla mingle within a fruited caramel aroma. As the glass breathes, I begin to notice a growing herbaceous quality with camphor, menthol and cinnamon weaving themselves into the lightly sweet caramel. Fresh fruit, (apples, pears and apricots) as well as a bits of raisin unravel into the breezes above the glass as well …”

Please enjoy my review, Chimo!

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Note: Hine Antique XO Premier Cru has just released in Ontario as a Specialty Listing on the LCBO for the Christmas Season.

 

 

 

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#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

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#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

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#71 Torres Jaime I Brandy (30 year Solera)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 15, 2015

Torres Jaime I is produced in the Penedès region of Spain by Miguel Torres. This distinctive brandy is named for the founder of the House, Jaime Torres Vendrell, and is produced from old soleras which were aged from selected distilled wines. In fact, some of these soleras began their lives as distilled Pardella Wines destined for the Torres 10 Brandy, but were instead kept aside to serve as reserve stocks. To make the Torres Jaime I, these reserves were enriched with some of the House’s best soleras, the oldest of which were aged 30 years. Torres 30 Jaime I BrandyThe final piece of the puzzle (so to speak) was the addition of a small amount of aged 1972 eau-de-vie of Folle Blanche lees (which is normally used to produce high-quality pot-still brandy).

Here is a link to my review of the #71 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#71 – Torres Jaime I Brandy (30 year Solera)

“… The brandy is complex, assertive and very intense. In fact, the bouquet from the glass has the ability to fill the room when it is poured. The aroma is oak stained and very rich. Dry fruit (dates, raisins and prunes), licorice, charred coconut, and almond all rise into the breezes. Baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon) join in as does a wonderful brown sugary aroma which adds to the richness of the aroma above the glass. As I let the glass breathe, I seem to catch hints of marzipan, marmalade and a building chocolate presence …”

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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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# 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)

 
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