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Archive for the ‘Cognac Review’ Category

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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Posted in Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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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Review: Hennessy Very Special Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 12, 2018

Jas Hennessy & Co., is reported to be the largest Cognac producer in the world today. The company was founded in 1765 by an Irish Officer in the army of Louis XV, Richard Hennessy. 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 would be called a “very superior old pale cognac”. This was apparently the genesis for the initials VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale), and these initials have become a labeling standard used throughout the industry to this day.

In 1865, Maurice Hennessy, the great-grandson of the founder, devised a cognac classification system based upon varying numbers of stars which defined the quality of the bottled spirit. Again the classification devised by Hennessy was later adopted by the entire industry. Today, Hennessy’s Three Star Cognac, is now known as Hennessy Very Special (VS).

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Hennessy Very Special Cognac

“… I allowed the glass to breath for a few minutes and was pleased by the melding of aromas that resulted. The oak, the caramel toffee and the fruit all coexist harmoniously with no particular element outshining any other. I notice some new smells of rich vanilla and honeycomb rising into the air; as well, some nutty smells of almond and walnut are wafting in the breezes as well. There are a few hints of chocolate and coffee and I must say that the aroma of the VS has surprised me with its rich character and balanced aromas …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with my cocktail recommendation, Blood Orange Bitters.

Chimo!

Posted in Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Pierre Ferrand Ambre

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 29, 2018

Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac is blended solely from aged eaux de vie produced within the 1st Cru de Cognac, specifically from the Ugni Blanc and Colombard grapes grown within the Grande Champagne Cognac appellation (region) of France. Although the final spirit has no age statement, according to Cognac Ferrand, this is because the spirit is blended to meet an age profile that represents a 10-year-old spirit. To maintain product consistency from year to year, the actual average age of the blended cognac will vary depending upon the cellar conditions during maturation and the interactions between the oak and the aging eaux de vie.

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 small 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.

You may of course, read my full review here:

Review: Pierre Ferrand Ambre (Grande Champagne Cognac)

“… I discovered the Pierre Ferrand Ambre has a wonderful freshness featuring both floral and citrus elements which reached out of that glass and teased my nostrils. Mixed into those breezes are firm impressions ripe green grapes and a gentle sweep of vanilla. I also sense an herbal grassy note, as well as a few wisps of spicy raisins, and a mild winding of sandalwood and oak …”

And for those who are willing to throw off the shackles of preconception, I have included two cocktails, the Grande Champagne Sidecar and the 1878 Mint Julep .

Cheers Everyone!

Hopefully, springtime is around the corner, and the snow and cold we see in those pictures is gone soon.

Posted in Brandy and Cognac Reviews, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Gautier VSOP Fine Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 6, 2018

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.

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

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Gautier VSOP Fine Cognac

“… 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 …”

Please enjoy my review which includes two luscious cocktail suggestions, Champs Élysées, and the Sidecar, two classic Cognac/Brandy Cocktails.

Chimo!

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