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Posts Tagged ‘Cognac’

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!

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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!

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

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 »

Cocktail Hour: Cognac Servings

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 17, 2016

If you delve into the history of Cognac, you will find that the spirit was drank in a very different manner in the 18th and 19th centuries. In fact, if you happen to enter an old bar in France you might still see blue glass bottles with handles which used to be filled with seltzer water to be used with Cognac. The grape spirit may have remained a mixing spirit had not phylloxera arrived and ravaged the European vineyards.

Because of phylloxera, Cognac all but disappeared in the 1870’s, and it remained a relatively rare spirit until the end of the 19th century. During this time, it was gradually replaced in bars and restaurants by whisk(e)y in both the United Kingdom and North America. When the vineyards recovered and Cognac became more readily available near the beginning of the 20thcentury, it had to find a new market niche to occupy. For this reason, the grape spirit came to be promoted as an after dinner sipping drink rather than as a spirit meant mixed drinks and cocktails.

Brandy Crusta (1878) SAM_1069_1

Brandy Crusta

However, if we go back to the roots of Cognac and how people originally preferred to enjoy the spirit, we find that as a cocktail spirit it has tremendous appeal. Cognac displays intense taste and aromas, great complexity, and a wonderful finish. The original bartenders knew this, and with cognac they created many classic bar drinks for their patrons. In fact, some of our favourite whisky cocktails, the Mint Julep, the Old Fashioned and the Sazerac were originally mixed with Brandy and Cognac.

The recipes I have selected below (click on the mixed drink servings to go to each recipe page) may seem heretical to today’s Cognac enthusiast; but they are all rooted in the true history of the grape spirit which was the original spirit of choice for bartenders who created mixed drinks and cocktails.

Please enjoy these cocktail servings and if you are interested in other libations, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Chimo!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Cocktail Hour: Cognac Servings

 
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