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Gillman
03-17-2011, 18:28
I bought a brand I didn't know called Cognac Dorlan VS, it cost $34.00, the least expensive Cognac I saw on the shelves. Earlier, I had tried in a bar Martell VS based on a tip from David Wondrich in his new book on punch. I thought it was excellent and was going to buy that, but the Dorlan was less money so I bought that one.

It has a soft, balanced taste, is recognizably Cognac brandy but without that intense perfumed top-note so typical of expensive Cognac that I think comes from long storage in French wood, a taste I've never liked. (I say that because I recognize it in some French wines). You can taste some of the grape congeners, which I like - that's the distillery taste of brandy just as bourbon and rye have their own. In fact, this Cognac reminded me of a good bourbon, you could mistake it for an eccentric bourbon quite easily.

It is this kind of brandy that makes me think the theories that bourbon was devised to emulate Cognac in New Orleans may be true.

An excellent quaff without the caramelly, sometimes jammy taste most non-Cognac brandies have (other than Armagnac).

Bravo a la maison Dorlan: they are offering a taste of history, since brandies in the early years were not aged decades, but with a savoury flavour not heavy on the "perfume" often associated with Cognac. From memory, Martell VS was similar and in time I will pick up a bottle.

Gary

P.S. I know the conventional learning is that young Cognac should be mixed with water or ice or a soft drink but I found this brand very approachable on its own.

B.B. Babington
03-17-2011, 20:06
sounds interesting. I'll look for it.

I've noted a plethora of imported brandies on the shelves lately. Maybe importers trying to cash in on the flavored vodka craze by offering other flavor alternatives?

squire
03-17-2011, 20:50
More like they are trying to cash in period, times are tough and competition is high.

cowdery
03-24-2011, 01:41
A typical VS, especially from one of the major houses, will be a little rough but usually perfectly acceptable to drink neat. The conventional wisdom is mostly just positioning on the part of the marketers. They think their lines shows best if you start at the VSOP for your straight sipping.

cigarnv
03-24-2011, 03:32
Two of the best cognac bangs for the buck I have found are the Hennessy Priviledge, a VSOP, which can be found in the $40 range and the Tesseron No.90, an XO, which is in the mid $40 range.

Both are available and IMO drink well beyond their price point. The Tesseron when found on sale for $40 is IMO one of cognacs greatest bargains...

SMOWK
03-24-2011, 10:51
One of my favorite Cognac's is Chalfonte VSOP. It can be found for around $20, and it's excellent. I buy it by the case for my girlfriend, and it doesn't hang around very long. I like it, she likes it, and every other cognac drinker who has come through liked it as well. I try to avoid telling them what it costs.

squire
03-24-2011, 14:29
She likes, I like it, man that's a plus-plus.

cowdery
03-25-2011, 16:00
I always find cheap Cognacs and other brandies okay but ultimately disappointing. I'll try something, decide it's acceptable, buy it, and never finish the bottle. If you want to stay at the low end, forget Cognac and try a Spanish or Greek brandy, or for that matter, a fine American brandy. Domestics Korbel, Christian Brothers and Paul Masson are all aged in used American whiskey barrels.

On the other hand Martell Cordon Bleu, at about $100 a bottle, never disappoints.

Gillman
03-25-2011, 16:14
I would generally agree but Cognac Dorlan VS is the exception. Some will have to come to the next Gazebo...

Gary

Megawatt
03-28-2011, 19:03
Actually Dorlan VS was the first cognac I tried. I was not blown away by it but it provided a good introduction to the spirit.

If you're in the market for a good budget brandy I would say skip the cognac and get St. Remy XO. It is nicely balanced and not too sweet or cloying. Raynal XO is also good though sweeter than St. Remy.

I was watching some cooking show the other day and they had a section about brandy. As a non-scientific test they set up some tables outside a ski resort somewhere and had 100 people taste four different brandies. Three choices were cognacs over $70, including Remy Martin and Courvoisier, and the fourth was St. Remy VSOP, which goes for around $24. St. Remy got twice as many votes as the next closest contestant.

Megawatt
03-28-2011, 19:06
I was also impressed by Marnier VSOP. It is about $30 cheaper than the big names and had a nicely spiced flavour.

Gillman
03-28-2011, 19:31
Have to disagree about St. Remy XO. It's a good brandy, more like Spanish brandies than real Cognac though. Dorlan is only some $35.00 - a bargain for Cognac and I liked its smooth, pure flavours - it doesn't have heavy wood/perfume and this is exactly what I found attractive about it.

I'll have to try Manier VSOP, don't know that one.

Gary

squire
03-28-2011, 22:29
Regarding Cognac my education could use some updating.

New2Whiskey
04-08-2011, 16:27
I can't help myself but had to log in to recommend DEAU VS Cognac. Simply the finest. I'm turned on many of my friends to this one. Under $25. The aroma will tempt you to pour immediately.

I've tried 'big brands' like Pierre Ferrand also. But this cognac is simply outstanding. I can almost guarantee no one will be disappointed. You more than likely will have more than 1 pour everytime you reach for the bottle.

And never do I feel any sort of pain to splurge. At $22, its unbeatable. In fact, I have bottles in many of my friends residences and we enjoy it always.

I'm no expert with definitions and such. But give it a try. It won't break the bank. But I'm sure I'll be getting an influx of private messages with thank yous.

jasonh
05-02-2011, 16:37
The problem with blind tastings with people off the street, is that most of them don't have any sort of developed palate, especially with spirits. As a result, they will generally trend towards the cloying, simple, easy drinking spirit. Really, one shouldn't brag about being liked by noobs, that is usually pretty good reason for me to steer clear of it.

B.B. Babington
05-02-2011, 18:44
The problem with blind tastings with people off the street, is that most of them don't have any sort of developed palate...unless it's in France. those folks have refined tastes in everything, even water.

earlier, chuck mentioned Paul Masson as a viable alternative. For years that was an overlooked value with great flavor for the $$$, then it went through a spell of not as good. I've not sampled lately to see what it's like but certainly worth a look.

Shuboy
03-03-2012, 11:46
I really don't like going off topic but which spirits are Chuck NOT into? He's commented on Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, absinthe, and now cognac.

ratcheer
03-04-2012, 06:36
I like Courvoisier VSOP because of the "jammy" taste. To me, it is like drinking liquid raisins.

Tim

MarkEdwards
03-04-2012, 10:58
I like Courvoisier VSOP because of the "jammy" taste. To me, it is like drinking liquid raisins.

There's always Dr. Pepper for that. :slappin:

ratcheer
03-04-2012, 14:41
There's always Dr. Pepper for that. :slappin:

Well, I like Dr. Pepper, too.

Tim