View Full Version : Cognac

11-11-2003, 17:10
The following may not interest any in this forum. However, it makes an interesting overall reference to distilled spirits. This is a quote from Stuart Elliott's column on advertising in the New York Times.

"Indeed, Cognac is suddenly among the most robust categories in the distilled-spirits industry. The reason? Cognac's portrayal as an essential part of the life style of the members of the new urban, hip-hop subculture, which stimulated interest in a drink that had been perceived mainly as a mainstay of wood-paneled men's clubs or smoky jazz clubs.

11-11-2003, 17:16
Cognac's portrayal as an essential part of the life style of the members of the new urban, hip-hop subculture

Good, let them drink their cognac, more good bourbon on the shelves for me. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

11-11-2003, 17:17
Ya mean the Courvoisier-sipping "The Ladies' Man", as played by Tim Meadows of SNL, had more effect on who drinks what than does SB.com, The Bourbon Country Reader or Malt Advocate?

Or was that character reflective of a pre-existing phenomenon?

Yours truly,
Dave "Gallo's Good Enough For Me" Morefield

11-12-2003, 11:15
It is interesting though, how they were able to take a "stuffy old mans drink" and make it appeal to 20-sumthins


11-12-2003, 16:40
I worked on marketing for Martell Cognac in the early 1980s. Even then, brandy and Cognac were major categories in the urban, African-American market. For some unknown reason, Courvoisier always had the lion's share. Cognac is the drink of choice for many blues guys, most notably Buddy Guy, so it's not surprising that it would be a badge drink among rappers and hip-hoppers too. The point is, this is nothing new. Urban blacks have always been a big part of the Cognac market.

In bourbon, older black males are a big factor in the bottled-in-bond segment.

11-12-2003, 19:13
I totally agree, Chuck, but I want to add something that I read not too long ago. A more recent development is that the rappers were determined to show off their wealth. One way they chose to do so was to supply their parties with cases (and cases) of $300 per bottle cognac. Essentially, each guest got their own bottle and when it was emptied, they got another one. Conspicuous consumption.


11-13-2003, 17:23
Good God Give Buddy Guy Some!

11-13-2003, 18:57
Believe me, CL, he has had his share. I saw him live in a small club setting one time. He was knocking them back pretty good. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drinking.gif


11-13-2003, 19:42
Hmmmm. I've seen him several times in NC and have never seen him drink.

My favorite Buddy Guy story is when I saw his live show for the first time, not too long after his release of "Damn Right I've Got the Blues". The show was in the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill, NC (a local and, arguably, national institution for alternative, roots, southern rockabilly, and all other sorts of niche music).

After the opening act, I walked into the mens' room and saw an older black musician standing at a urinal, with a guitar slung over his back. An excited fan was standing at the urinal next to Buddy, screaming a few times, "G**dam*, I am p*ssing next to Buddy Guy!!!! G**dam*!". Buddy Guy took it in stride. He had a big ol grin on his face, shaking his head in laughter, completing his business, all the while laughing along with the rest of us at the fan's unusual manner in meeting the star of the show. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

11-14-2003, 17:41
Hmmm. Well, I saw him somewhat more than 15 years ago. Maybe he has changed his ways.


11-18-2003, 14:06
For me, Cognac has always been proof that blended spirits can be really good. (Making cognac is a true art form.)

However, I never really got into them due to what I perceive as a lack of distinctiveness -- probably unjust. Put three really good cognac/brandies in front of me, and I like them, but they just don't seem to taste much different from eachother.

I'm staying away from French stuff these days anyway, but have tried a few Spanish and Armenian brandies that give the french a good run for their money.

Try any Spanish Solara Gran Reserva Brandy de Jerez, and I think you might like it....


08-06-2004, 18:55
Bumping this. Anyone have beginner's recommendations for brandy. Is there such a thing as good brandy on a budget?

08-07-2004, 09:32
E&J VSOP Superior Reserve seems to be fairly good, and reasonably priced. I don't buy it that often, but need to keep the shelf stocked for the mother-in-law. Of course, she keeps gravitating toward my Courvoisier (but at least when she drinks that, its straight and in a brancy snifter).

08-07-2004, 16:32
Thanks, musher. I'd rather not blow the cash on Remy Martin VSOP right off the bat.

08-10-2004, 21:08
I think Imoya VSOP is a decent brandy from South Africa. Imoya means "spirit of Africa" and is a blend of 20, 10, 8 and 5 year old brandies made in copper pot stills then aged in small French oak barrels. The Master Distiller is a young guy named Elroy Goliah who's only in his 20's. It has a nice toasted nuttiness with dried fruit flavors.

I also highly recommend Lautrec or Gabriel & Andreu's single estate bottle featuring the Fin Bois region. These are both in the low 20's for a fifth.

08-11-2004, 01:58
Bumping this. Anyone have beginner's recommendations for brandy. Is there such a thing as good brandy on a budget?

There are some great Armagnacs around, which are cheaper and many would say better that the more popular Cognac (the US is especially keen on Cognac it would seem).

Furthermore personally I think the more challenging / complex flavour makes it more appealing to whisky drinkers.

With Armangac older is definitely better but I've had some pretty good 10YO's for around 15 in the UK.

Thing is - it aint whisky http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif



08-11-2004, 02:38
If you find yourself in the St Louis area, I have a couple of bottles of cognac that I 'inherited' that I would be more than happy to allow you to taste. One is Courvoisier VS and the other is Hennessey VS. I haven't developed a taste for cognac so I can't vouch for either as being good or bad. Binny's site prices them at 19.95 and 26.95 respectively so I wouldn't think they were too high up on the ladder. But then again, if you're in the neighborhood, I have many fine bourbons to wash them down with.... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

08-11-2004, 03:13
I agree that Armangac is often a good alternative to cognac or other brandies. Cognac has always been popular in the U.S. but the fashion started (outside France, that is) in Britain. Brandy and water, brandy and soda, brandy and ginger were staples of the U.K. drink scene until their slow decline later in the 20th century. Whisky finally took over (and then gin, vodka) but Cognac, and associated drinks such as Armangac, retain (I think) a certain affection in the U.K., particularly in the English imagination.

Armangac is single-distilled using the continuous method. The single distillation allows a lot of flavor to come through. While it is a grape brandy, the robust character of Armangac reminds me of certain feisty bourbons and ryes -what they have in common is a certain congeneric character, what the whisky writer Michael Jackson would call a "distillery character".


08-11-2004, 20:20
Armangac is single-distilled using the continuous method.

Armagnac is traditionally made in this manner, but it doesn't have to be. For example, Janneau has been double distilling in a pot still since 1972.

08-11-2004, 23:13
Yes, some Armangac, in a return to what likely was the original practice, has in recent years been pot-distilled. I was referring to the main tradition since the early 1800's. Originally all brandy in France was distilled in pots and surely twice, as in Scotland, to make the drink palatable (otherwise probably it was sweetened and flavoured with herbs to disguise the feints). At some point early in the 1800's, the then-new continuous still was adopted in Armangac. And a single run was deemed enough which is interesting because this is not done today even for bourbon, a traditional drink by any standard. These stills were small, I have seen photos of little three-section columns erected on wagons that were trundled from farm to farm to distill the excess wine of the holders into brandy. So even though the stills were steam operated they were fairly primitive. No doubt a single distillation was -and is today even with improved equipment - a characterful drink. Probably, the early continuous stills produced the same abv spirit as a two-distillation batch process (I would estimate, 60% or so). Clearly the "system of continuity" (elegant expression used by Byrn in the 1870's) proved advantageous in time and cost of energy and therefore was adopted by the Armangac producers from the early 1800's. Ironically, the drink may have been more feisty than a double distilled pot still product due to going through only once. All this to say, you are right to point out some producers have gone back to the original method.


08-12-2004, 20:11
Have you ever heard of a Verdier still? I think I have that spelled right. I went to an Armagnac seminar last year and going back through my notes recently, I ran across this note I had jotted down, "single continuous still in Armagnac is different Verdier still 1819. Coffey still erected in 1820's in Ireland." I tried to do a search on Verdier to no avail. Not sure if I spelled it right. I think I remember seminar speaker Steve Olsen saying something about even the single continuous still used in Armagnac being different, maybe something about that the vapors passing across the wine and capturing congeners differently or something.

08-12-2004, 20:14
But then again, if you're in the neighborhood, I have many fine bourbons to wash them down with.... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

Thanks, gr8erdane, I will try to remember this so I can give you a heads up if I find myself going down 'round there. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif Hopefully, I will have some scratch to make a Binny's run for something interesting that would reward you for playing host. Right now, I have very little to spend on spirits or such things. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

08-12-2004, 20:33
Tonya, I haven't heard of a Verdier, but I'll check. I have heard about Adam, an early French inventor/developer of continuous stills. Probably both influenced the new type of new still adopted in (parts of) France in the early 1800's.

As for capturing the congeners differently, the one I saw a photo of was a little three-shelf affair. Compare that to the three STORY jobs seen in modern distilleries. Clearly the ability of those old primitive systems to produce rectified liqour was limited - taste won out, but long aging was needed to tame these creatures. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif


08-12-2004, 20:56
No reward needed here, always happy for company especially those from Bourbonia. All I ask is that my guests not drain my sole bottle of Stagg. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

08-14-2004, 11:24
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drinking.gif What's that you said? Not the Stagg? *looks at bottle* Whoops.