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New2Whiskey
01-24-2008, 06:40
I am quite new to enjoying anything but vodka. I'm building a home bar and have purchased Rum, Tequila, Vodka, Whiskey and just recently Cognac.

Which brings me to this question: I purchased an XO Extra old Cognac after some research online. Well...my initial 'nosing' was it was just like my scotch whiskey. Is it suppose to be this way? Will my nose eventually be trained to distinguish the differences?

nydistiller
01-24-2008, 06:59
Your nose will get better with time. The only thing that whisky and cognac have in common is that they are aged in barrels. Whisky in your case is made from malted barley. Cognac is made from grapes. One other thing scotch and cognac share is distillation in pot stills.

Vange
01-24-2008, 08:18
VERY different spirits IMO. Cognacs tend to be smoother especially the older they get. If you try them side my side you'll taste differences immediately.

Gillman
01-24-2008, 10:12
I agree with Vange, they don't taste the same, but in two important ways a real whisk(e)y and Cognac are alike.

First, they are both distilled at a notably low proof, somewhere around 140 give or take 10 points or so either way. This means they contain the secondary (to ethanol) constituents of fermentation which give added flavor to the drinks. Just recently I tasted Sea Wynde, an all-pot still rum which Doug has in his great liquors cabinet. There was a clear connection to the pot still element of Woodford Reserve (bourbon) and the pot still taste of a number of malt whiskies and brandies I've had.

Second, well-matured whiskies and brandies pick up a lot of wood from the barrel, and despite the different kinds of wood used for aging, the nose of a whisky, and sometimes the taste, will resemble to a degree those of a Cognac or other brandy.

That Beam Black from 30 years ago Doug has could pass for an aged rum, and again it is because of resemblances amongst drinks in the woods used to age them and their congeneric character from being distilled at a low proof.

Gary

barturtle
01-24-2008, 11:12
I agree with Gary, though I think they may be even more closely related than he supposes.

First both are fermented, converting sugars to ethanol by the action of yeast.

Let's say both are fermented until they reach 10% ABV or 20 proof.

Then they are distilled

To make math easy, we'll say until they reach 150 proof or 75% ABV

That means 3/4 of the resultant liquid comes from the action of the yeast and the remaining 1/4 comes from the original liquid.

These are then diluted to be placed in barrels.

I'll use 100 proof or 50% ABV as the entry proof to make math easy.
(okay, maybe easy..I think you have to add 1 part water to reduce 2 parts 150 proof...look up in dilution calc...yes I'm right..okay on we go)

So now we have something that is by volume:
1/3 water
1/2 alcohol
1/6 original liquid.

Now I forget the exact number, but lets say that on average 60% of the flavor of distilled/aged spirits is from the barrel. That means that less than 7% of the original flavorings remain after all this.

This is undoubtedly a gross simplification...but gives something to think about.

Gillman
01-24-2008, 11:54
Well put, Timothy.

Gary

OscarV
01-24-2008, 12:19
When it comes to cognac I am totally ignorant.
I have had some brandy, but only a few pours years and years ago. At the time it seemed to hot.
But I have been wanting to try some good cognac and determine for myself what it is all about.
I respect opinions about bourbons by most SB.com members, so I will ask, what would you suggest that I should go to a store and lay down some hard earned Dead Presidents for what cognacs?

Sorry if I am to far off topic.

TomH
01-24-2008, 18:18
Has anyone else tasted St. George's Single Malt? To me it tastes like a cross between cognac and scotch (which doesn't work for me).

Tom

Vange
01-30-2008, 14:10
Oscar, my opinion is to try the cognacs from houses that dont use many additives like some of the big boys do. I tend to go for XOs and up. Obviously more $$ though.

COGNAC
Delamain (awesome stuff!)
Maison Surrenne
HINE (this is a relatively big brand, but I find it very good)
Daniel Boujou (havent tried yet, but great reviews)
Leopold Gourmel
Tesseron (awesome stuff, the 1929 is unreal!!!)

BRANDY
Germain Robin (made in US, very good stuff!)

OFF THE BEATEN PATH (Greek brandy, a bit sweeter than other brandy and cognac due to the moscato wine they mix in)

METAXA (id go 7 star or above)

Vange
01-30-2008, 14:10
Ok, that was probably overkill.

If I had to pick one, I'd go with Delamain or Tesseron.

OscarV
01-30-2008, 14:41
Ok, that was probably overkill.

If I had to pick one, I'd go with Delamain or Tesseron.

OK, I'm doing it.
I will be checking out some from your previous post to.
Thanks.

jburlowski
01-30-2008, 15:48
I'd second the vote for Hine.

Megawatt
01-30-2008, 18:49
Hine Rare VSOP is fantastic, compared to the other big-name VSOPs. Simply splendid.

Frodo
02-01-2008, 02:47
Hine Rare VSOP is fantastic, compared to the other big-name VSOPs. Simply splendid.

Actually I quite liked this one myself. Quite floral, easy to drink. Significantly more expressive than Remy VSOP at a comparable price.

Vange
02-01-2008, 11:47
Add Ferrand to that list too of fine cognac houses

mitchshrader
03-04-2008, 10:03
if you want the most concentrated cognac that i know of, the 'pure uncut' stuff, Daniel Bouju Brut De Fut Royale is all about intensity.

It is as much a spoiler as any other cask strength liquor, 120 proof and 15 years in the wood. If you like it, everything else seems watered down and pale.

I can sip coffee and alternate tiny tastes of it, and every tiny drop explodes with raisen, plum, fresh cut cedar, sandlewood, GRABBING my attention.

Don't plan on doing anything ELSE while drinking it, it's deserving of your fullest attention. One of the rare liquors of which i'd strongly recommend you do NOT smoke, or mix with other entertainments. Like anything exceptional, it requires some concentration to fully appreciate.

Considering the strength, age, and cost, Daniel Bouju Brut De Fut is the most taste for the least money I've encountered, period. And that's comparing it to the Saz 18 I 'dusty bottled' for 60$.. :)

Megawatt
03-04-2008, 11:15
if you want the most concentrated cognac that i know of, the 'pure uncut' stuff, Daniel Bouju Brut De Fut Royale is all about intensity.

It is as much a spoiler as any other cask strength liquor, 120 proof and 15 years in the wood. If you like it, everything else seems watered down and pale.

I can sip coffee and alternate tiny tastes of it, and every tiny drop explodes with raisen, plum, fresh cut cedar, sandlewood, GRABBING my attention.

Don't plan on doing anything ELSE while drinking it, it's deserving of your fullest attention. One of the rare liquors of which i'd strongly recommend you do NOT smoke, or mix with other entertainments. Like anything exceptional, it requires some concentration to fully appreciate.

Considering the strength, age, and cost, Daniel Bouju Brut De Fut is the most taste for the least money I've encountered, period. And that's comparing it to the Saz 18 I 'dusty bottled' for 60$.. :)

Expensive?

mitchshrader
03-04-2008, 14:45
it runs me about 70$ per bottle delivered. It can't be found most places nor shipped to quite a few, whatever you must do to get it is justified once you taste it.

Delamain, quite a nice brand, is as most cognac 80 proof. It's totally unfair to compare the two, the cask strength is *nearly* overwhelming. 4 drop sips, about like a hummingbird.

I went through a bottle in 10 months, and don't know if that's fast or slow. I bought more, I'll buy more, I weep in advance for the day there's no more..

fwiw, the 40 year old 50%ABV is about $175 delivered. Both are easily worth double their price. I'm a cheapskate, and that's not an exaggeration.

wintermute
03-18-2008, 07:32
A brandy that I drink instead of cognac (cognac is too overpriced) is Asbach-Uralt. It'll give you the taste for less price.

number7
04-18-2008, 16:08
Another French spirit to try is Armagnac. It's similar to Cognac, except the still looks like the bastard child of a column still and pot still.

Armagnac is made in the Armagnac region of France (makes sense).

Personally, I prefer it to Cognac.

But I have some Pierre Ferrand and some Josephine Cognacs.

(Nice to be posting; been like a year or so since my last time....)

wadewood
04-18-2008, 17:15
Add Ferrand to that list too of fine cognac houses

I was recently in a liquor store this week and the US National Sales Director, Guilaume Lamy, from Ferrand was there. He was with the Texas middleman, Republic, selling the owner of this store on his product. I spoke with him and kindly offered me taste of both their 10 and 20 year old Cognac. The 20 was superb. I enjoyed both and will buy a bottle to have in my bar.

Vange
04-22-2008, 12:59
it runs me about 70$ per bottle delivered. It can't be found most places nor shipped to quite a few, whatever you must do to get it is justified once you taste it.

Delamain, quite a nice brand, is as most cognac 80 proof. It's totally unfair to compare the two, the cask strength is *nearly* overwhelming. 4 drop sips, about like a hummingbird.

I went through a bottle in 10 months, and don't know if that's fast or slow. I bought more, I'll buy more, I weep in advance for the day there's no more..

fwiw, the 40 year old 50%ABV is about $175 delivered. Both are easily worth double their price. I'm a cheapskate, and that's not an exaggeration.

I am having trouble tracking down the 40 year old brut du fut. Where do you get it for $175? Thanks in advance. I sent you a PM in case you don't see this.