I'd second the vote for Hine.
"Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."
Hine Rare VSOP is fantastic, compared to the other big-name VSOPs. Simply splendid.
Add Ferrand to that list too of fine cognac houses
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$..
it runs me about 70$ 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.
Last edited by mitchshrader; 03-04-2008 at 14:47.
A brandy that I drink instead of cognac (cognac is too overpriced) is Asbach-Uralt. It'll give you the taste for less price.
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....)