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  1. #1

    Good Intro to Cognac

    My Dad and Brother like Cognac. I've never really been into it. I'm interested in trying some. What would be a good intro to it? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: Good Intro to Cognac

    Depends what you're willing to spend. I'm not sure what is available in your area, but I started with some cheap Dorlan VS just to get a feel for it. Then I decided to splurge on a bottle of Remy Martin VSOP. Around here, the big names like Remy, Hennesey and Courvoisier are pretty pricey. Try to find a more moderately-priced VSOP like Meukow, Camus or Gaston de Lagrange. A big-name VS might not be bad either.

  3. #3
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    Re: Good Intro to Cognac

    Quote Originally Posted by whiskeyme View Post
    My Dad and Brother like Cognac. I've never really been into it. I'm interested in trying some. What would be a good intro to it? Thanks.
    Some questions come to mind.

    Do your dad and brother have any recommendations?

    Do you live close enough to either to sample what they have?

    How much are you willing to spend?

    This is not a good time to be getting interested in cognac, what with the falling dollar. Prices are rising fast.

    There isn't much under $40 or so that I personally can recommend. I note that Paul Pacult recently gave a good review to Jacques Cardin VSOP (about $18) but I haven't tried that myself (be advised that there is also a Jacques Cardin brandy for about $10 - make sure you're buying the cognac).

    If you're willing to spend $40-50 so, I'd recommend the VSOP from Courvoisier and Remy Martin.

    However, for that price I myself would be buying Germain-Robin, a California brandy.


    Going up to the next tier, the XO from Delamain is pretty good, and may still be under $100. The XOs from both Martell and Remy Martin are also good. A few weeks ago these were going for $130-140; now it's closer to $170. The Germain-Robin "Shareholder's Reserve" is as good as these and costs $66.
    Last edited by CorvallisCracker; 04-22-2008 at 10:21.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  4. #4
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    Re: Good Intro to Cognac

    To save some money, try Asbach-Uralt - it's a German brandy that's every bit as good as most VSOPs for $35 or less.

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    Re: Good Intro to Cognac

    Quote Originally Posted by CorvallisCracker View Post
    However, for that price I myself would be buying Germain-Robin, a California brandy.
    My hotel managed to get two bottles of Germain-Robin XO. Distilled exclusively from Pinot Noir grapes, it is a real delight!


    Anyway, on to Cognac.

    Overall, my opinion of cognac brandy pretty much falls in line with my opinion of virtually ALL French wines and spirits-- a little over-rated, and a LOT over-priced.

    But, if you would like to get into cognac, it is perhaps best to buy a VS version of the bigger names, if for no other reason than to familiarize yourself with the "house style." Hennesy seems to be the fullest and fruitiest, while Remy Martin seems a little lighter, and Courvoisier displaying a little more oak. My personal favorite is Martell, which has a distinctive plum note, though it is worth noting that House Martell does use a portion of brandies distilled outside the region of Cognac.

    Aside from that, there are, of course, lesser-known houses that produce very fine spirits for a much smaller pricetag, as other forumites have already mentioned, but you probably won't have much luck finding them at the local bar. And, I'll say it again, some of the brandies from South Africa and California really are getting quite good...
    "Suppose he's got a pointed stick!?!"

    - Eric Idle, Monty Python's Flying Circus

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    Re: Good Intro to Cognac

    Quote Originally Posted by wintermute View Post
    To save some money, try Asbach-Uralt - it's a German brandy that's every bit as good as most VSOPs for $35 or less.
    Asbach is pleasant, although I find it lacks complexity. What surprised me was how much it reminded me of a light-bodied bourbon.

    Normally I don't care for VS ("Very Special"), or even many VSOPs ("Very Special Old Pale"). Something like Cordon Bleu is the cheapest cognac that will tempt me away from bourbon on occasion. Now, an XO ("eXtra Old") is something I would be happy to drink nearly any time. Here's some very quick impressions:
    Courvoisier: caramel, rich
    Hennessey: too sweet
    Martel: too thin
    Remy Martin: sharp, fruit (reminded me of a good Rye)
    My favorites were the Courvoisier and the Remy.

    Mark

    I love him whose soul squanders itself, who wants no thanks...for he always gives away and does not want to preserve himself.
    -Nietzsche


  7. #7
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    Re: Good Intro to Cognac

    Quote Originally Posted by mgilbertva View Post

    Normally I don't care for VS ("Very Special"), or even many VSOPs ("Very Special Old Pale"). Something like Cordon Bleu is the cheapest cognac that will tempt me away from bourbon on occasion. Now, an XO ("eXtra Old") is something I would be happy to drink nearly any time.
    I tend to go for the "Napolean" cognacs, myself, as they are nearly as mature as the XO's, without the fancy decanter-style bottles (not to mention the price tag that comes with them). Martell Cordon Bleu is probably my favorite, though Courvoisier Napolean is also quite excellent.

    One XO that I really like, but is rather difficult to find, is Gautier XO "Blue and Gold."

    I agree with you on your assessment of Hennessy- your assessment of Martell I will agree with, if you are referring only to the VS.
    "Suppose he's got a pointed stick!?!"

    - Eric Idle, Monty Python's Flying Circus

  8. #8
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    Re: Good Intro to Cognac

    Quote Originally Posted by mgilbertva View Post
    Asbach is pleasant, although I find it lacks complexity. What surprised me was how much it reminded me of a light-bodied bourbon.
    Exactly. I think of Asbach-Uralt as the Maker's Mark of brandy. Competently made, very reliable, but not terribly interesting.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  9. #9
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    Re: Good Intro to Cognac

    Quote Originally Posted by boss302 View Post
    Courvoisier Napolean is also quite excellent.
    I've never had it - I'll keep an eye open for some.

    Quote Originally Posted by boss302 View Post
    I agree with you on your assessment of Hennessy- your assessment of Martell I will agree with, if you are referring only to the VS.
    I was actually talking about the XO: relative to other XOs, Martell is too watered-down tasting to me.

    Louis XIII, on the other hand, is outstanding. But is it worth that crazy price? Probably not.

    Mark

    I love him whose soul squanders itself, who wants no thanks...for he always gives away and does not want to preserve himself.
    -Nietzsche


  10. #10
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    Re: Good Intro to Cognac

    Why not looking for miniatures?Most off the regular available cognacs have at least one of their brands as a miniature also.It is cheaper and you get to know your favorite cognac for the fraction of the price.Also you`re not wasting a lot of money if you don`t like the particulair bottle.On the net there are a lot of miniatures for sale.
    Eric.
    Netherlands

 

 

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