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What Is The Best Cognac

What Are The Types Of Cognac Available

The Best Cognac Brands in the World

When talking about what iscognac, we can refer to the different quality grades. When you purchase cognac online, make sure to reference this guide to see which are the premium cognacs, and which are just overpriced.

The different grades are as follows:

  • V.S. Very Special – Refers to a blend where the youngest brandy has been aged for a minimum of 2 years.
  • V.S.O.P. Very Superior Old Pale – Refers to a blend where the youngest brandy has been aged for at least 4 years.
  • Napoléon – This refers to a blend where the youngest brandy has been aged at least 6 years .
  • X.O. Extra Old – The youngest brandy in this blend must be at least 10 years old.
  • X.X.O. Extra Extra Old – Refers to a blend that is at least 14 years old in its youngest part.
  • Hors dâge: Beyond Age – Refers to a designation that is theoretically equal to XO, but in practice, it basically means a product that is so elite it goes beyond the official scale.

Best Armagnac: Darroze 40 Year Les Grand Assemblages

Region: Gascony, France | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Nutty, Fruit forward, Bright citrus, Endless finish

Distilled once in a simple column still and less diluted, Gasconys artisanal brandy is richer, more rustic, more texturaland less industrialthan its better-known competitor, cognac. It also often aged much longer, and as Desoblin points out, you can get something really old made in small quantities by real people who are also the farmers, for the fraction of the price of a cognac.

This 40-year-old Armagnac offers very long and intense flavors: nutty, fruity, and citrusy with a rich, seemingly everlasting finish. At less than $200 a bottle, its an amazing gift to yourself, says Desoblin, so go ahead and splurge.

Region: Jarnac Francetasting Notes: Floral Notes Of Iris And Lilac With Elegant Cedar Wood Tones

Hine Antique XO Cognac has been expertly blended with eau-de-vie from Grande Champagne. This modern liquor is already a spin-off of the original 1920 recipe, made specially by the one and only Hine. The Cognac house then made new developments to the recipe in 2010.

The sweet vanilla and ripe green fruit aromas are immediately apparent when this bottle is opened. A few seconds later, youll notice some delicate earthy tones that emphasize the sweetness and fruitiness of the blend.

It is described as a warmed-up version of an exotic Cognac with sweet and spicy notes.

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Is Cognac A Whiskey

People that purchase cognac online might not always know the difference between a cognac and a whiskey. They are both strong and brown liquids. However, cognac is not a whiskey. Whiskey does not follow any of the strict guidelines in place to be classified as a cognac. They are often drunk in the same way though.

Region: Borderies Francetasting Notes: Sweet Candied Fruits With Spices Nuts And Chocolate

10 XO Cognacs: Best Value For Money

The Camus Small Batch Port Cask Finish Cognac isn’t like any Cognac you’ll find. After all, it is a limited edition bottle. It’s unique and different in the sense that its final maturation takes place in old port casks.

This Cognac is known to be the first one to do its final maturation this way. The casks played a huge role in giving it layers of elements, such as the elegant, rich aroma that is full of complexity.

There are candied fruit and roasted almond mixed on the nose to add to the sweet yet robust aroma profile of blackberry and spiciness. On the tongue, you will recognize its dark chocolate flavor long after taking its last sip!

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Is Xo Or Vsop Better

Traditionally, the older a liqueur is, the better it is perceived to be. They are commonly smoother and deeper, with stronger flavors overall. That being said, this really all comes down to personal preference, and XO cognacs may be a bit more expensive.

Also, as we mentioned above, a VSOP bottle can still be high quality and delicious when consumed as a drink or in a meal, while also saving you that extra coin.

Region: Fins Bois Francetasting Notes: Savory Dried Fruit With Spicy Notes

The Tiffon Tres Vieille Reserve Fin Bois Cognac is deep and dark brown with heavy wood notes on the nose. This transitions to candied fruit, which has a melting factor on the mouth. The scent reveals itself to be alluring, captivating your senses for an intense level of marmalade perfume experience!

The depth of flavor in this Cognac is surprising and has a subtle complexity brought by its unique aromas that complement the vivacity found on your palate. This outstanding product gains its perfection from an extended aging process that creates decadent flavors.

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What Is The Best Affordable Cognac


Start your day with a glass of affordable cognac. Cognac is a wine made from grape skins that have been dried in the sun or in an oven. Its a dark wine with flavors of nuts, chocolate, and woodsy plants. There are many different types of cognac, but some are more affordable than others.

How To Store Cognac


Store Cognac in a cool and dry place. The temperature should be constant.

Keep the bottle away from sources of heat. The bottle should not be exposed to direct light, natural or artificial.

Avoid storing Cognac in the fridge or in the freezer. Both are too cold in temperature and risk spoiling it.

After opening it, you can keep a bottle of Cognac for several months.

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Region: Grande Champagne Francetasting Notes: Floral Mouth

The Jean Fillioux La Pouyade Cognac is the ideal embodiment of all Cognacs from the Grande Champagne cru. This could be the perfect alternative for Scotch drinkers because of its unique complexity.

Furthermore, the perfect description for this drink would be “a breath of fresh air,” with its floral notes, specifically spring flowers. The lively fruity aromas are also enough to make your mouth water for more!

A neat and classic style inspires the fancy bottle without dramatic patterns. Plus, the Jean Fillioux brand always sticks to the quality of its bottles rather than prioritizing flashy appearances.

Region: Charente Francetasting Notes: Almond Notes With Cinnamon And Raisins Dry Woody Finish

Courvoisier VSOP Cognac has always been well-known and a loved classic. Considering it’s from Courvoisier, one of the Big Four Cognac houses, it’s not surprising that this blend has a spot on the podium.

The bottle gives off a dark amber color with reddish undertones. However, if you pour the drink into a glass, the color becomes more copper-like.

The well-balanced complexity of this blend can be attributed to the Grande, Petite Champagne, and the Fins Bois. Plus, this Cognac has spent 8 to 12 years aging. The toasted almonds, stone fruits, baking spice flavors, and toffee are apparent in their dry finish that lingers long enough to enjoy it.

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Ferrand Reserve Double Cask

Average Price: Around $79

ABV: 40%

What We Liked:

This wine is made from the traditional Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes , respectively used to produce some of the most intense and flavorful floral notes in the world.

This spirit has delicate notes of plum, pear, and wine grapes. Aged in oak casks, it has a beautiful amber color and subtle notes of vanilla. Look for the best cognac brands here.

Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac

6 Best Cognac Tasting Sets


A very plush tasting mixing cognac.

Notes: One of the youngest expression in a long line of cognacs this one designed in both taste in profile for mixing, the others being Ambre, Reserve, Reserve Dieux, Selection de Anges, Abel, Ancestrale, and their most prestigious Memoires all the cognacs use only Grand Champagne grapes many others in the industry only use them in their much more expensive bottlings.

Double distilled in somewhat unusual onion headed copper pot cognac/alembic stills from a base wine with lees it is then aged in French Limousin Oak casks until ready to be blended. Please see our adventure section to see .This particular expression as mentioned above is designed to replicate the earlier 3 Star style of cognac that was a mainstay in the later 19th century and early 20th century as a style used widely as a mixer and for more casual consumption

Appearance: Attractive golden wheat/dark straw gold color, leaves a thin coat on swirling. Could be mistaken for a young bourbon in color. Rather heavy-bodied in a nice way. On swirling it starts with a scalloped edge line then forms a few legs.First Impression: Pears, citrus, caramel, violets, heirloom roses, and some oak and tobacco. A rather sweet for a cognac on the nose with heavy aromas that seem plush and weighty. Reminds me a bit of the Moet Chandon Petit Champagne liqueur of years past.

Other: 1st Cru Grande Champagne grapes twice-distilled in copper alembic pot stills and aged in French oak casks.

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Best For Sipping: Camus Xo Borderies

Courtesy of Total Wine

Region: Cognac, France | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Flowers, Figs, Walnuts, Citrus Zest

The only globally available cognac sourced exclusively from the premium Borderies cru, this unique bottle is a solid one for sipping, says Desoblin. Its very round, very mellow, very velvety, he says, and what else would you want in a fine sipping cognac besides excellent texture? How about a very fruity profile? A zippy, flowery nose resolves to dried-fruit flavors with a touch of nuttiness, making this surprisingly affordable bottle a benchmark for the appellation.

The 10 Best Cognac Brands You Should Enjoy Right Now

Cognac, a brandy produced using white grapes from one of the six terroirs in the Cognac region of Southwest France has been around for centuries.

Its distinctive taste which many have grown to love over the years is acquired through a special technique, with grape juice double-distilled in a copper pot and aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two years.

The best cognacs in the world are known for their quality and smooth character, as the best cognac houses have perfected their distilling techniques as the years went by.

Their craftsmanship has been rewarded with numerous awards and their reputation follows them everywhere around the world.


Technically speaking, cognac is a type of brandy. What does that mean exactly, you might ask? It means that its made by distilling wine, with the resulting spirit aged in wood barrels for at least two years.

The French call it eau de vie which literally translates to water of life. It is a colorless fruit brandy produced by fermentation and double distillation of white grapes.

The reason cognac cannot be produced anywhere but in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France is because of the specific grapes that grow in the region of Cognac on their special soil.

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What Does Cognac Taste Like

When wondering what does cognac taste like, it is hard to stay general. Generally, cognac tastes like candied fruits, with some spices, some leather notes, caramelized fruits, and citrus. These are just the general guidance notes when trying to articulate the general flavor to someone, all cognacs have distinctly different flavors and aromas.

The taste really comes from what is cognac made of, the deeply dry grapes. The fermentation and aging process gives an incredible depth of flavor, often producing some slightly vanilla top notes, with a deeper smoky aftertaste.

Generally, the tasting notes that producers provide are a good line to go off. Cognac brands have worked tirelessly to produce the finest products possible. Though there is not too much deviation between processes, there is still able to be a distinct flavor profile differential. We believe the top cognac brands do an amazing job of articulating what is unique about their cognac drinks.

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What Is Cognac? | Everything You Need to Know

V.S. : VS cognac has been aged for at least two years and is the most common form of cognac available its also the more affordable option of the four. If youre looking for cognac best used in cocktails, this is it.

V.S.O.P. : V.S.O.P cognac is defined by cognac thats been aged for at least four years.

XO : One of the best types of cognac you can buy as the youngest vintage blend used has been aged for at least 10 full years inside a barrel. As of 2018, the minimum requirement was raised from six to 10 years. Now, six-year-old cognac is referred to as Napoléon. XO cognac is often rich and velvety with a flavor palette that stays on your tongue long after your drink is over. Thats why its best to have this type of cognac neat.

Hors dâge : The most luxurious type of cognac you can buy as it falls outside the age scale. This kind of cognac is extremely rare and if youre lucky enough to find a bottle, make sure to savor each sip.

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Best Vsop: Bisquit & Dubouch Vsop

Courtesy of ReserveBar

Region: Cognac, France | ABV: 40% | Tasting notes: Apple pie, Fig, Caramel, Spiced tea

What could be more exciting than a 200-year-old cognac brand that is just now making its way across The Pond? Claiming a unique distilling process, the producers of Bisquit & Dubouché continuously taste the distillate as it comes off the still, cutting the heart portion much later than other houses do. This results in a harmony of aromas and flavors: seductive vanilla and caramel, smooth notes of honey, fig, and dark fruits, says David Anderson, lead bartender at Death & Co. Denver.

Though Anderson finds this VSOP delicious on the rocks or neat, he prefers to get creative with it in autumnal cocktails especially, where it develops notes of apple pie, roasted peach, and spiced tea.

Region: Cognac, France | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Oak, Brine, Earth, Smoke

Ehrmann calls this bottle the Islay of Cognac, for its oceanic flavors akin to those in the whiskey of the Scottish island.

Region: Cognac, France | ABV: 42.3% | Tasting Notes: Figs, Dates, Oak, Wine

Best Overall: Frapin Chteau Fontpinot Xo

Region: Cognac, France | ABV: 41% | Tasting Notes: Dark chocolate, Dried fruit, Caramel, Herbs

I keep a bottle of this at home, says H. Joseph Ehrmann, certified cognac educator and owner of San Franciscos Elixir. It is absolute perfectionwhat XO should be. Major vineyard owners in the Grande Champagne cru of Cognac, the Frapin family has been growing grapes since 1270 and making cognac for more than 20 generations. They have experience on their side.

Ehrmann calls this bottle super well-rounded with a balanced complexity of dried fruit, dark chocolate, and caramel flavors, plus a slightly botanical note. He loves its rich, slightly oily mouthfeel, but best of all is its endless aromatics. If you have a really good XO like this one, you can hold onto the empty glass for half an hour after sipping, and just smelling it will bring flashbacks of its taste.

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“Frapin Fontpinot XO is so special. It is the kind of cognac that will have you fall in love with the category. Fruit forward and complex with rich toffee notes, this XO has a finish that lingers for days!”

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Where To Buy Cognac In The Usa

Surprisingly or not, the USA is cognacs largest market and represents yearly imports of 6.1 million 9-litre cases per year. Therefore, its easy to conclude that acquiring cognac in the USA is not difficult.

Indeed, cognac can be found in just about any liquor or convenience store with a license. However, while the quantity is certainly there, quality is another matter entirely.

In most cases, stores will retail young V.S. cognac, which although isnt always bad, it doesnt offer the best experience or value for money that cognac can give you.

Fortunately, online shopping has made it much easier to source quality cognac. Were particularly fond of using Reserve Bar as it has developed a number of partnerships directly with the producers. Meanwhile, Drizly works with your local liquor stores, which can be very handy for discovering what is sold nearby.

Finally, wed like to clarify that weve listed the best cognacs that are easy to find in the list above. After all, Courvoisier, Hennessy, Martell, and Rémy Martin represent 90% of the market in the USA.

There is much more to cognac than just these four brands. Overall, there are nearly 200 cognac houses in total, which doesnt even count the local producers that create some of cognacs most exquisite specimens. Sadly, these can be very challenging to find in the USA so we didnt feature them here.

Expensive French And Usually Seen Glistening On The Top Shelves Of Bars Cognac Is Elusive Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Classic Spirit

The Best Cognac Brands » Cellar Tours
  • Print Edition: Nov 27, 2022

Victor hugo of Les Miserables fame described cognac as the liquor of the gods. So what makes the amber liquid so special to be given such an exalted status? Cognac is distilled white wine which is then aged for years. Sometimes for decades, as is the case for Louis XIII. It comes only from the Cognac region in Southwest France, says Malo Le Mestre, Brand Ambassador in India for Louis XIII, one of the worlds most exclusive cognac brands.

The history of cognac stretches back to the 1600s. The story goes that it was the Dutch who wanted to carry wine from France to the Netherlands. But it did not travel well. So they decided to distil it. At first it was distilled only once, probably to keep it as close to wine. However, they soon figured that double distillation created a far smoother drink. And so was formed brandwijn or burnt wine or what we today call brandy. The French then further refined the process. While all cognac is brandy, not all brandy is cognac, similar to how all champagne is sparkling wine but not all sparkling wine is champagne. The French seem to have a fascination for such things.

Some of the largest cognac brands formed pretty early. Martell, the oldest continually operational cognac brand, has a history stretching back to 1715 Rémy Martin came into play in 1724 and Hennessy in 1765. Courvoisier is the newest on the scene. It started production in the Cognac region only in 1828.


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