If you are someone new to the realm of cognacs, there is some necessary information you need to understand about the labels on the cognac bottles. The first type of Cognac carries the name ‘VS’, which stands for ‘very special.’ The VS label Cognac is the youngest tier and typically has an aging period of around two years.
This type of Cognac is ideal for use in cocktails because of its smaller aging period. The VSOP stands for Very Superior Old Pale, and this type of Cognac undergoes aging in the barrel for up to 4 years. The VSOP cognac is adaptable for use in making cocktails and consumption by itself.
The final category is the XO cognac, which stands for extra old, and the Cognac requires ten years of aging to produce. Cognacs that are aging for decades also exist, which are immensely popular and are also wildly expensive for their rarity. This article is a manual for beginners who want to know all about the cognacs and enjoy every sip!
Top 10 Cognacs You Need To Try At Least Once
1. Frapin Château FontPinot X.O
The color tone of the Cognac is unique and vivid and resembles the color of the autumn leaf as it changes color from red to yellow and brown. The Frapin Chateau Fontpinot has an unmistakably luscious fragrance that may remind you of the taste of soy, which slowly transcends to notes of bread toast.
The FontPinot has a more or less intense pungency due to the additional years of aging since it is an Extra Old category. The FontPinot X.O leaves an exceedingly spicy taste on your tongue and palate, and the unique umami flavor makes it a favorite amongst cognac lovers.
2. Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac Black Pearl
The Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac is impressive as it is a concoction of 1200 Eaux de vie that is aging for 40 to 115 years. The flavor of the Cognac is an amalgam of sandalwood, ginger, passion fruit, and nutmeg with the aroma of cream, fruit, spiced flowers, and vanilla.
3. Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif
If you like to have cognacs in which the fruitier flavors are more prominent, then you will prefer the Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif that is also light on your wallet. The initial perception of the Cognac tastes extremely dry, which may cause a slight burning sensation, especially if you drink it neat.
However, the flavor calms down after the initial dryness to a blend of spicy and sweet notes. The Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif is versatile as a mixer for cocktails as well as for drinking it directly. The flavors of this cognac favor more elegant and stronger cocktail mixes.
4. De Luze Cognac VS Fine Champagne
The De Luz Cognac has an intricate and intriguing flavor that is an infusion of dried apricot, spices, clove, toffee, and black pepper combining to form a delectable infusion. The bottle of the cognac has a unique shape that allows the champagne to aerate while pouring out of the bottle.
The aftertaste is a feeling of warmth with a hint of maple syrup and the aroma of spices. The De Luz Cognac VS Champagne is also worth considering if you want to find an inspiring cognac that is lighter on the budget.
5. Prunier VSOP Grande Champagne
The Grande Champagne tag in the name shows the area of production of the cognac, which makes the finest cognacs in the world in France. Most cognacs from this region of France carry a hefty price tag because of their universal acclaim.
However, the Prunier VSOP Grande Champagne stands out with an economical price tag while delivering superior quality cognac. The Prunier VSOP is subtle and smooth with elements of vanilla, apple, caramel, and orange.
6. Gautier XO Gold And Blue Cognac
The Gautier XO is a delicate and elegant cognac with vanilla, floral, and fruity tones along with shades of cinnamon and toast. The exceptional flavor and quality of the Gautier XO cognac are due to the peculiar conditions of the aging of the cognac.
The 18th-century mill in the Osme river where the aging process takes place has an environment with a unique temperature and humidity. The distinct conditions are responsible for granting the exotic flavor of the cognac.
7. Hardy Cognac VSOP Organic
The Hardy Cognac VSOP Organic uses grapes from an organic vineyard for making the cognac and also uses recycled packaging. The cognac is exceptionally smooth with floral aromas and the refinement and purity have great acclaim with aficionados.
8. Paul Giraud Vieille Reserve XO
The Paul Giraud immediately gives a warm tingly sensation on your throat but does not burn. The delicate smokey flavor of the cognac intertwines with nectarine peachy touches along with a subtle taste of maple syrup.
9. Bache Gabrielsen VSOP
The Bache Gabrielsen VSOP uses a blend of 20 percent Petite Champagne and 80 percent Fins Bois and undergoes an aging period of 7 years to create this subtle champagne. The cognac issues a mix of almond, vanilla and apricot flavors with hints of grape zest.
10. Hennessy XO Cognac
The Hennessy XO Cognac is a blend of over 100 Eau de vie with ages of up to 30 years. The Ugni Blanc grapes undergo double distillation before aging in French oak barrels. The cognac has a balance of flavors and an elegant smoothness, which is a treat for the senses.
The Cognac is fast breaking its reputation of being the drink for the gentleman and, in its stead, gaining popularity as the drink of choice of insightful drinkers. Cognacs are also in use rampantly in the bars across the world for making exotic cocktails due to its unique flavor.
The ideal conditions of soil and weather in the west of France is crucial for the growth of superior quality grapes for making the Cognac. Similar to whiskey, the skill of the distiller can immensely affect the final quality of the Cognac. The higher quality cognacs typically age in a French oak barrel for at least two years after undergoing distillation twice in copper pot stills.
Cognacs bring out a plethora of flavors and aromas such as hazelnut, honeysuckle, vanilla, cinnamon, butterscotch, dried figs, and more ecstatic notes. The longer the age of the Cognac, the higher will be the complexity of flavor and texture of the Cognac.