What COGNAC/ARMAGNAC Are You Drinking?


I’m with Alan Rath on this one. This board is called WINE in capitals Berserkers and we have a Rum thread, a Scotch Whisky thread and a Bourbon thread – but no COGNAC and/or ARMAGNAC thread at all in the Beer and Spirits forums?!? Disgraceful! [soap.gif]

Cognac has a soft spot in my heart for being the first spirit that I ever tried and liked. I avoided spirits like the plague my entire life believing they were all like crappy grain and potato based vodka and meant entirely for alcoholics. Cognac is the spirit that changed all of that for me.

So much so that my first thought upon tasting Cognac – and which now applies to all spirits for me – was why would anyone deliberately dilute the tastes and aromas of this stuff in a cocktail? It’s because of Cognac that I take all of my spirits neat with the ever so slightest of chills, the way they were meant to be appreciated as far as I am concerned.

Cognac proved to me that spirits do have a taste and aroma all their own to be savored and was the gateway into my appreciation of Scotch whisky, American bourbon, Spanish brandy, Canadian whisky, Italian grappa and French fruit eau-de-vie especially Calvados.

I like Armagnac too, by the way, as I find it a lot more fruit-forward in flavor than Cognac but I like the silky mouthfeel of a Cognac much better. As a result, I find myself tending towards more fruitier and floral Cognacs, especially those from independent houses.

In terms of regions, I tend to focus on Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne and Fine Champagne (a blend of the other two). I’ve only ever had one Borderies Cognac and there was enough of a difference to convince me to stick with the Champagne regions.

I also find myself acquiring only XO designated Cognacs, and avoid VSOP and VS designations like the plague. Aside from the fact that I think the quality difference is just vast (and VS I find especially substandard), the only advantage of lower designations is their price point and if you shop well for XO Cognacs then it becomes moot. Sure, you’ll never pay less than $100 CDN for a bottle but the $40-50 difference from a quality VSOP makes it worth it for me. Also, I find the decanters for XO Cognacs way more beautiful in general.

The catch is that you have to do your research and beforehand and shop well. Although I love their Cognacs when I’ve sampled them, I avoid the big houses of Remy Martin, Courvoisier, Hennessey and Martell like the plague (with one exception mentioned below) simply because of QPR value. They charge two to three times what an equivalent quality independent producer does.

In my very brief time as a Cognac Berserker, I’ve found the following amazing Cognacs that I would highly recommend. I’ve listed the price I got them for in $CDN as well to prove the point of value versus the big houses above and prove you don’t have to break the bank to be an XO Cognac lover. I’m sure our American compatriots can find these at much better prices:

  • Chateau de Beaulon Folle Blanche 7 Ans ($56) – An absolutely incredible QPR bargain of a Cognac
  • Audry Vieille Reserve Fine Champagne ($129)
  • Vallein Tercinier Vielle Reserve Fine Champagne ($130)
  • Remy Martin Coeur du Cognac ($99) – Much sweeter and fruit forward than you average Cognac and even some Armagnacs I’ve tried
  • Gaston de Lagrange Grande Champagne ($99) – Actually an Otard XO! For some bizarre reason, they market in Canada with a generic out of date brand name and have completely forgone the cooler sounding Otard name along with its beautiful teardrop shaped bottle. (Oddly, the VSOP Otard is available here in Canada making the decision even more perplexing.)
  • Croizet XO Grande Champagne ($105)
  • Bache-Gabrielsen XO Fine Champagne ($110)
  • Hine Homage Grand Cru Fine Champagne ($145)
  • De Luze XO Fine Champagne ($156)

I’ve finished off the first four Cognacs as well as used some to make my Marnier style liqueurs which I posted about in another thread. The others are all waiting to be opened and savored this holiday.

So feel free to add to this thread and keep it going. What’s your favorite Cognac? What are you drinking right now? What are you acquiring this holiday season? Discuss. [cheers.gif]


Thanks for starting a cognac thread. I partake every now and again. I’m sipping on a 1962 Laubade at the moment but I have an 1893 Francis Darroze that I’ve been waiting for the right moment to open.

I’ve been enjoying the 1979 Ravignan Armagnac for several years now.

How is that Justin? I own it but haven’t yet cracked it. . . sipping, on occasion, Laberdolive '62.


Howard [cheers.gif]

My new favorite relatively affordable under $100 Cognac (ousting the Delamain Pale & Dry and the Lot 76 Tesseron): Jean Fillioux Tres Vieux Grande Champagne Cognac (25 year old).

Martell XO Supreme – it seemed to get some good reviews and I traded a bourbon I had no interest in for it. Slightly nutty, hint of sherry - pretty easy drinker. I think I made out on the trade.

Had some Hennessy Paradis last night. This is really excellent stuff. Especially nice to find it on a list at a hotel lounge.

I like the Paradis, they serve it on Emirates.

I have a Remy XO and a Martell Cordon Bleu open now.

Hine Triomphe last night. Also excellent- same lounge.

Just picked up Ragnaud-Sabourin No. 20 (K&L pick) & Tesseron 90. The Tesseron came recommended on the high QPR and I would like to get a sense of house style before plunking down the cash for a 53.

For years we have enjoyed Chateau de Pellehaut Reserve Tenareze Armagnac. It is now offered by K&L at an attractive qpr.

Just picked up a 1945 Sempe Armagnac , hoping to drink in 2015 .

This thread isn’t nearly long enough. I love Cognac, but it’s hard to find one that isn’t caramelled and oaked to death. I know they exist but a bit hard to identify. Armagnac is easier. for long time it was hard to get one of worth in my home state of Washington but since the liquor law changes, it’s easier although more expensive. Enjoying Pellehauts and Castaredes at the moment.

Just re-tasted the De Luze Extra. Mind blowing stuff and better than I remember. I also re-tasted Remy XO which I still can’t stand for some reason

Love Paradis, take baby sips of it here and there. This got me into cognac.
My (relative) QPR that I always have a bottle open of is Comandon XO. One of the best noses of anything I’ve ever encountered though the palate is not quite as good.

I’ve been trying thr big house XOs recently (all that’s available here), the one I keep going back to is Martell Cordon Bleu, especially after its been open a couple of weeks.

Though I do as much damage as possible to the Paradis they serve when flying Emirrates.

Will…whats up with the 53? I like the 90 but the price tag on the 53 has given me pause. What do you know about it?

Has anyone tried what Nicolas Palazzi makes?

@William: The Tesseron has one of the richest most mouthcoating textures I have ever had in a Cognac. Almost like Grand Marnier in that respect. This said, while the 90 was OK I have found the 76 to be much better and just as richly textured. The 53 must be amazing but is out of my price range.

I’ll send you a sample!