Think of Cognac as the drink of kings, celebs, movie stars and even that literary great Victor Hugo and the best friend a cigar ever had, Winston Churchill. So, as you reach for that premium cigar and think about pairing it with a drink that’s going to ensure the evening is memorable we’d recommend thinking about Cognac.
You don’t have to spend north of a $100 bucks to great a great bottle either – for just $75 skins you can buy a great bottle of Cognac, with its roots in Grand Champagne, Borderies or Petit Champagne.
Yes, cognac is like a great smoke, a handsome guy or a winsome lady, beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder. Here’s our short list of ten great cognacs to bring out when your savoring good company coupled with a great cigar.
Lets start with Hardy V.S.O.P. Organic Cognac
Back in the day an Englishmen, Anthony Hardy fell in love with the Cognac region of France and even make the “cockerel” as the symbol for the Cognac. Fast forward to today and the company is run by a fifth generation, Benedicte Hardy and she is a hard driving CEO pushing the business into new frontiers.
Their latest organic (yes it really is certified as organic) is fresh, very light, with a slight hint of orange blossoms and vanilla and it’s going to slide across your taste buds as smooth as silk. Buy some chocolate truffles to pair with this light Cognac and you’ll be a hit at the party or with your wife/lover/hubby. You can find this in any good local liquor store for around $60 bucks.
Gran Prunier V.S.O.P. Grande Champagne
You are purchasing a piece of history with this great Cognac – it traces its roots back to the 17th century when Frenchmen Jean Prunier started shipping the cognac and his fine wines around the world.
The VSOP stands for “very superior old pale” and you’ll find this designation on many fine Cognacs including Prunier.
It’s a great brand, with grapes sourced from the Grande Champagne region, with a full fruity taste and rich aromas with notes of a light orange, apple and rose – it’s gonna finish strong with just a hint of caramel in the flavor and you’ll be better off pairing a Nico Puro Churchill from Alex Bradley. Expect to pay about $75 for a bottle of this great Cognac.
Cognac Park Borderies Single Vineyard
Cognac Park was started in the late 1800’s, founded by Scotsmen Dominic Park and the Master Distiller of Tessendier. It’s a bit hard to find rare Cognac with grapes sourced from a variety of vineyards, not just single source like others.
But, the taste is still great, with a slightly floral “nose” and hints of a creamy vanilla and even plum pudding. It’s a great Cognac to serve with a dessert that’s not too sweet and you can find it for under $50 in most liquor stores.
Remy Martin Single Accord Royal
Mention Remy Martin Cognac and most people hanging out with you will recognize the brand. For good reason, this fine brand was established in 1724 and has been considered a pioneer in the liquor business.
Today’s it’s run by a young 33 year old woman, one of the youngest cellar masters in the industry and expect a rich taste with a bouquet of plum, fig and creamy toffee and just a note of butterscotch. It’s a great Cognac and won’t break your bank with a cost of under $50 and you can’t go wrong pairing this with any moderate to expensive cigar.
Louis Royer Cognac Force 53 VSOP Fine
This great Cognac house was founded in 1853, featuring grapes from all six primary Cognac regions of France. And, this is a blended Cognac, with 53% alcohol, which is much higher than the industry average of 40%. So, expect this baby to give you a bit of a punch as you sip it. It has a fruity taste, with notes of vanilla, plum and even tobacco so pair it with a stick that’s got some real flavor.
Camus Borderies Cognac VSOP
You can trace the Camus lineage back five generations to 1865 when Jean-Baptise Camus put together a group of Cognac producers to guarantee high quality production under the brand name Le Grande Marque. It’s a good value at around $50 with more of a fruitier taste than some of its contemporaries, with an apple, cinnamon and even a hint of peach taste.
Pierre Ferrand Reserve Cognac
This is a great Cognac in the $75 club, so it’s a bit pricier than some of its competitors; but well worth the extra cost. It’s a relatively young company, founded in 1989 but it has a stellar reputation of putting out a product on par with much more expensive/well known brands. It adheres to strict traditional methods for manufacturing and it has a rich full-bodied taste with classic notes of apple, honey and cinnamon.
Hennessy Privilege VSOP Cognac
Hennessy is kind of like selecting IBM back in the early days of high tech – you can’t go wrong and it’s always a safe decision. Hennessey was founded in 1765 by Richard Hennessy and in 1817 no less than the Prince of Wales (future King) George IV made a royal request for Hennessy to create a special one of a kind pale Cognac and this in turn triggered the VSOP designation. Expect to pay $65 for this great Cognac.
Gautier VSOP Cognac
Gautier is a more moderate priced Cognac and you can usually find it on sale for under $40. In spite of its modest price, it has lineage as a Cognac “house” going back to the 17th century when Gautier received the first “royal warrant” – now owned by the Belvedere Group. It’s not as full-bodied or as smooth as some of its competitors; but, it can be paired well with dessert after a good meal.
A. de Fussigny Selection Cognac
The house of A. de Fussigny resides on the banks of the beautiful Charente River smack dab in the middle of the Cognac Region in France. The river that runs nearby also helps to infuse humidity as this Cognac ages, which is ideal for aging a fine Cognac.
It has a blend of grapes from a number of regions in France but still has a great taste with notes of vanilla, various spices and even a touch of oak and pepper. It’s moderately priced under $50.
So that’s our short list of ten under $100 per bottle Cognacs and we hope it helps to motivate you to go out and purchase a great bottle of Cognac to make that special evening go a bit smoother. #lifeisshort