Cognac/Armagnac

BRANDY

 

 

Name

Region

Maltmileage Score

 

1.    Normandin Mercier Très Vieille Grande Ch.

2.    Courvoisier 21 Year Old

3.    Hine Antique XO

4.    Hennessy Paradis

5.    Normandin Mercier Extra Grande Ch.

6.    Normandin Mercier Extra Petite Ch.

7.    Janneau XO Royal

8.    Francis Darroze 1959 51 Year Old

9.    Courvoisier XO imperial

10.  Martell Cordon Bleu

11.  Normandin Mercier XO

12.  Hine VSOP

13.  Hennessy VS

14.  Francois Voyer 25 Years

15.  Chabot XO

16.  Francois Voyer Napoleon 15 Years 

17.  Chateau Tariquet Folle Blanche 12 years

18.  Normandin Mercier La Péraudière

19.  Delord Bas-Armagnac 1985

20.  Nismes Delclou Armagnac XO

21.  Janneau VSOP

22.  Hennessy XO

23.  Camus "Borderies" XO

24.  Francois Voyer Terre Grande Champagne

25.  Camus “Elegance” XO

26.  Louis Royer XO

27.  H by Hine

28.  Meukow XO

29.  Louis Royer VSOP

30.  Meukow VSOP

31.  Meukow Vanilla

32.  St Agnes Brandy

 

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Armagnac, France

Armagnac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Armagnac, France

Cognac, France

Armagnac, France

Cognac, France

Armagnac, France

Armagnac, France

Cognac, France

Armagnac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Cognac, France

Australia

 

 

98

97

95

94

94

93

92

91

90

90

90

89

88

88

87

87

87

86

86

85

84

83

82

82

80

80

80

80

79

77

70

62

 

GREEN – Highly recommended

AMBER – Recommended

RED – Not recommended  

*Full reviews are available here

 

 

 

 



What is Cognac/Armagnac? 

Cognac and Armagnac are French brandy from the Cognac region and Armagnac region of France respectively. However, the region they are from is not the only difference between the two. 



Map of Cognac, source: Wikipedia
Cognac is usually distilled twice as opposed to Armagnac which is mostly distilled only once, so it tends to be smoother than Armagnac’s of a similar age. For a brandy to be called a cognac it must be made from authorized grapes, twice distilled in copper stills and aged in French oak barrels for at least two years. Like whisky, cognac is aged until it reaches what the distiller considers to be its peak or another time appropriate for bottling. The cognac region is comprised of six zones, or "cru": Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bois Ordinaire and Bon Bois. 

Armagnac is commonly distilled only once unlike Cognac which is distilled twice, and produced from specific authorized grapes. Like whisky, the spirit is then aged in oak barrels. 

Cognac and Armagnac branded VSOP have been aged for five years and the XO have been aged for six. 


When buying a Cognac, it is important to be aware of its age (remember, just because something is labelled "XO" does not guarantee that all the cognac is "old" - it just means that the cognac is at least 6 years old unless otherwise stated) and appellation or cru. Cognac from Grande Champagne has long been considered to be the finest, closely followed by Petite Champagne. The differences between the crus are the result of their different soil, and the fact that Grande Champagne has more chalky soil. 


Cognac appellation/cru

Terrain features
Eau-de-vie features
Grande Champagne
Uneven ground, chalky soil, less compact

Finesse, floral bouquet, fruit notes
Petite Champagne
Chalky soil, compact


Less finesse than Grande Champagne, floral and fruity
Borderies
Flat, clay, flint stones


Fine, floral (mostly violets), rounded
Fins Bois
Clay, limestone, mixed soil, red coloured and stony 
chalky/clay soil

Rounded, smooth, fruity
Bons Bois
Mixed soil, sand, clay, limestone

Fruity
Bois Ordanaries
Predominately sand
Coastal character, quick aging


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