Louis Trieze......The Gold Lion's of Remy Martin.
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Martell XO - has more sweetness than RM
Hennessy XO - very very smooth
HINE Antique - very smooth with a nice aroma
SCOTT XO - not as smooth as the others above, but has a nice taste at a very bargain price compared to other XOs.
I have yet to try Louis XIII at $900 a bottle or
Hennessy "Paradis" at $200.
If you try them, please let us know of your opinion.
My personal favorite is Normandin-Mercier Napolean, a small family owned producer that's imported into the US by Robert Chadderdon Selections. For brands a bit more widely available I also like Hine Triomphe and Pierre Ferrand Abel. Needless to say I have expensive tastes in Cognac, each of these will run $150-200. Every one of them will wipe the floor with Remy XO and really any of the XO's from the large houses.
Menuet Cognac - du Grand Champagne
Has won several awards. Is a single estate, hand bottled family owned Cognac, from the Grand Champagne region of Cognac.
It is not a blend it is 100% 15 year old Cognac, and is one of only a handful of Cognacs that can be designated as 1'er Cru. Which translates to first growth. No other Cognac mentioned above is even the same category of Menuet
As someone with about 15 years in the wine business and a keen interest in Cognac I beg to differ with you. Menuet is a producer like any other, though they produce Cognacs from the Grande Champagne region, so do many other producers. The designation 1er Cru means nothing in Cognac. Though it is perhaps a bit unusual that they use a single cask or at least Cognac from a single lot that doesn't make it better that Cognacs that are blended to acheive an average age. In fact many believe that it is this blending that gives the spirit it's unique complexity. I have tasted a lot of Cognac in my time, and your statment that "no other Cognac mentioned above is even in the same category of Menuet" is simnply wrong, though as a matter of tast you may believe it to be so. However I would put the Cognacs if Normandin-Mercier up against anyones'.
I'm told the ladies are impressed with Courvoisier.
Tag line on last link says it all.
This is a very nice topic!
Indeed, my name is Edouard Normandin-Mercier and I am very proud to reed some comments like above.
I think this forum is amazingly sharp for people that no do live in Cognac Region!
I was just surfing on the web looking for feedback on my Cognacs.
Please feel free to ask me anything.
Excellent Cognac value: Daniel Bouju VSOP, about $35 at the big box retailers. Unbelievably smooth, wonderful nose - slightly spicy and some nice fruit. Round and rich on the palate, some underlying wood. Try it. It was recently rated third out of the Top 50 Cognacs. The other varieties up line are also nice but don't yield the same incredible value.
Cognac de Collection Jean Grosperrin: true vintage (to the highest possible degree of certainty), no blending, no reduction, no caramel addition, and absolutely MAJESTIC (en majuscules, je vous prie)! My last bottle: 1962 Petite Champagne (bottled 2001); think I'll sell some audio cables and try to find me another one ;^)
Of the more readily available cognacs: Léopold Gourmel "Age des Épices" (that, personally, I like even better than their "Quintessence"), exclusively Fins Bois cognacs and proof that these vineyards can turn out a fantastic product from the hands of a great distiller.
There is no accounting for taste, of course, but, for myself, once I tasted tres vieux Calvados, there simply was no reason to ever pursue cognac again. I loathe hyperbole but the finer Calvados products are simply in another league, and I am comparing products from both camps in very similar price ranges ( like $150. to $300. per bottle ). Wrap your lips ( and, especially, nose ) around a 25-30 year old Adrien Camut or a Coeur de Lion, to name a couple, and see if you can ever go back.
Mes Chers Amis Americains! (My dear American friends),
Why go to France when you can enjoy fine Californian fare.
Technically not Cognac, Bonny Doon vineyards offers a great "Brandy" Marc de Cigare. It holds its own against many of the Cognacs listed above.
Unfortunately I checked the Bonny Doon web-site and they do not seem to be offering it anymore. But Acresverde will be happy to know that they do offer a Calvadoon!.
Fine music, fine wine (or spirits) c'estla belle vie!
Come on guys, why on earth should we want to compare apples and oranges (or rather apples and grapes) and restrict ourselves to one of those? We listen to different kinds of music also, don't we. In the words of D.P. Gumby, my brain would hurt, seriously, if I were ever forced to choose between vintage Grosperrin cognac, vintage Francis Darroze armagnac, Adrien Camut "Rareté" calvados or 1964 Black Bowmore whisky for the rest of my life. But there are other products that belong in the chamber of treasures as well: Randall Grahm's "Marc de Cigare" is surely one of those as well as Reinhard Löwenstein's rare occasional Tresterbrand of Eiswein or TBA, Romano Levi's grappa, Giovi's ciliegie dell'Etna or Pierre Morey's "simple" Fine de Bourgogne. Nothing more boring than always having to drink the same wine.
Nick_sr, good to meet another Doon aficionado on Audiogon, Randall sure is one of the most fascinating people in the trade, yeah, DEWN forever!
Hi Edouard, I just ordered a bottle of your Petite Champagne Millésime 1976 from Le-Cognac.com. Just curious, could you tell me where the vineyard is, is it a single lieu-dit that one can situate on the map? Also, I assume Le Cognac are probably offering a very recent bottling, 2010 possibly?
Congratulations for the great music on your website! Whilst I was writing this, I have been listening to Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers' "Moanin'" and right now it's Django Reinhardt's "Nuages"!
My most recent bottle of absolutely fabulous cognac is "AE Dor
No.8", a Grande Champagne cognac (which it appears you can also find
on Le-Cognac.com). I have just started in on my most recent bottle and I find
this cognac to be superlative. I would never buy this on my own - it was a gift
from my wife (and interestingly, it was cheaper than any online price I have
found) - but I am awfully glad she wanted to splurge for my Christmas
For 'every day' cognac, while in Japan, I have found some interesting very
small producers sold through a liquor store in Mejiro (section of Tokyo near
Ikebukuro) - the same place which sells the AE Dor above, but among better
known names, I usually have a bottle of Frapin around. Chateau de Fontpinot
is a nice bottle I have found.
When in the US, I often buy cognac from the Ferrand line (which I think offers
excellent bang for buck), with my favorites being 'Selection des Anges' (I have
had one bottle of 'Ancestrale', given as a gift, and it was beautiful, but I am
not sure I can do that very often) and 'Brut de Fut.' 'Brut de Fut' means
'straight from the cask' (cognac is often drawn from the cask at 45-55% or so,
then bottled at ~40% (or so) by adding water) and is strong stuff but it also
has a very rich flavor to it - important to get the temperature up a bit to get
all the aromas. More interestingly, being completely non-blended, every
bottle ends up a little bit different, while retaining the layers, complexity,
honey-spice richness of the aged Ferrand cognacs.
Normandier-Mercier is too sweet. I simply do not believe that it is unmixed Cognac. Delamain Vesper is a bit dry and has too much fire. However Delamain Tres Venerable is great (don't expect sweet nectar) it is not, it is a "real thing" with no 'sugar' added. On the cheaper side of non-sweet Cognacs is Marquis de Gensac.
These are not truths just opinions.
Just sampled Pierre Fernand reserve. This stuff, for $60 / bottle (or less) is insanely good. It falls between a VSOP and legitimate XO but IMO closer to the latter.
I agree with Inna re. Armenian Cognac (ok, brandy) however it seems like on the east coast all we have is the low grade stuff. I brought a couple of bottles of Urartu from my trip to LA and haven't been the same since I ran out.
Enjoying a bottle of Paul Beau Hors D'Age Grande Champagne a roughly 30 year old singe estate cognac i picked up online for about $130 serious stuff for the $$. I also love Armagnac and can't recommend enough the brandy's from Chatea de Busca, their Hors D'Age 15 year for $90ish is a real steal. And to the poster who called Normandin-Mercier sweet I must disagree. Compared to Delamain most Cognac may come across a touch less dry but Normandin-Mercier is unadulterated and fantastic stuff.
Best I've had .... The company does not produce any VS or VSOP grade cognac, instead its entry level offer is already a 25-year-old XO (Pale & Dry).
Pale & Dry X.O. Aged 25 years
Vesper Aged 35 years
Extra. Older than Vesper
Tres Vénérable. Aged 55 years
Reserve de la Famille. 43% vol. This is produced from a single barrel and from a single estate. This is Delamain's highest range product.
Millésimes (Vintage) Cognacs. This is a cognac from a single year. Aged 30 years.
Le voyage de Delamain. Limited to 500 unit worldwide.