Top 10 Cognac & Brandy

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Top 10 Cognac & Brandy

With these bottles, you will be sipping in style. Expand your home bar with these top ten brandies and cognacs for your collection that are sure to become new favorites.

Brandy, in general, is any kind of distilled spirit made from fermented fruit juice made from fruits like apples, cherries, and peaches, and most of all grapes. Thanks to the spirit’s diverse nature, each new bottle of brandy delivers a unique experience.

Discover the French brandy from the eponymous region, the land of l’eau de vie: cognac.

 

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  1. Courvoisier VSOP Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Established in Paris, in the French suburb of Bercy in 1809, by Emmanuel Courvoisier and Louis Gallois, the then mayor of Bercy. Courvoisier began as a wine and spirits company. Initially starting out as cognac traders for, the duo eventually became producers of cognac.

    The cognac label gained immense notoriety when Napoleon Bonaparte’s heir Napoleon III personally requested Courvoisier in 1869 personally bestowing the cognac house with the honorable title of "Official Supplier to the Imperial Court" a distinction that is well known to this day, prominently displayed at the Courvoisier museum in Jarnac.

    Centuries later Courvoisier has become a household name. The drink of choice amongst royalty and famous icons. The company, now owned by Beam Suntory, has been making Cognac, and only Cognac for more than 200 years. This VSOP is a subtle balance of oak and exotic flavors bringing together Grande and Petite Champagnes, enhanced by floral fruity Fins Bois.

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    Soft, luscious aroma of ripe peach. Toasted almonds, jasmine, fruity and musk notes, evoking jasmine aroma.
    $39.99
  2. Branson VSOP Grande Champagne Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    This is reflected in Branson VSOP Grande Champagne Cognac. Where the VSOP designation means that the juice needs to be 4 years old, the majority of the eaux-de-vie in this expression is 7 years old. As the name implies, the components come from Grande Champagne. Distilled on a pot still from the 1800s and aged in French oak, this 80-proof cognac is elegant, fruity, spicy, and complex.

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    It's a golden cognac with bronze highlights that opens with fruity, floral, spice, and tobacco aromas including fresh peach, clove, and cinnamon. The palate mirrors the aromas with the addition of vanilla, dried fruit, and licorice. The finish is smooth and extra-long.
    $50.99
  3. Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Martell Cordon Bleu is a classic favorite among cognac connoisseurs, it is one of the most popular expressions not only in the Martell range, but in the world of cognac. This legendary 80 proof XO offering is an “An explosion of deliciously fruited, spice notes.” With its trademark dark blue seal stamped with the Martell family crest, the Cordon Bleu is a timeless Borderies cognac blended with eaux-de-vie aged up to 25 years. It is bottled at 40% ABV.

    This Martell expression is characterized by its fruitiness. On the nose there are aromas of orchard fruits like crystallized plums and apples, and roasted notes of mocha coffee, toasted almonds, and vetiver. It has a Well-rounded mellow mouthfeel with a smooth sustained finish of fruit, spice notes, gingerbread and roasted cocoa beans.

    The Martell cognac house is the most longstanding of all the major cognac houses. For over three hundred years, this House has been passed down through generations. They pride themselves on their rich heritage and craftsmanship. Martell was founded in 1715 by Jean Martell, along the river Charente, at the very pinnacle of the French L’Art de Vivre. This French concept of “the art of living,” embodies the notion that one should elegantly embrace the richness of life. House Martell strives to capture this essence in their craft.

    Martell, a member of a prominent merchant family from the Jersey Channel, started what would become a rich legacy in the cognac industry. The young Briton began this journey as a broker, purchasing casks of Borderies cognac and wine and selling them in the Channel islands, Normandy, Picardy and Holland. Successive failures due to the economic climate at the time saw a great rise and fall of wine and cognac prices. But with Jean’s entrepreneurial spirit, and through profitable marriages into families of prominent cognac merchants, (particularily to Jeanne-Rachel Lallemand, “a direct descendant of Jacques Roux, a pioneering 17th century cognac merchant”), House Martell saw great success.

    In 1721, it is reported that they exported over 200,000 liters of signature blend to Great Britain alone. After Jean Martell’s death in 1753, the operation was taken over by his widow, his two sons, Jean and Frédéric, and his brother-in-law Louis Gabriel (brother of Jeanne-Rachel Lallemand), who further developed the house, transcendently expanding its influence. By the 19th century, Martell had established itself as the most prominent international exporter of cognac in the world, reaching as far as China and Japan.

    The Martell distillery uses grapes from the major cognac regions, predominantly Ugni Blanc (or Trebbiano) grapes from the Borderies vineyards, and ages its cognac in distinctive Tronçais oak casks. They use a double distillation method, with traditional "Charentais alembics" (pot stills). House Martell has full range of cognacs; a collection of 10 expressions. Most notably among them: their popular Martell Cordon Bleu created by Édouard Martell in 1912.

    “The preponderance of Borderies eaux-de-vie gives Martell Cordon Bleu an elegant, mellow and complex character.”

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    Martell’s Cordon Bleu is characterized by its fruitiness. On the nose there are aromas of orchard fruits like crystallized plums and apples, and roasted notes of mocha coffee, toasted almonds, and vetiver. It has a Well-rounded mellow mouthfeel with a sustained finish of fruit, spice notes, gingerbread and roasted cocoa beans.
    $177.99
  4. d'Ussé Cognac XO

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Rating:
    73%
    1
    The Otard family can be traced back to the mid 9th century, to a Norwegian warrior, Ottar. James O’Tard was created a Baron in 1701 after fighting alongside Louis XIV of France. His great-grandson, Jean-Baptiste Antoine Otard established the French Cognac house in 1795, in his name. The Château de Cognac he purchased was built in the tenth century to protect the villagers from Norman invaders.

    The Cognac house has remained in the family ever since. Situated in the Cognac region overlooking the Charente, the historical Château de Cognac castle is the birthplace of French King François I, where cognac production has been taking place since 1796. The chateau was chosen largely due in part to its cellars, which provided unique properties for the aging of the cognacs. D’Ussé Cognac is a product of Bacardi that is produced at the Chateau de Cognac. Released in June of 2012, in New York, D’Ussé is a collaboration with hip-hop mogul Jay-Z.

    This cognac is blended meticulously by Maître de Chai Michel Casavecchia who hand-selects the finest eaux-de-vie from the cellars of the Château de Cognac to craft the unique blend of d’Ussé XO Cognac. His unyielding standards require the eaux-de-vie to be aged ten years or more in French oak barrels to assure the utmost complexity and depth in flavor. “d’Ussé XO Cognac delivers rich flavor notes of ripe blackberry and apricot, layered with hints of dark chocolate and walnut, culminating in an exceptionally balanced finish” (producer). This incredibly aromatic and inviting XO is bottled in an luxe black vile, emblazoned with a medieval, regal silver double cross.

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    Aromatic notes of dark wood, cloves, cinnamon, currants, coffee, subtle fruit and toasted wood. The palate offers rich flavor notes of ripe blackberry and apricot, layered with hints of dark chocolate and walnut, culminating in an exceptionally balanced finish.
    $148.99
  5. Hardy Legend 1863 Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    In 1863, a London importer named Anthony Hardy settled along the banks of the River Charente in France and founded Maison Hardy, one of the oldest prestigious cognac houses in the country. Hardy quickly immersed himself in French culture, going so far as to adopt the Gaelic form of his name, Antoine. In 1869, his hard work and dedication to Cognac were rewarded when Maison Hardy Cognac Fine Champagne was awarded the Diploma of Excellence at the Amsterdam exhibition, one of the most prestigious awards at the time.

    Today, Bénédicte Hardy represents the fifth generation of Hardy Cognac makers. "We have always asserted our own, very particular spirit," says Hardy. "Our cognac style is the exact opposite of robust, and we wanted the colors of the collection to embody the mild character, finesse and daring style that are our hallmarks."

    Hardy Legend 1863 is a tribute to the Hardy family as well as the world of cognac in general. Crafted from Ugni Blanc grapes, it contains Champagne, Fins Bois, and Borderies eaux-de-vie that have spent between 2 and 12 years in French Limousin oak. A rooster ― the symbol of France as well as the cognac house ― adorns the bottle with a unique and attractive design.

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    A gentle nuttiness, crème brûlée, citrus, marmalade, and dried fruit aromas greet the nose. The palate has butterscotch, caramel, fruit, vanilla, and cappuccino notes, culminating in an elegant and long finish.
    $50.99
  6. Hennessy Pure White Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Rating:
    58%
    4
    Hennessy Pure White Cognac is an intriguing blend of eaux-de-vie between two and 50 years from the Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, and Fins Bois regions, which yields a very intricate, pure cognac. Challenge to produce, this distinctive cognac is light and delicate in character with its fresh, simple notes.

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    Subtle floral aromas on the nose. The palate is fruity with a delicate, intricate character. The finish is lingering, smooth and light.
    $159.99
  7. Remy Martin XO Red Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    The Remy Martin XO is a signature Remy Martin expression, created by the Remy Martin Cellar Master. A blend of up to several hundred eaux-de-vie from both the Grande Champagne (85%) and Petite Champagne (15%) terroirs, this is a beautiful Fine Champagne Cognac. The delicate aromas greet you on the powerful yet understated nose while the opulent and complex palate brings plum, mature fig, candied orange, hints of cinnamon, and hazelnuts. The finish is exceptionally smooth with flavors of roasted cocoa beans, honey, and ginger. Enjoy neat, on ice as an aperitif or in an Old Fashioned. This release features the XO in special, gold-adorned packaging that was released for the holiday season.

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    The delicate aromas greet you on the powerful yet understated nose while the opulent and complex palate brings plum, mature fig, candied orange, hints of cinnamon, and hazelnuts. The finish is exceptionally smooth with flavors of roasted cocoa beans, honey, and ginger.
    $193.99
  8. Hardy XO Rare Fine Champagne Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    In 1863, a London importer named Anthony Hardy settled along the banks of the River Charente in France and founded Maison Hardy, one of the oldest and prestigious cognac houses in the country. Hardy quickly immersed himself in French culture, going so far as to adopt the Gaelic form of his name, Antoine. In 1869, his hard-work and dedication to Cognac were rewarded when Maison Hardy Cognac Fine Champagne was awarded the Diploma of Excellence at the Amsterdam exhibition, one of the most prestigious awards at the time.

    Today, Bénédicte Hardy represents the fifth generation of Hardy Cognac makers. "We have always asserted our own, very particular spirit," says Hardy. "Our cognac style is the exact opposite of robust, and we wanted the colors of the collection to embody the mild character, finesse and daring style that are our hallmarks.”

    This Hardy XO Rare Cognac expression is a release from the ‘Tradition’ range from the Hardy Cognac house. The blend of eaux-de-vie is exquisitely aged, yielding a spirit beautifully amber in color. The layered palate is a continuous evolution of inspiring flavors. This smooth cognac has compelling aromas and a delectably long finish.

    Bottled in a beautiful decanter with a contemporary style, this signature XO Rare cognac “draws you into a world like no other: draped in its amber-tinted vermilion robe, its magical fresh rose petal, ripe date and cigar box scents are an enchantment. The silky texture that comes with the maturity of a great XO is equaled only by its incredibly long-lasting flavors” (producer).

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    Savory bouquet on the nose with ripe notes of fruit, elegant notes of ripe pear, roasted almond and apricot, and aged cheese. The palate is smooth, with notes of dried fruit, vanilla, raisins, and floral notes. The finish is plump firm and long.
    $135.99
  9. Delord 25 Year Old Bas Armagnac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Rating:
    100%
    3
    Situated in the Bas Armagnac region of France, Maison Delord was founded in 1893 by Prosper Delord. Prosper was a travelling distiller (he carried a pot-still with him while traveling to different farms in the Armagnac region) before he purchased his own estate in the village of Lannepax with his wife, Marie Duffau.

    Before his death in 1912, Prosper passed the estate on to his sons, Gaston and Georges, who eventually passed it along to their sons, Jacques and Pierre Delord. Today, Jerome and Sylvain Delord — Prosper Delord's great grandsons — manage the prime 20 hectare estate located in the western part of Bas Armagnac, widely known as the "First Cru."

    The Delord brothers grow Colombard, Ugni Blanc and Folle Blanche grapes on their estate without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. The mild, sunny autumns and cool breezes of the Bas Armagnac region, as well the estate's acidic soil and high mineral content, are especially suited for growing grapes.

    After the grapes have been harvested, they are pressed and fermented before being distilled in a single pass through Delord's antique, Sier alembic stills. The stills are incredibly small — they produce only 30 liters of Bas Armagnac each hour — and are operated at low temperatures (typically, between 54 and 58 degrees), which enables the Bas Armagnac to preserve more of the flavors and fatty acids of the grapes.

    Once the grapes have been distilled, the Bas Armagnac is aged for a minimum of 25 years in Maison Delord's cellars. The cellars hold just over 1,000 casks at any given time, the oldest of which are housed in a special area of the cellar known as Paradise (the oldest cask dates back to 1900). During maturation, Delord 25 Year Old Bas-Armagnac picks up notes of old leather, dates, toffee and caramel, which ultimately lead to a slightly nutty finish with a touch of cashews, hazelnuts and vanilla. Although the hints of caramel, honey and chocolate are slightly reminiscent of bourbon and scotch, the flavor is uniquely different.

    Following its quarter-century beauty rest, the Bas Armagnac is brought to proof before each bottle is filled and sealed by hand with wax. Delord 25 Year Old Bas-Armagnac earned a score of 96 points from Wine Enthusiast and five stars from F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal, which recognized it as one of the top 10 greatest spirits of all time.

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    Subtle and complex nose, with hints of nuts, fruit and chocolate. Initial palate is bursting with flavor, including notes of dates, figs, toffee, caramel and chewy leather. Flavor fades to hints of chocolate and finishes with notes of cashews, hazelnuts and vanilla. Slightly reminiscent of bourbon.
    $90.99
  10. Torres 30 Jaime I. Brandy Reserva de la Famiglia

    Proof76 (38% ABV)
    Size750mL
    The House of Torres was founded in 1870 by Jaime Torres Vendrell, but their history dates as far back as the 18th century when the Torres family bought their first vineyard in the Penedès region. The resilient House of Torres established itself as one of Span’s leading wineries, producing some of the finest Spanish Wines in the country. Based in Barcelona, the family began producing brandy in the 20th century.

    The brandy is named “Torres 30 Jaime” in honor of the founder Jaime Torres, the “30” refers to the average age of the brandies in the blend. The brandy is comprised of several Parellada wines, aged in American oak casks. For the final blend, several soleras chosen from among the oldest in the Torres cellars. There are several grape varieties used in the blend, but the majority of the blend is the famed Parellada grape — a regional variety that Bodega Torres is well-known for.

    The nose offers aromas of dried fruit and nuts (toasted hazelnut) with hints of vanilla and toffee. The plate is well-balanced, smooth and decadent. Packaged in a distinctive, artistic decanter, this brandy is fragrant and decadent. Not to mention, highly decorated. The Spanish spirit received a Double Gold medal at the 2016 San Francisco Spirits Competition, and Gold medals at the 2017 International Spirits Challenge and International Wine & Spirits Competition.

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    Noble dark mahogany in color. The nose offers aromas of dried fruit and nuts (toasted hazelnut) with hints of vanilla and toffee. Round and smooth on the palate. The spiced, sensual power imparted by oak aging distinguishes this very old brandy. Impressive persistence and balance.
    $136.99