1. 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.
    $187.99
  2. Hine Antique XO Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Rating:
    67%
    (1)
    "We are one of the smaller houses in Cognac and produce a small percentage of what the major houses do," says Francois Le Grelle, the Managing Director at the House of Hine. "For us, it's not about growth — it's about maintaining the highest level of quality."

    Founded in 1817, the House of Hine has been in the same family for six generations. In 1791, Thomas Hine — the company's founder — left his native England in order to learn the art of making cognac. Today, nearly 225 years later, his great-great-great-great grandson, Bernard Hine, oversees the 297-acre Hine Estate.

    Situated on the banks of the River Charente, the estate benefits from a south-facing aspect, which maximizes the grapes' exposure to sunshine and heat. In addition, "we only work with Grande and Petite Champagne where the soils are very chalky," explains Eric Forget, Hine's Cellar Master. "Hine's finesse comes from the terroir."

    Hine XO is a blend of approximately forty eaux-de-vie produced exclusively from Grande Champagne grapes. Inspired by Cyrano de Bergerac and his plumed hat and poetic speech this XO cognac is a beautiful example of where fruit meets oak, revealing ripe notes of hazelnut, quince and mild spices, appearing amid accents of fig tart and blonde tobacco. A light complexity evolves midway on the palate, accompanied by a sleek vivacity. Mature notes of mimolette or cheddar cheese, roasted pineapple or a few pieces of orange chocolate, lingers even longer.

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    Ripe notes of hazelnut, quince and mild spices, appearing amid accents of fig tart and blonde tobacco. A light complexity evolves midway on the palate, accompanied by a sleek vivacity. Mature notes of mimolette or cheddar cheese, roasted pineapple or a few pieces of orange chocolate linger on the finish.
    $218.99
  3. Bache Gabrielsen Natur & Eleganse XO Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    After emigrating from Norway to France in pursuit of the woman who would eventually become his bride, Thomas Bache-Gabrielsen founded a distillery in the Cognac region of France in 1905. At the time, Thomas' father was an executive at Holmestrands Samlag for Brændevinshandel, the largest alcohol producer in Norway, and Thomas brought with him the traditions and techniques inherited from his family lineage. Today, Maison Bache-Gabrielsen is one of the last remaining, family-run cognac houses in France (the distillery is run by Hervé Bache-Gabrielsen, Thomas' great-grandson).

    Bache Gabrielsen Cognac XO Natur & Eleganse is a blend of eaux de vie produced without the traditional permitted additives, with Ugni Blanc grapes from the Fin Bois (60%) Grande Champagne (25%) and Petite Champagne (28%) crus (cru is French term for growth zones) of France. These crus are highly-prized for their chalky, rich soil which are ideal for the production of grapes used to make the cognac. Once the grapes from these crus are harvested, they are pressed and the remaining grape juice is fermented in stainless steel fermentation tanks. The resultant eaux de vie is then distilled twice through a traditional, alambic Charentais still.

    Bache-Gabrielsen’s Pure & Rustic range of cognacs is a collaborative project with Cellar Master Jean-Philippe Bergier. Produced in a modern, light, fresh style, its richly fruited notes are deeply reminiscent of rustic life in Cognac. Both blue and white labels are used for the Pure & Rustic range. The white labels are of a very limited edition, with all the bottles being numbered. “Such limited editions usually come from oak casks of rare cognacs that our Cellar Master, Jean-Philippe Bergier, has got his hands on through his many good contacts and long-standing working relationships” (Bache Gabrielsen).

    Elegant and complex, Natur & Eleganse is aged in Limousin oak casks for over 10 years. With layers of mellow fruit flavors complemented by light floral notes and a hint of vanilla and a dry finish, this special cognac won a Silver Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2010.

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    On the nose are rich aromas of fruit, and oak. On the palate are well rounded notes of brandy and vanilla. The finish is medium length, with warm, creamy vanilla and mild red berry notes.
    $96.99
  4. Hennessy Pure White Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Rating:
    60%
    (1)
    Maison Hennessy is one of the most iconic and distinguished cognac houses. The brand, which has become synonymous with cognac, has significantly shaped the course of the history of this sophisticated French spirit. The dynastic Hennessy family has been dominating the Cognac industry for two and a half centuries. In 1765, Richard Hennessy, an Irish officer serving in Louis XV’s army, set out to create the world’s finest cognac. The refined and highly popularized elixir became a thriving export business, shipping as far as Ireland, Britain, and all throughout Europe.

    Today, Hennessy is part of LVMH Group, prevailing as one of the most famous innovative, revolutionary cognac companies in the world. The brand is known for cultivating profitable relationships across markets, like its well-known relationship to the Hip-Hop industry. The Hennessy estate/headquarters are based in the famous town of Cognac in Charente, where cognac production reigns supreme.

    In 1859, the Prince of Wales, (King George IV of Great Britain), decreed that Hennessy create a "very superior old pale cognac," this designation is now used across the entire industry. As the world’s first, and most favorited V.S.O.P’s, a blend of over 60 eau-de-vie are combined to create a harmonious blend of flavors. This masterful art of blending attests to the enduring expertise of the Hennessy Master Blenders.

    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.
    $235.99
  5. Maison Dudognon Vieille Reserve Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Maison Dudogon is situated in the Grande Champagne Cru du Cognac. Keepers of the vine, the Maison Dudognon are farmers who have kept the land for generations, feeding and working it while maintaining the delicate balance of the soil. Maison Dudognon has a long-standing relationship with the grand cru, and have upheld the highest quality of production since its inception.

    The Ugni Blanc is the main grape variety in the area is but in recent years they have taken to the replanting of the Montils and Folle Blanche varieties. The harvests are carried out mechanically and in several stages. The Folle Blanche, early varieties are harvested and vinified separately first. Then the Montils and Ugni Blanc grapes. The Maison produces some of the most fragrant, quality eau-de-vie on the market.

    At Maison Dudognon, the first November frosts are the queue to “fire" up the stills. The first pass of wine yields an average 28% alcohol per volume. The second heater or "Good Heater" is what results in the cognac. This resultant spirit is a brandy containing 70% alcohol per volume.

    At this stage, the Cognac passes to the hands of the Cellar Master who magically goes to work aging and blending. All spirits are housed in new oak barrels before being transferred to older ones. The choose the oak they purchase according to its drying property.

    This "Vieille Reserve" expression is a blend of barrels averaging two decades in age. When the eau-de-vie turns the ripe age of 20 the grapes in the blend start to showcase their fruitier nuttier flavors characteristic to Cognac.

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    Oak, floral notes, honey, and citrus on the nose. The palate mimics the palate with further floral notes on the palate with a variety of citrus, with an added element of vanilla and spice on the finish.
    $87.99
  6. Landy VSOP Cognac

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    The history of Landy Cognac can be traced all the way back to 1891 when the prestigious Briand family of the Cognac region. Their fine Cognacs are blended when the eaux-de-vie reach peak maturity. After several years of aging, Landy cellar masters meticulously blend the cognacs with subtle alchemy, harmoniously combining them to create a distinctive cognac, perfectly blended in the style that is uniquely Landy.

    Landy Cognacs are distilled using distinctive 25 hectoliter copper pot stills. These small stills, facilitate a concentration of aromas and flavors in the wine. After distillation, the young Landy Cognac is initially rested lightly in the cool of the cellars, in Limousin oak casks, each holding 380 liters of spirit. These barrels have a wealth of tannins, giving it an ideal structure for aging. After approximately a year, the spirit is transferred to older casks – the “red casks.” these casks have softer tannins that enable the cognac to mature in perfect condition while avoiding the development of overzealous oak flavors.

    Landy cognac has fiery amber hues. It is a beautiful mellow cognac, with long and pleasant lingering notes on the palate. The palate is smooth with vanilla and ripe fruit flavors rounded by oakier notes. This exquisite cognac received a double gold medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

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    Honey and dried fruit, and toffee aromas. Sweet on the palate, with caramel. Complex flavors on the finish, with a bit of coffee and cigar tobacco.
    $51.99
  7. Argonaut Speculator Brandy

    Proof86 (43% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Argonaut started producing brandy eight decades after Prohibition was repealed. Their distillation method resembles whiskey, distilled with both alembic and coffey stills, aged in ex-bourbon barrels. They utilize Prulho alembic pot stills housed at their McCall Distillery in Sanger (one of the oldest distilleries in California), as well as a Vendome column Coffey still. They blend their product from over 100 aged brandy stocks, ranging from two years to over two decades. This incredible alchemy strikes the perfect balance of flavor and mouthfeel.

    Dubbed their “Brandy Queen,” Rita Hansen, the master distiller and blender of Argonaut, a second generation winemaker, Rita applies her incredible reservoir of knowledge to all steps of the Argonaut process, from the winemaking to distilling, aging, and blending. Rita draw from a variety of vintages, grape varietals, barrel sources and distillations methods resulting in very unique blends. With a combined 80+ years of vineyard expertise Argonaut staff picks grapes at their optimal ripeness for distillation with striking the ideal balanced flavor profile. They ferment their brandy wines and distill within 30 days to lock in the freshest flavors.

    Using both alembic pot stills from their McCall distillery and Coffey stills they create the ideal foundation to build a superior California brandy. Overseeing the production process from start to finish. Argonauts meticulous step by step process maintains the highest quality standards of brandy. Bottled without artificial coloring, or High Fructose Corn Syrup, or additional flavors.  The only elements of this premium California Brandy are 100% grapes and barrels. Just straight premium.

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    Elegant aromas of chrysanthemum and yellow fruits, a kiss of sweetness followed by yellow plums, clover honey and subtle floral bouquets. The finish is dry and gently aromatic.
    $42.99
  8. Asbach Uralt 3 Year Old Brandy

    Proof&6 (38% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Asbach Uralt is a German brandy produced by the Asbach GmbH. It’s history dates back to the late 19th century when Hugo Asbach founded the company in the town of Rüdesheim am Rhein, at 24 years old. A Cologne native, Hugo gained knowledge for the industry from a local Export-Company for German Cognac.

    This unique German spirit was aged for up to 3 years in Limousin oak casksand earned Silver Medal/88 points from Beverage Tasting Institute in 2017.

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    Sweet notes of fruit and vanilla. Strawberry aromas, and cherries linger on the nose, with nougat, baked goods on the palate followed by lilac and smooth, bright, fruity notes, dark chocolate, and nuts on the finish.
    $37.99
  9. St. George Pear Brandy

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Founded in 1982 by German-born Jörg Rupf, St. George Spirits is one of the oldest craft distilleries in the United States. The distillery, housed in an old World War II airplane hangar on a former naval base on the edge of San Francisco, is home to Lance Winters, mad scientist and St. George’s master distiller.

    Winters, who is widely-known for experimenting with different types of spirits, has a laboratory dominated by a 10-liter test still in addition to the glass beakers and graduated cylinders that cover every inch of his counterspace. Next to the dusty chalkboards caked with equations for the conversion of sugar to alcohol and intricate diagrams of molecular structures are bottles of experimental whiskies, vodkas and even an aging balsamic vinegar (it’s 14 years old already).

    Our objective with St. George Pear Brandy, explains Winters, was to “take an olfactory snapshot to capture exactly what pears smell like at their peak of ripeness.” The brandy is made using aromatic, dry-farmed, organic Bartlett pears, which are distilled with their stems and leaves. “We pack about 30 pounds of fruit into every bottle,” says Winters.

    St. George Pear Brandy has an aroma of sweet citrus and pears that gives way to notes of apples, caramel, oak, cinnamon, and, of course, pears. The brandy was named one of the Top 50 Spirits of 2014 by F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal. Pick up a bottle today!

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    Aroma of sweet citrus and pears that gives way to notes of apples, caramel, oak, cinnamon, and, of course, pears.
    $42.99
  10. Osocalis Rare Alambic Brandy

    Proof80 (40% ABV)
    Size750mL
    Situated in the Santa Cruz area of California, Osocalis Distillery was founded in early 1990s by two California natives: Dan Farber and Jeffrey Emery. Farber had previously been involved in the production of brandy for over a decade, and studied the art of distilling in Cognac, France, before moving back to the United States. Emery, on the other hand, had been making wines for the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard for over a decade prior to founding the distillery. Together, the two founders have over sixty years of experience producing alcohol.

    Osocalis Rare Alambic Brandy is crafted from several grape varietals, with an emphasis on Pinot Noir, Semillion and Colombard. Once the California-grown grapes are harvested, they are pressed and fermented into a wine before being distilled through a 100-gallon, antique alambic Charentais still imported from France ("alambic" is an Arabic term that refers to a specific component on a specific kind of still, and is the type of still traditionally used to produce Cognac). "Fire heats steam, and the steam heats the still," says Farber, of the distillation process. "Distilling changes the character of the brandy." After the brandy has been distilled, it is matured in toasted, French oak barrels for a minimum of seven years.

    As a result, the brandy has a bold aroma of citrus, stone fruits, lemons and caramel that gives way to notes of spiced apples, caramelized oranges and tang on the palate. The finish is rich and lush, with touches of cinnamon, ripe apples and light nutmeg.

    Osocalis Rare Alambic Brandy earned a score of 96 points at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in 2014, which named it the Best Brandy in the World. In addition, it earned a score of 93 points from Wine Enthusiast, which named it one of the Top 50 Spirits of 2011. "You need time and patience," says Emery, in order to craft excellent brandy. "It's a very expensive, very time consuming process."

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    Bold aroma of citrus, stone fruits, lemons and caramel. Notes of spiced apples, caramelized oranges and tang on the palate. Finish is rich and lush, with touches of cinnamon, ripe apples and light nutmeg.
    $83.99
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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