I don’t often review Cognac on my wee blog, but when I do, it counts. Of course, with my very limited knowledge of the distillate, and it being completely off my radar, this is because the people at Passie voor Whisky (Passion for Whisky) were kind enough to send a sample of their 50 year old (!) Cognac for reviewing.
I know Domaine Jean-Luc Pasquet is a popular one with whisky lovers because it’s been popping up at shops like Passion for Whisky, with a 1967 one being available a couple of months ago. I still need to review that one, as well as some others that I’ve lying around.
Interestingly, the Cognacs that have been coming out recently, from those people who love whisky, is quite different from my experience with Cognac over the last couple of years. Before, Cognac was that 40% drink with a lot of boisé forced woodiness, without it adding much depth. My father in law loves his Cognac, and I’ve tried some from him over the years. None of them were convincing.
However, these new releases from Jean-Luc Pasquet, Vallein Tercinier and Prunier that have been popping up are nothing like what I had before. There’s a lot of complexity and layeredness. There’s also a lot of maturity without it feeling forced. And, not to its detriment, there’s diversity. I’ve had quite some old, sometimes very old, Armagnacs, but for some reason those start to taste like oak and not much else after about three decades.
As an added benefit there’s that little bit of being more affordable than old whisky. Of course, € 250 (which the bottle that’s about to be reviewed costs) is nothing to scoff at, but at 50 years old, it’s a fraction of what a similarly aged whisky would cost.
There’s quite some oak, but it’s not overpowering. It’s more like a canvas for the other scents. A lot of rather crisp fruity notes, with orange peel, tangerine. It’s slightly buttery, a bit beurre noisette like. Roasted almonds, too.
The palate is rather gentle, with oak, a bitter almond note and slightly burnt butter. Toasted bread, even. Orange peel with a bit of pithiness, with a bit of a marmalade sweetness too. It gets a bit more zesty with a minute on the palate. It’s more tropical than the nose with a hint of mango.
The finish is slightly more typical with a bit more oak, and more focus on the grape fruitiness. There’s a bit of a syrupy sweetness, with thick grape pulp, as well as the orangy notes from before.
Honestly, this is a ridiculously tasty Cognac. It also makes me feel a bit incompetent by not getting more specific flavors out of it, or at least, not being able to describe them appropriately.
Having said that, the tangerine and orange notes in combination with the oak and a lot of maturity makes for a very Christmas-y drinking experience. It’s soothing, it’s complex and fit for the season, although I can see this working in summer too. Highly recommended!
It’s available at Passie voor Whisky, who kindly sent me a sample.