While Cognac isn’t something I review an awful lot of, there is significantly more on this blog than I would have dared guess some years ago. Back then, when Cognac was still what it still is most known for, I didn’t much care about it. Still, that ‘blended into big brands’ is not something I care a lot about.
However, over the last few years, there’s been a bit of a change in some Cognac bottlings. Somehow, whisky people have started bottling Cognac, the result being a style that appeals to whisky people a lot more. Not entirely surprising, by that logic.
What I mean is that the Cognac is a bit more daring, a bit more edgy, and a bit stronger. There’s less focus on the drink being smooth, and more on character. More focus on showcasing the provenance, the distillery and the cask, without losing the flavor the ingredients bring to the glass.
As you might have imagined by now, I wasn’t a huge fan of Cognac until recently, with this new style. To me, the grain was always better than the grape. I’m not saying that that has changed, but the difference is smaller than it once was.
Anyway, let’s talk about this one then. I’m not 100% sure of this bottling’s origins, since the Grosperrin website states that Jean Grosperrin only started distilling in 1981, and generally, the number on the label means a vintage. Their story also states that a lot of casks have been bought, to prevent them from going into blends and losing their awesome quality.
So, based on that, I guess this is a sourced cask. By no means is that a negative thing, it is just interesting to know. Interestingly, this practice is very uncommon in Scotland because of laws preventing that kind of mixing of brand name and distillery name, but it is quite common in America, where many fledgling distilleries source casks.
This bottling was bottled by Passion for Whisky, who kindly sent me a sample to review. At the moment of writing it is available there for € 319.95.
The nose starts with a good helping of oak, tree bark and sawdust. After that I start getting notes of orange pulp and zest, but not bitterness. White grape syrup and a whiff of cedar.
The palate is rather intense, to which the ABV contributes quite a bit. Now, the orange note is a little bit more pithy than it was on the nose, which tones down the sweetness of the pulp a touch. Still, quite a fruity one, with mixed peppercorns and oak to round things out. Rather focused on the wood spices, and therefore a pretty dry experience, with oak and tree bark.
The flavours or the palate and the scents of the nose combine on the finish, where the slightly sweeter nose and the touch of bitterness of the palate meet in the middle. It is slightly more traditional because of it. A rather long finish with notes of oak, orange and grape. Some sawdust too.
I’m very glad that the approach Passion for Whisky has to their Cognac picks is very consistent. I do think this one is a tad less complex than the Pasquet that was released a few months ago, but it still is a rather cracking drink.
I love the combination of woody and spicy notes with the sweetness that the orange and grape flavors and scents add. It’s great that the orange-y note also adds a touch of bitterness, which combines nicely with the fruity sweetness.
All in all, a rather recommended bottle, if you ask me!
As said, it’s available here, and thanks a lot of sending the sample!