Page 1 of 1

Cognac intermediate - Would like advice "where to go next"

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:37 am
by Mikel
Pardon my question, but where I live, finding people who are experienced in Cognac are not to be found and I thought I might post this here.

I've been drinking Cognac for perhaps six years, but I can not claim to be an expert. I cannot identify the individual fruits and flavors so I have more education ahead of me. At this point I've had approximately 25 or so different Cognacs, and I have, by now, developed some favorites as well as some dislikes, and thus I was hoping if I told the forum what I like (so far) and what I don't like (so far), that perhaps some guidance in cognacs to find "next" would be offered. Perhaps in my list the experts here might find a certain "signature" that identifies things I like and this could be used for guidance to things I have not yet tried.

In terms of things l like and dislike:

Hine Triomphe: To me this has an excellent finish. It is a bit "hot" initially but there is a depth to this that appeals to me. One of my very favorites, third or fourth place on my admittedly small list.

Maison Surrenne Lot David Picoron: Very cohesive to me - all parts from beginning to end make sense and there is a clarity combined with complexity I enjoy. I've had longer finishes, but I really, truly enjoyed this product. This is my second favorite.

Maison Surrenne 1946 GC: This has a finish I like and seems a little bit richer and deeper than the David Picoron, and for now, remains the favorite amongst the few cognacs I have tried.

I should note that amongst the other Surrenne bottlings I really like their Borderies and their XO is nice as well, and their Petite Champagne entry level is a steal for the price, but I found their Tonneau No. One to be confusing and all over the place, and isn't something I really enjoyed.

I had the Pierre Ferrand Selection Des' Agnes a few years ago and was very impressed. A definite favorite that vies with Hine Triomphe in that Bronze medal position.

Normandin Mercier Prestige Fine Champagne was quite enjoyable as well. I didn't see it as clearly defined as some of the others, but I still would prefer this over most of the "big 4"

In terms of the major producers, I've had and very much enjoyed Remy Louis XIII, but I can't say that I liked it better than the two higher end Surrenne bottlings. Remy for me would be my favorite of the big 4 however - I have enjoyed their "Extra" and XO, but they both would sit middle of the pack compared to the smaller producers I've had so far. Still, I'd never turn a glass of either of these three from Remy down.

In terms of Cognacs I did not enjoy at all, I have not liked anything from Delamain: I've had their Tres Venerables and XO and strongly disliked each, thinking them over priced and weak tasting. I also didn't think much of Landy XO

SO, given that list, do any of you have suggestions of where I might go next?

Thanks for reading..

Re: Cognac intermediate - Would like advice "where to go nex

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:54 pm
by numen
Hi Mikel, and welcome to the forum. It looks like you've sampled a really interesting and eclectic bunch of cognacs so far.

I'm guessing that you're in the US (based on the Maison Surrenne). One really special bottle that leapt to mind when looking at your list was 'Paul-Marie et Fils Devant la Porte.' It's probably the cognac that's reminded me most of the MS 1946, but maybe just a bit chewier, richer, and darker. I'm not sure what your general price-range is, or what, precisely, is available to you. My notes for the DlP were (apparently, I forgot to put them on the forum):

Nose: There is a very thick and syrupy quality here. It needs a second to let some of the alcohol blow off; there's just a touch of it. Extremely impressive and lively for a 58 year old spirit! Lots going on, and very layered. Loads of caramel-toffee, stewed figs (very concentrated), cocoa, dry tea leaves, marshmallowy vanilla, even maybe some coffee, and the inside of a humidor with a few Cohibas. Lots to love. It's still very fresh and fruit is strongly in the undercurrent. It's something akin to acidic (green) grapes and green apple skin.

Palate: Chewy, and have on the cocoa and coffee. The coffee actually reminds me of a very perfect finish on Glenfarclas style sherried whiskies. Fig-honey, dense. In the fig, there is, again, the green apple-ness, and grapiness. It keeps the other elements going, though it ultimately pushes out the more distinct chocolate and coffee, the residue of which remain. Very excellent wood, more on aged oak than traditional rancio charentais.

Finish: Lasts and lasts. Syrupy, but it's never 'sweet' or rough. It's a definite powerhouse, and it really brings all the elements together rather nicely. It's very surprising for being both so vivacious, while also picking up some of the nicer elements of an older expression. I'm actually not a fan of that green apple flavor profile outside Calvados. I don't know why, but it bothers me, and I'm a bit sensitive to it. All the same, it's fantastic stuff, and the quality is evident. I'll quit my minor gripe and just call it an 'A'

Also, with the Tonneau no. 1, it's worth keeping track of which one you tried; there are a few different batches of it with noticeably different quality. Germain-Robin has not done a good job keeping track of what's in all the bottles. Anyway, there's a possible recommendation

Re: Cognac intermediate - Would like advice "where to go nex

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:18 pm
by Mikel
Thank you for your suggestions.
I am in the US; unfortunately in a region where alcohol shipping laws are problematic, but I'll keep an eye out for the Paul-Marie in my travels :)

As for the MS Tonneau #1 - I had one from the "270 bottles" batch about 5 years ago IIRC. I think it (the bottle) was from when MS first brought this one out. I had stumbled across a bottle along with their Petite Champagne while in a local shop looking for my favorite Gin (Blackwoods) and the owner suggested I try it. Thought enough of the Petite Champagne given the very affordable price to look at other items in the Surrene/GR lineup.


Re: Cognac intermediate - Would like advice "where to go nex

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:57 pm
by Pierre
Hi Mikel, I haven't sampled any of the cognacs that you liked (although I had some Remy Martin XO and did not enjoy it particularly), and worst I really enjoyed Delamain Pale and Dry, so I fear I might not be a good advice on this :mrgreen: Sorry, I hope you can find something to your taste !

Re: Cognac intermediate - Would like advice "where to go nex

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:26 am
by JKT
Sounds like you've had a lot of great stuff. The Maison Surrenne David Picoron sounds intriguing.

I agree with Numen on the Paul Marie Devant La Porte- that's my favorite so far.

Upper end Audry's or Tesserons might be worth trying. Bouju's are re-entering the market.

Cask strengths are good. K&l has brought over a few like their commandons.

Perhaps some vintage cask strength armagnacs might be another direction.

Re: Cognac intermediate - Would like advice "where to go nex

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:11 pm
by BSinTX
There is no road map as to where to go next. Try as many products as you can within the limits of your means (no credit card purchases.) Many of us are limited due to shipping restrictions and must sample from products available in our local area. Don't let this stop you from searching. I am typically in a different state each week and do my best to recon the area for good liquor stores. Also if you have any friends or family who live in another state, you can get online and see what is available to them. Duty free shops have pretty decent selections (depending on location) and are a great source for the unique bottlings.

I did a review last year on Delamain Tres Venerable and found it less than astounding; seems like we are on the same page.

Re: Cognac intermediate - Would like advice "where to go next"

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:53 pm
by Fuzhou
Hi Mikel, How's your cognac tasting journey been so far? Have you discovered more interesting bottles?