Hardy

Here you can talk about the experiences with the different brands and/or types of Cognac.
Pierre
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Hardy

Postby Pierre » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:22 am

As promised, I plunged my nose and tongue into some expressions of house Hardy. Hardy has a "classic range" of cognacs that is quite affordable and is worth considering. They seem proud of brewing a cognac with an "elegant profile".
I've procured a sample of the Napoleon and the XO, which average prices seem to be around 45€ and 65€.

I must say I quite enjoyed the Napoleon: you can find some wood there (something I like to feel in my brandy), and there's a clear presence of white and maybe yellow fruit there, things like pears and apples... Actually more on a baked version of it, it reminds me a bit of my crumble pie with apples and pears, that might be why :mrgreen: It looks like what a Rémy Martin Coeur de Cognac would like to be, but sadly cannot achieve...
Now for the XO, well, I enjoyed it a bit less and I would almost say that it has a somewhat different profile, like it is really a different brand or something. It is closer to what an "elegant cognac" looks like in my mind, it has less wood in it and is a lot more on flowers, mainly white flowers and rose petals, both on the nose and palate. The nose actually displays a bit more alcohol than the Napoleon. It's not bad, better than my experience with Bache Gabrielsen XO I must say, I'm just not sure this is what I expect from a cognac... If I want something that I could label a bit delicate and elegant, I'd rather go with a Delamain Pale&Dry I think.

On a side note: I suspect that the composition and ageing of their XO is quite different from those of their Napoleon, i.e. that the XO is not the Napoleon with more time in the barrel but was selected at the beginning to be aged in a different manner (and coming possibly from different cepages and so on...). I would almost say, as a clue, that the XO's colour is actually paler than the Napoleon but we all know this doesn't say much nowadays...
Anyway, my luck is: the Napoleon is now being discontinued since Hardy decided to eliminate it in favour of a "Organic VSOP":
http://blog.cognac-expert.com/hardy-cognac-tradition-collection/

Well, life is change :D
BSinkY if you have anything more to add about the Napoleon, feel free ;)

BSinTX
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Re: Hardy

Postby BSinTX » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:28 am

First, I think I'm going to cry if they stop making the Napoleon. I have two bottles on hand at the moment, so it looks like I will have to hang onto them for a bit longer. One of my favorite "go to" Cognacs. I purchased the first bottle for $51 and the second (when they replenished their stocks) for $61. Even with the $10 price increase, the bottles flew off the shelves within a matter of weeks.

Every house has their own way of doing things. Sometimes the line is similar to one another from VS to XO and other places they are almost completely different products. I have a bottle of Hardy XO but I have not tried it so I cannot compare it to the Napoleon. It does not surprise me that you happen to enjoy the younger Napoleon to the older XO as aging can remove some of the ooomph that spirits can have. This is one of the reasons I am not a fan of 40% ABV; it just not some magical number where all spirits reach perfection. Watering down a well aged spirit can make it too mellow. If you check out my review on Delamain TV, I just didn't think it all that great (it was really good, don't misunderstand me), but certainly didn't pat me on the back and call me old friend.

On the Hardy Napoleon (I dont' have any in front of me, so I am going by memory), I get a nice black cherry, vanilla, banana, dried fruit, and a tad bit of citrus. It's light enough to take a medium strength Habano and also a more powerful Partagas if the moment calls for it. It's one of those things where I don't mind too much the 40% ABV or whether or not it has any additives; at $51 per bottle (when I was drinking lots of it), it was the best stuff on the shelves for the price.

Pierre
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Re: Hardy

Postby Pierre » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:06 pm

Well, sorry for the bad news ! :twisted: And you're right, I forgot a bit of vanilla from the Napoleon :)

I'm following you on wanting a spirit with a bit more presence and punch, although I was on a "older is better" line until not such a long time ago. And also on letting older sauce at barrel proof, in my limited experience they seem to develop an interesting nose and a quite pleasurable finish but tend to lack a bit of a body (again, my experience is limited, but other reviews tend to underline this kind of feeling).
Still, I'd gladly have a sip of Hardy's prestige line, they have cognacs of 50 to 75 years old, and I'd be sooooo curious to try their Perfection line, pre-phyloxera cognac and super beautiful bottle (the prices are mad, obviously).

BSinTX
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Re: Hardy

Postby BSinTX » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:44 pm

I typed up a nice post and the hotel internet went down...... :evil:


I have not tried enough "old" Cognac to be anything of an expert on it. Most barreled spirits have a barrel life where the aging will eventually have a negative impact. There is so much that goes into this, that I couldn't begin to cover it here, but nothing improves with age indefinitely. We all like what we like; I think it important to try to hone in on what suits your tastes and then go from there. Just because some experienced cellar master states X product to be the best does not mean that I will have the same opinion. No doubt his opinion is more valid than mine hence why he is paid to make Cognac and I pay to drink it.

The oldest Cognac I have had that I can recall at the moment is the Delamain TV which I did a review on last year. It was good stuff, but hardly what I expected it to be. There could be a reason for this and age might be one of them. I have been sipping on spirits long enough to know that age and ABV go hand in hand. Higher ABV does not replace aging, but can give an older sauce a bit more oomph.

Have you poured the Napoleon and the XO in similar glasses and compared them? If anything, it will be an excellent learning guide for you. I sometimes do this with Bourbon and I add a splash of water in one. At times I have to remind myself they are the same product from the same bottle. Some Cognac houses keep the line similar to one another while others seem to have completely different blends between VS, VSOP, and XO. The journey never ends!!

Pierre
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Re: Hardy

Postby Pierre » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:23 pm

I tried them once one after the other, after I'd been surprised that they seemed somewhat different (to my taste at least, maybe I missed the common link :P ) but now the Napoleon sample is gone... It's indeed interesting, right now I am enjoying myself on a tasting set of different expressions from armagnac house Pellehaut, I might leave some comments here if I can fix an interesting description of my sensations: from this one I'm feeling the difference of the cépage since they have 100% Folle Blanche and 100% Ugni Blanc :mrgreen:

BSinTX
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Re: Hardy

Postby BSinTX » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:42 am

TPS just received 6 bottles of the Napoleon but with yet another price increase; it's now $67.99 per bottle. So much for being the deal of the century! Keep in mind that last year, it went for $51 per bottle. I guess I cannot blame them as this stuff FLEW off the shelves at that price! I may grab one more just because it's not going to be made any more.

Pierre
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Posts: 243
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 3:17 pm

Re: Hardy

Postby Pierre » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:23 am

Becoming a bit expensive, here in Europe it is still at 45€. Keep your hopes up, with the coming free trade agreement between the USA and the EU, you'll be able to import bottles from here without any additional tax... Except that the shipping will still be a bit high, maybe you'll have to share with numen :mrgreen:

Anyway, that may be worth going for their VSOP line now, maybe they go backwards and it's even better than the Napoleon !

BSinTX
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Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:52 am

Re: Hardy

Postby BSinTX » Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:28 pm

Actually, that happens to be the case with Chateau de Montifaud; I prefer the VSOP to the Napoleon. Unfortunately, they don't have the Hardy VSOP in stock; I'm anxious to try it (it's been out of stock for over a year now.)

My opinion is that the world should be a free trade zone. 8-)


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