Excellent cognac brands – elixir or just an after dinner drink?

Cognac is a brandy that is produced only in the French region of Cognac. Grapes used in its production are usually Colombard, Ugni Blanc or Folle Blanche and the manner in which it is aged or distilled is different from that of brandy which can be made from different fruit. If you have information about the various cognac brands, then it will be easy to make a choice when it comes to buying your first cognac bottle.

Cognac is generally graded according to its aging and quality. The letters VS, VSOP and XO mean that the alcohol has been aged in a French cask for a particular period of time. VS stands for Very Special and it means that the aging has been for a period of around 2 years. VSOP means Very Special Old Pale that has been aged for at least 4 years, while XO which means Extra Old is aged for a minimum period of 6 years in an oak barrel.

Various cognac brands are classified according to the regions in which they have been distilled. For example, regions like Borderies, Bons Bois, Fins Bois and Bois Ordinaires, Petite Champagne an Grad Champagne produce excellent cognac with distinctive and different flavors due to the soil in which the grapes have been grown. This is the reason why it is essential to read the labels on the cognac bottles so that you are well informed about various aspects of the wine.

While one can easily buy an excellent cognac for an affordable price, there are plenty of cognac brands that are extremely expensive. However these rare brands are expensive because they are over 200 years old and are packaged in bottles that are exquisite. Known as “high end” cognac they are a collector’s dream and no doubt taste amazing.

Of all cognac brands, four stand out as most popular. These are Remy Martin, Courvoisier, Martell and Hennessy. These have been chosen by most because of the satisfying and excellent flavor and quality that has been perfected by the respective manufacturers over the years.

The Hennessy cognac is popular worldwide and some of its brands are the Black, Paradis and VSOP brands which are sold for around $20 to $50 a bottle. The Courvoisier was known as the choice of imperial courts and even served during the prestigious “Eiffel Tower” opening in the year 1889. Known for its blend of vanilla, apricots and figs its price ranges from $30 to $100 a bottle.

Remy Martin a winemaker from France produced this famous cognac and the XO and VSOP Excellence of the Remy Martin cognac brands range from $ 50 t0 $200 a bottle. Through the years the Martell cognac has gained perfection and popularity because of its excellent taste and quality. Most of these bottles are priced between $50 to $200.

When it comes to the best and most expensive Cognac brands one has to mention brands like Bisquit, Brillet, Camus, Courvoisier, Grand Mariner, Hennessy, Salignac, Tiffon etc. Among the most expensive cognac that has been bottled are the Courvoisier L’Spirit Decanter that is rich and smoky with the fragrance of apricot flowers and cinnamon, Frapin Cuvee 1888 that is a rare and rich blend of cognacs, Hardy Perfection 140 years Cognac that is supposed to be the oldest known cognac that is unblended in the world, and of course the $ 3.4 million Henri IV Cognac Grande Champagne that comes in a platinum and diamond encrusted container!