The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Visit My Online Memorabilia Store

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • Industry Interviews

    Interviews

    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Follow Me on Twitter!

  • Copyright

    Copyright is inherent when an original work is created. This means that the producer of original work is automatically granted copyright protection. This copyright protection not only exists in North America, but extends to other countries as well. Thus, all of the work produced on this blog is protected by copyright, including all of the pictures and all of the articles. These original works may not be copied or reused in any way whatsoever without the permission of the author, Chip Dykstra.
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,234 other followers

  • Subscribe

  • Top Posts

  • What People are Saying:

    Arctic Wolf on Top 25 Rums of 2014
    Nick Apivor on Contact Me
    Paul on Top 25 Rums of 2014
    Arctic Wolf on Contact Me
    evgeny on Contact Me
    Gerard on Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of…
  • Archives

  • Visitors

    • 4,946,522 pageviews since inception

Posts Tagged ‘Cognac’

The 12 Cognacs of Christmas # 4 – Pierre Ferrand Selection Des Anges

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 18, 2014

Pierre Ferrand Selection des Anges (599x800)Pierre Ferrand uses only small (25-hectoliter) copper pot stills to produce their Cognac; and after distillation, the resulting distillate (eaux de vie) is matured in 270-liter French Limousin oak barrels. During this aging process, the cognac may rest in any of seven different aging cellars (each with traditional earthen floors). Within each of these cellars, the spirit is monitored, and may be transferred several times during its aging life to different cellars and/or to different oak casks (with differing char levels) to maintain the integrity and character of the spirit.

Pierre Ferrand Selection Des Anges is blended solely from aged eaux de vie produced within the 1st Cru de Cognac, specifically the Grande Champagne Cognac appellation of France. Although the final spirit has no age statement, according to the information provided to me, the Cognac is blended to achieve an average age of 30 years.

Here is a link to my review of this wonderful Pierre Ferrand Cognac:

The 12 Cognacs of Christmas # 4 – Pierre Ferrand Selection Des Anges

“… I was greeted with firm wood spices which oozed chocolate and baking spices (allspice & nutmeg) onto my palate. There is both fresh green grape as well as spicy raisin mingled into the pungent baking spices. I also taste bits of black licorice, hints of damp cigar tobacco, and a lovely cooling menthol. The melded combination of flavours is very appealing …”

I tasted the Selection des Anges three separate times before I wrote this review. Each time I tasted it, I was forced to raise my scoring as my appreciation of the spirit grew and then grew again. My feeling is that the Selection des Anges is a special Cognac, one that perhaps deserves a place on my newly constructed Cognac Shelf!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: You may follow my Countdown list of the 25 Best Canadian Whiskies here:   The Rum Howler – Top 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2014

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The 12 Cognacs of Christmas #6 – Camus XO Elegance

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 14, 2014

CAM ELEGANCE XO 70CL_WHITE BACKGROUNDCamus is the last of the major Cognac Houses that is entirely family run, and the House has been run that way for five generations. The construction of their Camus XO Elegance begins with a selection of different styles of eaux de vie in an effort to create a specific floral character suitable for the final Cognac. Specifically mentioned upon the Camus website are the eaux de vie from the Borderies Vineyards which are included in the Elegance blend which are said to strengthen the aromatic caharacter of the final Cognac.

Although the distilled spirits which make up the Elegance blend must be aged for a minimum of six years, according to Richard Bush, the Area Manager (US Travel Retail, Canada and the Caribbean) for Camus Wines & Spirits, some of the eaux de vie in the Elegance XO blend has been matured for as long as 30 years.

I have reviewed the Camus XO Elegance in the past; but this was the first time (during my 12 Cognacs of Christmas Review Series) that I had an opportunity to taste it side by side with so many other Cognac spirits. Based upon my side by side tastings, I have adjusting my scoring for this review and you can read the finalized review here:

Review: CAMUS XO Elegance Cognac

“… The initial nose brings forward fresh oak featuring fresh woody notes interspersed with oak spices. Vanilla and almond rise from the glass as well with hints of orange peel and canned apricots weaving into the breezes. There is a fruity vibrancy to the nose which is appealing …”

It was about eight years ago that I wondered into a local liquor store looking for a nice cognac for my bar shelf. I wanted a really good bottle to have on hand should a guest ask for a drink of brandy or Cognac. I bought the Camus XO Elegance after tasting several high-end brandies and Cognac. I never regretted this choice, and my review, demonstrates that my opinion of this fine Cognac has remained unchanged.

________________________________________________________

Stay tuned as between now and Christmas I will continue my series,the 12 Cognacs of Christmas!

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The 12 Cognacs of Christmas #8 – Camus VSOP Elegance

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2014

Champs Élysées SAM_1383The construction of the CAMUS VSOP Elegance begins with a selection of particular aromatic eaux-de-vie which are partially distilled on the lees. These include eaux-de-vie from the famous Borderies cru which are selected to strengthen the aromatic character of the VSOP Elegance as it ages. The aging barrels selected for this VSOP are medium toasted rather than lightly toasted which helps to maintain the original characteristic aromas of the eaux-de-vie.

The ages of the varies blended Cognac in the VSOP Elegance must be (by law) a minimum of four years of age, although to maintain a consistent flavour profile from year to year, it would not be unusual for some of the specific Cognac in the blend aged longer.

Here is a link to my latest review:

Review: Camus VSOP Elegance

“… The initial aroma of from the glass brings forward a very nicely fruited mixture of green grape, apricot and raisin all of which are melded nicely into the rising scents of fine oak spices. There is a gentle sweetness in the breezes represented by indications of sweetgrass and butterscotch. As the glass sits I sense a light herbaceous quality within the air with hints of camphor and menthol tickling the senses …”

I have formed a very positive impression of the Camus VSOP. It is a very nice sipping spirit with enough complexity and depth of flavour to keep me interested all the way to the bottom of the glass. I also had a lot of fun mixing cocktails, and I have shared one of the most interesting cocktails as my suggested recipe for the Camus, Champs Élysées.

________________________________________________________

Stay tuned as between now and Christmas I will continue my series,the 12 Cognacs of Christmas!

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The 12 Cognacs of Christmas #10 – H by Hine

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 6, 2014

The Classic SAM_1370

The Classic

Hine is one of the oldest Cognac Houses in the commune of Jarnac, (within the Cognac appellation of France of course), and Hine has produced their Cognac since 1763. Their new H by Hine Fine Champagne Cognac (VSOP) is produced from a blend 20 Cognac spirits which in turn were each produced from grapes grown in 2 of the finest crus in the heart of France’s Cognac appellation, the Grande Champagne and the Petite Champagne. As this Cognac carries a VSOP designation, I should point out that the youngest eaux de vie in the H by Hine Fine Champagne Cognac blend must be a minimum of 4 years old.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: H by Hine Fine Champagne Cognac (VSOP)

“… The breezes above the glass carried a nice blended aroma which represents a melding of oak and wood spice, some vibrant fresh fruit and light toffee scents. The spiciness of the oak is firm but not assertive which appeals to me as sometimes oak can dominate a spirit to the detriment of the other aromas and flavours. …”

While some people scoff at the notion of mixing Cognac into cocktails and bar drinks, the truth is that Brandy and Cognac are perhaps the original cocktail mixers. It was not until these spirits disappeared in the 1870’s (until the end of the 19th century because of the phylloxera), that other spirits such as whisky, rum and gin began to dominate the mixed drink category. At the conclusion of my review I share a recipe called The Classic which has is origins in those earlier times when Brandy and Cognac were kings of the cocktails.

Enjoy my review, and stay tuned for more of the 12 Cognacs of Christmas!

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The 12 Cognacs of Christmas #11 – Hennessy Privilege V.S.O.P.

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 4, 2014

Medusa Coil SAM_1382

The Medusa Coil Cocktail

Jas Hennessy & Co., is the largest Cognac producer in the world today with sales that exceed 45 million bottles per year. The company was founded in 1765 by Richard Hennessy who was an Irish Officer in the army of Louis XV.  Fifty two years later, in 1817, Hennessy Cognac was so highly regarded that the Prince of Wales, (who later would become King George IV of Great Britain) asked the Hennessy House to produce what was termed a “very superior old pale cognac“. This was apparently the genesis for the initials V.S.O.P (Very Superior Old Pale), and these initials have become a labeling standard used throughout the industry to this day.

The subject of this review is Hennessy’s Privilege VSOP Cognac. The spirit is produced from the fruity Ugni Blanc grapes which have been harvested from the four great crus of the Cognac region (Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Fins Bois). The grape wine produced is (of course) double distilled upon the Hennessy Distillery’s great copper pot stills and then selected eaux-de-vie is set down to age for at least 4 years in french oak casks which have constructed from old growth oak timbers.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Hennessy’s Privilege VSOP Cognac

“… The initial aroma displays a rich combination of oak spice and vanilla with leathery cedar accents. To some extent the oak dominates covering over the fruity scents of green grape and raisin. After a few minutes the breezes above the glass show me impressions of rich tobacco, dark baking spices, (vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon), sticky marmalade, apricot brandy and hints of maple …”

When I was contemplating a cocktail for the Hennessy Privilege VSOP, I wanted to put a modern spin on a traditional (or maybe the right word is ‘classic’) cocktail. I began with Leo Engels 1878 Brandy Crusta, and with a few additions and subtractions, I arrived at what I call the Medusa Coil.

Enjoy my review, and stay tuned for more of the 12 Cognacs of Christmas!

 

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The 12 Cognacs of Christmas #12 (tie) – Courvoisier VSOP (Fine Champagne Cognac)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 3, 2014

Lime Sour SAM_1376

Courvoisier VSOP Lime Sour

We can trace the origins of Courvoisier Cognac to 1809 when Emmanuel Courvoisier began a small wine and spirits company with the Mayor of Bercy, Louis Gallois in the French suburb of Bercy (Paris, France). The company and its Cognac was soon to achieve fame as in 1811, Napoleon Bonaparte visited Bercy, and it is said that after visiting Bercy, Napoleon stated that he wanted to have available a ration of cognac for his artillery companies during the Napoleonic Wars. And in fact, later (in 1869) Napoleon’s heir, Napoleon III stated a preference for Courvoisier and also bestowed the honourable title of “Official Supplier to the Imperial Court” to the company, and this title remains on display at the Courvoisier Museum in Jarnac.

To produce their VSOP Fine Champagne Cognac, Courvoisier utilizes eaux-de-vie from only two of the crus in the Cognac appellation,the Grande Champagne,and Petite Champagne crus which are generally recognized at the two premier regions within the overall Cognac appellation. The grape juice from which the cognac is distilled is produced solely from white grapes which have been grown within these two appellations. The spirit is distilled twice upon a copper Charentes Still, and the resulting eaux de vie is aged in barrels handmade from 200-year old oak sourced from the Tronçais Forest in France.

Here is a link to my full review of the Courvoisier VSOP Fine Champagne Cognac:

Review: Courvoisier VSOP Fine Champagne Cognac

“… The initial aroma is somewhat restrained, but soon opens to reveal fine wood spices and sandalwood in front of some nice aromas of caramel and butterscotch melded into aromas of sugared green grapes and canned peaches …”

As I indicated two days ago, Cognac is a great mixing spirit, and the Courvoissier VSOP is no exception. I used my sample bottle to experiment a little and came up with a sour recipe I quite enjoyed, the Cognac Lime Sour.

Enjoy my review, and stay tuned for more of the 12 Cognacs of Christmas!

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The 12 Cognacs of Christmas #12 (tie) – Rémy Martin VSOP

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 1, 2014

RM_VSOPBOTTLE_750ML_hiTo produce their VSOP Fine Champagne CognacRémy Martin utilizes eaux-de-vie from only two of the crus in the Cognac appellation, Grande Champagne,and Petite Champagne which are generally recognized at the two premier region within the Cognac appellation. The grape juice from which the cognac is distilled is produced solely from white grapes which have been grown within these two appellations. The spirit is distilled twice upon a copper Charentes Still, and the resulting eaux de vie is aged in new french oak barrels and/or french oak barrels which previously contained Cognac eaux de vie.

The ages of the varies blended cognac in the VSOP Cognac must be (by law) a minimum of four years of age, although to maintain a consistent flavour profile from year to year, it would not be unusual for some of the specific cognac spirits in the blend to be aged for a longer period of time.

Fancy Brandy Cocktail SAM_1371

Fancy VSOP Cocktail

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Rémy Martin VSOP (Fine Champagne Cognac)

“… As I continue to nose the glass my impression is that this is a much heavier more oak laden VSOP than the other VSOP Cognac spirits I have encountered to this point. The oak aroma is leathery and the fruit smells which dominate are figs, dry apricots, and dark raisins. There is also a bit of baked apple complete with touches of cinnamon and clove and some dark black tarry tobacco spice and treacle as well …”

Contrary to popular opinion, Cognac is a great mixing spirit. As I go through my Christmas Cognac Series I plan to provide a few recipe suggestions along the way. In the case of Rémy Martin VSOP, my suggested cocktail is a Fancy VSOP Cocktail.

Enjoy my review, and stay tuned for more of the 12 Cognacs of Christmas!

 

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Pierre Ferrand Ambre (Grande Champagne Cognac)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 9, 2014

Pierre Ferand Amber SAM_1048

Grande Champagne Sidecar

Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac is blended solely from aged eaux de vie produced within the 1st Cru de Cognac, specifically from the Ugni Blanc and Colombard grapes grown within the Grande Champagne Cognac appellation (region) of France. Although the final spirit has no age statement, according to Guillaume Lamy, (Vice President – North America for Cognac Ferrand), this is because the spirit is blended to meet an age profile that represents a 10-year-old spirit. To maintain product consistency from year to year, the actual average age of the blended cognac will vary depending upon the cellar conditions during maturation and the interactions between the oak and the aging eaux de vie.

SAM_1063

1878 Mint Julep

Pierre Ferrand uses only small (25 – hectoliter) copper pot stills to produce their Cognac; and after distillation, the resulting distillate (eaux de vie) is matured in small 270-liter French Limousin oak barrels. During this aging process, the cognac may rest in any of seven different aging cellars (each with traditional earthen floors). Within each of these cellars, the spirit is monitored, and may be transferred several times during its aging life to different cellars and/or to different oak casks (with differing char levels) to maintain the integrity and character of the spirit.

You may of course, read my full review here:

Review: Pierre Ferrand Ambre (Grande Champagne Cognac)

“… I discovered the Pierre Ferrand Ambre has a wonderful freshness featuring both floral and citrus elements which reached out of that glass and teased my nostrils. Mixed into those breezes are firm impressions ripe green grapes and a gentle sweep of vanilla. I also sense an herbal grassy note, as well as a few wisps of spicy raisins, and a mild winding of sandalwood and oak …”

And for those who are willing to throw off the shackles of preconception, I have included two cocktails which were  originally created for the Cognac spirit, the Grande Champagne Sidecar (pictured left) and the 1878 Mint Julep (pictured right).

Cheers Everyone!

Hopefully, springtime is around the corner, and the snow and cold we see in those pictures is gone soon.

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Review: Hine Rare VSOP

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 14, 2014

Pack Bouteille Rare VSOP 30 cmHine Rare VSOP is produced from a blend 25 Cognac spirits in the heart of France’s Cognac appellation on the banks of the River Charente. More than 50% of this VSOP blend is distilled from grapes grown in the Grande Champagne cru and the remaining spirit is distilled from grapes produced in the Petite Champagne cru. The Grand and Petite Champagne regions are two of the most recognizable Cognac regions of France known for consistently producing high quality grape harvests.

Hine is one of the oldest Cognac Houses in the commune of Jarnac, (within the Cognac appellation in France of course), and Hine has produced their Cognac since 1763.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following link:

Review: Hine Rare VSOP

“… the initial nose is somewhat heated with scents of both raw oak spice and white pepper mingled within a fruited caramel aroma. As the glass breathes I begin to notice a growing sense of fresh fruit (peaches and apricots) as well as a few raisins in the breezes above the glass. Some bits of floral perfume seem to be present as well which remind me of camphor, lilac and iris …”

Please enjoy this review and stay tuned as I plan to examine a few more Cognac and Brandies in the coming year!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: I would like to thank the good folks at Woodman Wines and Spirits for providing me a sealed 200 ml bottle of the Hine Rare VSOP to sample for this review.

You may click this link to read some of my other Brandy and Cognac Reviews

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , | Comments Off

Review: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 29, 2013

Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula

Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula

Cognac Ferrand is the result of a rare opportunity offered to a young man (Alexandre Gabriel) in 1989 by one of the oldest wine growing families in the Cognac region of France. According to Mr. Gabriel,

I met a small Cognac producer who needed help selling his products to finish off his stock. This was Cognac Ferrand. I fell in love with the product and with the region. It all reminded me of what I grew up around. So when I was invited to become a partner and told that no one was going to continue if I didn’t, I just said….yes.”

Although that beginning may have seemed rather precarious to those on the outside, Alexandre made the most of his opportunity, and now Cognac Ferrand a well-respected producer with sales in more than 40 countries world-wide.

For Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac, Mr. Gabriel collected old bottles of cognac that were bottled at a young age and designed his Cognac based upon a particular bottle from 1840 thus replicating a style of cognac which had heretofore been lost to time. In 1840, the appeal for Cognac was much more broadly based. Rather than being an after dinner indulgence consumed in a brandy snifter, those who consumed Cognac regularly mixed it with Seltzer water, and it was even the distilled spirit of choice for cocktails. Although the idea of a Cognac for mixing cocktails may seem rather strange today, Mr. Gabriel is convinced that bringing people back to the origins of cocktail culture through an original style cognac is a winning idea.

You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac

“… Even before I put my nose to the glass, I could sense the clean scent of fresh green grapes climbing into the air above the glass. When I did place my nose over the glass to inspect the breezes, I received enticing aromas of oak spices which gave me and impressions of freshly sanded oak  and sandalwood. Hints of cinnamon stained the oak spices; butterscotch and honey gave the breezes a hint of sweetness; and a fruity citrus zest  contributed to an effervescent quality which was apparent in the air …”

Of course I could not help but follow Alexandre Gabriel’s lead and constructed a somewhat heretical cocktail using not only his wonderful cognac, but also a 20-year-old brandy at the conclusion of my review.

Please enjoy the review, and my fantastic cocktail, the Heretic!

Posted in Brandy and Cognac, Cocktails & Recipes, Cognac Review | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,234 other followers

%d bloggers like this: