Camus Elegance XO Cognac
Cognac Review: Camus Elegance XO 91.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published August 2, 2012
(Revised and scores adjusted, December 2014)
The making of cognac is governed by strict rules designed to guarantee consistency of quality and character. All cognac must be produced from a specific region of France whose appellation was first set out by decree on May 1, 1909. Since 1938, this appellation has been composed of six crus: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bon Bois, and Bois a Terroir. (You can think of these crus a specific grape growing regions within the overall appellation.) The grape juice from which the cognac is distilled is produced solely from white grapes which have been grown within the appellation. Cognac is distilled twice upon a copper Charentes Still. The resulting distillate must be aged in new french oak or french oak that previously contained Cognac eaux de vie. The minimum aging for Cognac is 2 years, and if Cognac carries an age statement, it must be the youngest cognac in the blend which is represented. The youngest Cognac eaux de vie in a blend which is labelled VS must be at least 2 years; the youngest eaux de vie in a VSOP blend must be 4 years, and a Cognac labeled XO must not have any eax de vie younger than 6 years.
Camus 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 blend.The distilled spirit is aged in cool damp cellars until the eau de vie reach perfect maturity.
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.
In the Bottle 5/5
The elegant tear drop bottle pictured below houses the Camus XO Elegance. A solid cork topper crowns the presentation and having owned a bottle of this Cognac for several years I can report that the cork does not seem to deteriorate with time as some corks often do. The bottle fits the name of the Cognac, and I find the overall look very appealing. I should note that I have seen pictures online of the Camus with an accompanying fancy black box, although my particular bottle was not so lucky.
In the Glass 9/10
The Camus XO Elegance displays a rich copper colour in the glass similar to fresh copper pennies. 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 is after my glass has been allowed to sit that the aroma becomes richer and more representative of an aged cognac. Dry fruit, in particular raisins and dried apricots seem to fill the breezes colliding with the oaky scents in a delightful way.
In The Mouth 55/60
The cognac leads out with oak spices (orange peel, ginger and cardamom) and candied fruit (oranges and apricots and raisins). Vanilla and almond flavours lie underneath with perhaps some dabs of honey. I really like how the sweetness mingles with the hotter oak spices giving the cognac a fresh almost flamboyant character. Some woody tannins pucker the mouth but again the candied sweetness acts beautifully to counterbalance.
In the Throat 13.5/15
The exit features lots of candied fruit and a long lingering warmth of oak spice. Echoes of soft vanillans and whispers of almond complete the exit.
The Afterburn 9/10
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.
You may click this link to read some of my other Brandy and Cognac Reviews
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)