The 7 Best Cognacs We Tasted in 2019

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While the trend of quality American brandies continue to rise and Armagnac perennially provides a rich, robust alternative for lovers of the category, classic Cognac will always reign supreme to many.

This grape-based spirit can take a long time to produce and must follow a strict set of regulations in order to be called Cognac, but the end results speak for themselves, both in character and flavor. Sometimes spicy, sometimes sweet, often offering notes of butterscotch and vanilla, this storied spirit remains a favorite of brandy lovers worldwide.

While the trend of quality American brandies continue to rise and Armagnac perennially provides a rich, robust alternative for lovers of the category, classic Cognac will always reign supreme to many.

We’ve combed through the hundreds of spirits rated and reviewed this year to come up with this list of the best of the best in Cognac from 2019. Here are the bottlings that set themselves apart.

Our Favorite Cognac of 2019

Courvoisier Limited Edition Cognac; $40, 95 points. Until recently, cask finishes were not part of the Cognac-maker’s toolbox; that’s slowly changing, and to delicious effect. According to the producer, this bottling is “VSOP quality” but doesn’t meet the industry’s strict laws to have VSOP put on the label. It’s still worth seeking out and is a particularly fruit-forward expression with plenty of dried fig, date and plum on nose and palate, finishing long with hints of cocoa and spice. The initial blend of liquid is aged two to eight years, then finished in Sherry casks for at least four months. Batch 006. –Kara Newman

Hardy Organic VSOP Cognac; $50, 94 points. This Cognac offers rich aromas and flavors, yet still remains light and easygoing. Concentrated tones of milky caramel and hazelnut on nose and palate are offset by lemon peel acidity and an espresso tinge, yielding a versatile spirit to sip or mix. –K.N.

Paulet VSOP Cognac; $40, 94 points. Look for a bright topaz hue and lively aromas of caramel and orange peel in this brandy. The silky palate echoes that orange peel note, layering it with gingerbread, molasses, dried apricot and spice. Candied orange peel and ginger wrap up the finish. From the Fine Champagne region. –K.N.

Normandin Mercier VSOP Cognac; $67, 93 points. Golden and light in the glass, this Cognac offers rich, powerful aromas of caramel, dulce de leche and ripe banana. The buttery palate opens with vanilla cookie and tropical fruit, finishing with sprinkles of cayenne and cocoa. Petite Champagne region, minimum seven years old. –K.N.

Park Borderies Mizunara Japanese Oak Cask Finish Cognac; $60, 93 points. This VSOP Cognac is aged for four years in oak barrels, followed by six months in Mizunara, a particularly fine-grained type of Japanese oak. The end result is mild oak and a hint of red fruit on the nose, coupled with a drying, delicately oaky palate accented by vanilla and lemon peel, finishing fairly spicy with cinnamon and clove. –K.N.

D’Ussé VSOP Cognac; $50, 91 points. This Cognac offers a deep copper-penny hue and rich aromas of caramel and dried fig. The silky palate echoes the dried fig note, alongside a Port-like hint of red fruit, finishing notably long on a notes of cocoa, cinnamon and cayenne. –K.N.

Camus VSOP Cognac; $50, 90 points. Oak is the main feature of this VSOP, creating a Cognac that has an almost whiskey-like profile. The liquid in the glass reflects amber with orange highlights and has a soft vanilla aroma. The palate leads with caramel, cinnamon and oak, with a drying feel and plenty of clove and cinnamon tingle. Each sip warms all the way down. –K.N.

Published on December 23, 2019
Topics: Brandy