bertrand vs, vsop, napoleon, xo cognac

Vs

Alc. 40%

Bottle:

Traditional wine bottle with a rectangular tan label. Topped with a windmill insignia. Dark brown print keeps the focal point on the product, not the presentation.

Nose:

Young spirit which reminds me of young barley whisky in aroma. Quite a lot of fresh white wine, verjus, green apple and blossoms. Fairly ghostly with slightest hints of oaking and vanilla. Ginger and very slight anise seed.

Palate:

Fresh, spicy, peppery wine with squeezed ginger. Although fresh, this by far surpasses the regulatory minimum of aging, which gives a smooth palate with a lush mouthfeel. Floral, bright and quietly untamed. yellow raisins.

Finish:

Fruity and spicy, initial finish is quick, but there is an enjoyable peppery finish that lasts.

Overall:

My first vs grade cognac. Quite pleasant for a mixing grade spirit. this gets smoother with more airing, comparable to some lower budget vsop. Aged between 5 – 8 years, mostly in barrels that are on their second fill.

score: 82

Vsop

Alc. 40%

Nose:

Wine, oak and flowers at first glance. Airing leads to a sherry note and some dense cake aromas. Roasted nuts and dusty leather with some citrus pith. Verjus and a light chalk dust. Bright notes and a waft of banana.

Palate:

Thin, oily start with some odd juicy fruit notes, but mostly oak spices. Enjoyable sip. Grapes, fig, cherry, wood and vanilla are quite apparent. not yet complex, but shows notes of cocoa, coffee and building of rancio and umami. Brown soda reminiscent of brio.

Finish:

Orange soda effervescent with a touch of ginger. Sets around 6 minutes.

Overall:

This is aged very far past its lawful minimum requirements. Legally required to be aged for at least 4 years in 2015, this is aged between 10 – 15 years. Top notch mixer, surprising quality for a sip.

score: 87

Napoleon

Alc. 40%

Nose:

Building of woodiness, with a touch of brightness rounding out and turning down. Dark wine and cherries, abundant leather. Some cloves, cassia and red raisins. Cocoa and roasted nuts are starting to appear.

Palate:

Honey spiked with ginger and pepper. Little cherry and peach with cassis. Further building of nuts and spice.

Finish:

The finish is all about dark notes – coffee, nuts, toffee, prunes.

Overall:

Very calm compared to the vs and vsop. Improving further still. Ages sit between 15 – 20 years in limousine oak.

score: 94

Xo

Alc. 40%

Nose:

Dark cocoa, heavy old leather and dank. Very heavy and weighted. Stewed fruit, coffee, cocoa. the bright fruits are still present, but far more tame. Cake and brown soda.

Palate:

Currant lozenges or cough drops to start. The palate is grounded by black coffee and roasted nuts. Exciting play of wood and fruit. Brown spices, nutmeg, slight ginger, mahogany and notes of cola.

Finish:

Effervescent, clean and gingery with the same currant lozenge from the palate. Baking spice and honey, silky smooth. Quick finish lasting no more than 10 minutes. Smooth as juice.

Overall:

This needs air. Generous airing is the sacrifice that this deserves to be appreciated. Don’t pour this if you can’t wait at least half an hour for your first sip. That being said, you will be rewarded for patience, punished for rushing. Aged between 30 – 35 years.

This xo when tasted in succession with the rest of the family hits like a shovel on the head. It’s a loud, thick ‘blub’ of dark spice and dankness. Barrel takes a lot of the weight here. Very tasty stuff.

score: 94

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