Google Five Cognacs with some niaque

Serge whiskyfun
Thousands of tastings,
all the music,
all the rambligs
and all the fun


Facebook Twitter Logo
Guaranteed ad-free
copyright 2002-2021


Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

February 7, 2021


Five Cognacs with some niaque

Just a silly headline, don't bother (niaque means drive, or fighting spirit, more or less). Now they're currently under water in Cognac, because of a very severe flood of the river Charente. Courage and resilience are needed but they do have what it takes! First, an aperitif…

Baron Otard 'VSOP' (40%, OB, Fine Champagne, +/-1995)

Baron Otard 'VSOP' (40%, OB, Fine Champagne, +/-1995) Three stars
A relatively cheap bottle that you could find in just any hotels back in the days. Mind you, this is part of Cognac's history. Colour: amber. Nose: shock-full of raisins and sweet wines, Monbazillac, Cérons, or Cadillac style. You could find some great ones for very cheap in the old days, but actually, this rather reminds me of the great pineau des Charentes, an aperitif that's totally out of fashion. Naturally, out of fashion means ueber-trendy these days. Anyway, this is totally on raisins and only the palate will tell… Mouth: sweet and good. Raisins, raisins and raisins everywhere, that's just lovely but you really need to love raisins, or you'll find this baby rather cloying. A cognac that rather feels like a very sweet wine, almost PX-style. I doubt anyone would still dare making this style, which you would rather find in Jerez, or Armenia these days. Ararat, anyone? Finish: medium, very sweet, rich, raisiny, honeyed. Comments: like it but I doubt this was entirely natural. Sunday morning blending… (that's when any official bodies, customs or else, are still trying to sober up in their – not always theirs - beds)…
SGP:830 - 80 points.

Hermitage 'Chez Richon Café 20' (42%, OB, +/-2020)

Hermitage 'Chez Richon Café 20' (42%, OB, +/-2020) Four stars
A rather mysterious bottle, but it's to be known that it fetched Gold at the Cognac Masters 2020. It's more than 20 years of age. Colour: amber.  Nose: marzipan and old-style Viennese hot chocolate, very dry fig spirit, more figs, dates, the blackest black currants, menthol, pine essence, old balsamico, fermenting prunes, very old sherried Speysider (G&M-style), I fact this is really brandy that noses like whisky that noses like brandy that noses that whisky that noses like brandy that noses like whisky… etcetera. Mouth: oh! Total old-style, rich, chocolaty, ridden with prunes and dates, resins, pine needles, cigars, glue… In fact it's getting drier by the minute. Finish: rather long, with pine-y tannins and a walnut-chestnut combo. Tons of prunes in the aftertaste, and indeed coffee. Ristretto! Comments: this is cognac like my grandpas used to quaff. Those good folks were all born in the 19th century, mind you. Museum cognac? Totally out of fashion but very good nonetheless, provided you've got the proper references.
SGP:751 - 86 points.

Let's try another Hermitage…

Hermitage 30 yo 'Chez Richon' (43%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2018)

Hermitage 30 yo 'Chez Richon' (43%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/-2018) Four stars
Looks like Fiona Beckett loved it, while it's to be said that we're rather fans of Fiona Beckett. Having said that, we're not quite fans of those nasty flat bottles, but there, who cares… Colour: dark amber. Nose: all on sauna oils, menthol, pine resin, bitter chocolate, and the blackest 'black' raisins, Corinth style. This is really uber-old school, but there are so many charms to this style… Prunes, glue, bull-dog sauce and mint, there. Mouth: high extraction and yet the fruits are keeping it afloat, especially peaches, totally in majesty. Peaches are the kings of fruits in my opinion, while they abound in the better cognacs. Finish: medium, very chocolaty, very old-school. Thin mints and curious hints of malt extracts in the aftertaste. Comments: we've tried a few cognacs that had been distilled in the 1800s, and the styles were rather similar.
SGP:551 - 87 points.

Late Bottled Brandy 27 yo 1993/2020 (52.3%, Thompson Bros for, Tasting Circle, 187 bottles)

Late Bottled Brandy 27 yo 1993/2020 (52.3%, Thompson Bros for, Tasting Circle, 187 bottles) Four stars and a half
All right, so I'd swear this is some early landed cognac from France, bottled by some friendly Scots, for some German friends. Makes much sense, no? Viva Europa! (insert Beethoven's Ode to Joy here) Colour: mahogany. Nose: boy is this rich, and yet elegant! Prune juice, black currants, damson liqueur, ganaches, cherry tobacco (Borkum Riff), linoleum, diesel oil, bull-dog sauce, Marmite… How lovely is this fat and yet agile old cognac? With water: pinewood, mint and chocolate. Artisanal thin mints (we'd kill for proper thin mints). Mouth (neat): superb! This is old-school for sure, with heavy mentholy oak and some embrocations, but it would always keep some kind of freshness, despite these heavy pine-y oils. Proper coffee and chocolate. With water: same. I had thought it would become meatier and saltier, it did not. Finish: long but bone-dry. The bitterest bitter chocolate and the tightest mints. Comments: totally high-class, within this ueber-dry and very un-fruity style.
SGP:371 - 88 points.

Fins Bois 1968/2020 (55.4%, Grosperrin for Cognac Sponge, 350 bottles)Fins Bois 1968/2020 (55.4%, Grosperrin for Cognac Sponge, 350 bottles)

Fins Bois 1968/2020 (55.4%, Grosperrin for Cognac Sponge, 350 bottles) Four stars and a half
It is a bit troubling that our dear friends the Brits – the Sponge is 'also' a Brit, after all – would romanticise what happened in France in 1968. I'll say no more but only now are we really starting to understand to which extend the Sartre-ist, Maoist or Trotskyist ideologies of 1968 have been mortiferous. It's forbidden to forbid, yeah right. But enough with that, this is neither the moment, nor the place… Colour: amber. Nose: this, is modern cognac, with much more tension, fruits, herbs… Peaches of course, blood oranges, tiny herbs, chamomile, honeysuckle, verbena, genepy… There's this freshness that's rather to be found in the west of the cognac region, including the islands. Yes cognac's got islands too, namely Ré and Oléron, both parts of the Bois Ordnaires. With water: gets very dry and leafy, sweetness is gone, but lees, stems, pips and leaves are there. Mouth (neat): upper-excellent, really tense, rather more acidic (the west again), tart and fruity, reminding us all that first and foremost, cognac is wine, distilled and aged. Gets a tad dry and bitter, let's see what happens once water's been added… With water: you have to be careful, three drops will suffice. Peaches, mint leaves, some chestnut honey. Please check chestnut honey if you haven't already, any human being should know about chestnut honey, king of all honeys. Finish: long and leafy. Gets a little bitterer, perhaps not the best part. Comments: a rather tough cognac. Most parts are splendid, a few are  a little harsher. Yeah right, 1968.
SGP:361 - 88 points.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all cognacs we've tasted so far







Whiskyfun's Home