Jump to content

 

Photo

What to get?


  • Please log in to reply
28 replies to this topic

#1 Ambear

Ambear

    Ermahgerd, Erbsernthe

  • Content Team
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,351 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:33 AM

I have a good-enough VS cognac (I wanna say it's Courvoisier) that I use when I'm making cherries or cordials or whatever...but I really want something nice for when cognac or brandy is called for in a cocktail. I'm looking to spend around $40-$60, and don't mind something with a bit more personality (even an armagnac would be cool). I'm a complete novice and don't even know what to look for. We have a huge selection at one of our local stores, I just have been too nervous to grab something in that price range only to have it be crappy.
Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem

Website | Blog | Twitter


#2 OMG_Bill

OMG_Bill

    Complete Absinthe Geek

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12,177 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:15 AM

Thanks for starting this Ambear. I'm a lot like that about brandies. HELP!!!

:cheers:
Some folks may cringe each time I use the term "Booze" regarding these high quality drinks.
I mean no offense. There are bottles of extraordinary booze out there. I've tasted a few. Relax.

#3 Larspeart

Larspeart

    Advanced 'member'...

  • Silver Member
  • 1,816 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:16 AM

Pierre Ferrand is lovely. Their 1st Cru or Reserve` are good places to start, and right around/under that price point.

I used to like Remy's XO, but I haven't liked their recent expressions nearly as much as I did 10 years ago.

"Here's to the corkscrew - a useful key to unlock the storehouse of wit, the treasury of laughter, the front door of fellowship, and the gate of pleasant folly." - W.E.P. French

We're only immortal
For a limited time.


#4 Joe Legate

Joe Legate

    2 jobs. 0 sense.

  • Advisory Board
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16,980 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:41 AM

Tesseron 90 is worth every penny (around $50).
The Tesseron 29 is amazing but at $400+, it should be. Also, worth every penny.

#5 Bluewolf Pete

Bluewolf Pete

    Multifunctional items are definitely favored

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,258 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:56 AM

At that price range, I really like the Kelt VSOP. :cheers:
If you want thujone, fuck off and go eat sage ~ Ron

"Let's louche these bitches up and party!" ~ Fingerpickinblue

Beware La Machine à décerveler! Oops, too late ...

#6 Gwydion Stone

Gwydion Stone

    Propriétaire

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,265 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:29 AM

A better cognac is going to lose a lot of it's nuance as soon as it meets up with lemon juice—in a Sidecar, for example—so your extra $20 to $30 (or $360) is probably wasted.

It's kind of like using pre-ban Pernod Fils in a Sazerac: you feel special knowing you're drinking a cocktail with 100-year-old absinthe in it, but really, one couldn't tell. I do it from time to time, but I'm under no illusion that the cocktail is better off for it.

Depending on the cocktail—whether it's mostly brandy and other spirits, or whether it has robust ingredients like citrus juice and liqueurs—you may want to stay with economical brands. Not like E&J or Christian Bothers, but in the $30 - $40 range.

In something like an old-style Sazerac (cognac instead of rye whiskey), as long as you don't get carried away and use more than a dash of absinthe*, a good cognac can make for a more luxurious cocktail.

My usual cognac for cocktails is Rémy Martin VS or VSOP. You might want to pick up a bottle of calvados, a French apple brandy, for something a little different now and then. Daron Calvados Fine Pays d'Auge is around $40.

My Earthquake consists of 2 oz of cognac and two or three dashes of absinthe. Perfect.







* Save an empty bitters bottle and fill it with absinthe for easy dashing. Too much absinthe will just destroy a cocktail. I seldom use more than 1/4 oz in any drink. That's about seven dashes, depending on the dasher opening.

Maker of Marteau Absinthe
Master Distiller, Gnostalgic Spirits Distillery
www.absinthemarteau.com
Confessions of an Absinthiste


#7 Larspeart

Larspeart

    Advanced 'member'...

  • Silver Member
  • 1,816 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:02 PM

And yes, in a cocktail, the extra $20-30 is almost always wasted. I use CB or E&J VSOP for about 75% of my brandy-based cocktails (or, often, Laird's Bonded, but remember that it is an applejack).

My suggestions above are much more for sipping.

Acid + brandy = save your money, and use cheaper booze. Nuance is about to go right out the window.

And a word on the big American brands- Big doesn't always mean bad. The E&J line, and (imho) the VSOP, are outstanding (for the money). I tip my cap to them, frankly, that you get that much flavor, depth, and richness... for $11.99 a lt.

"Here's to the corkscrew - a useful key to unlock the storehouse of wit, the treasury of laughter, the front door of fellowship, and the gate of pleasant folly." - W.E.P. French

We're only immortal
For a limited time.


#8 rob fritz

rob fritz

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 547 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:55 PM

Tesseron 90 is worth every penny (around $50).
The Tesseron 29 is amazing but at $400+, it should be. Also, worth every penny.



And let's not forget Tesseron Lot 53 about $130-150, and if you buy it from DUNY you can get it in a gift box with 2 Reidel Hennessy Cognac glasses. I am sure your local store can also order the gift box with glasses.

#9 Ambear

Ambear

    Ermahgerd, Erbsernthe

  • Content Team
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,351 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 01:30 PM

I don't think I have any non-liqueurs (except for tequila) in my liquor cabinet that I spent less than $35 or $40 on...I just like to keep alcohol that I can drink neat or mixed into drinks since they last me such a long time. It's just the minimum I spend on alcohol. <shrugs> I don't really see it as a waste, because I'd have to buy two different bottles of booze that would last me 6+ months instead of one.

Thanks for all the brands so far, I'll keep an eye out!
Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem

Website | Blog | Twitter


#10 Jay

Jay

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,020 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 01:32 PM

And let's not forget Tesseron Lot 53 about $130-150, and if you buy it from DUNY you can get it in a gift box with 2 Reidel Hennessy Cognac glasses. I am sure your local store can also order the gift box with glasses.

Sadly, it appears DUNY doesn't have this available any longer, although Astor Wines does (for a higher price).

#11 Absomphe

Absomphe

    Krinkles the Clown™

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 18,635 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 01:47 PM

Tesseron 90 is worth every penny (around $50).
The Tesseron 29 is amazing but at $400+, it should be. Also, worth every penny.


What he said. :thumbup: :thumbup:

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#12 jcbphd

jcbphd

    Hooch Essence

  • Advisory Board
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,975 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 02:28 PM

I really like the Camus line of cognacs--very value driven and good in cocktails.
Temperance, like chastity, is its own punishment. ~Four Vines "The Peasant"

Ça descend la gorge comme le bébé Jésus en culottes de velours.

You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough. ~Frank Crane

#13 fingerpickinblue

fingerpickinblue

    Hallucinations Sold Separately

  • Content Team
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,360 posts

Posted 16 March 2012 - 06:03 PM

As if you need another opinion, I really like this one for cocktail use. Grande Champagne, light aging, very dry (letting you make the decision about sugar), and very high quality, especially considering price.

I've always thought that just like rye, a good cocktail cognac should be lightly wooded and spicy. This one subs (for rye) very well (I think the aging is only about 4 years). A Cocktail a La louisianne made with this and fine sweet vermouth is a thing of beauty.
blind man see her, dumb man call her name - Ed Bell

#14 AiO

AiO

    Movie Freak

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,703 posts

Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:58 AM

Pierre Ferrand is lovely. Their 1st Cru or Reserve` are good places to start, and right around/under that price point.


Pierre Ferrand's new "1840" cognac, which is intended as a replica of the kind of cognac used in the nineteenth century for mixing cocktails, is very good as well. Just became available through DUNY a few weeks ago. Makes a mean brandy crusta.
"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot" -- Charlie Chaplin

#15 thickasabrick

thickasabrick

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 192 posts

Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:07 PM

Let me express my opinion here, even if most disagree.

First off, I love brandy. It's my favourite liquor by far, but the current market has made cognac seem like some sort of God among men. Blame MTV and the marketing hype surrounding hip hop culture.

You can easily buy a delicous aged French brandy (not from the cognac region) for 1/3 the cost of a mediocre tasting VS or VSOP cognac.

While the grapes in brandy do contribute to the taste, the aging/barrel contributes moreso. Especially if mixing, you are wasting your money on any sort of Cognac (be it VS, VSOP, or especially XO).

XO Cognac is for sipping. Sure you can spend the money on a VSOP cognac to make cocktails with, but you can spend 1/3 the price on a sippable non-cognac aged brandy for your Sidecar.

I welcome anyone to disagree with me.
When life gives you lemons, garnish your martini.
When life gives you honey, trade it for some lemons.

#16 fingerpickinblue

fingerpickinblue

    Hallucinations Sold Separately

  • Content Team
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,360 posts

Posted 17 March 2012 - 06:02 PM

Although most of that hype is focused on a few major commercial brands. Believe me, I get the subtlety of your post. Some big brands are no less guilty of peddling substandard fare in this category, just as the big producers that are involved in absinthe.

I agree. XO ain't for mixing any more than 18 year Rye is for mixing.

How about a couple recommendations of reasonably available labels? We're a bunch of flexible peeps.
blind man see her, dumb man call her name - Ed Bell

#17 distill my beating heart

distill my beating heart

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 172 posts

Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:59 PM

Not much of a cocktail drinker nor connoisseur of more subtle potables so Pierre Ferrand 'Ambre' or Maison Surrenne 'ancienne distillerie' when I feel the need for cognac. Both available for around $40 a bottle and if I remember my years as a bartender might work well in a cocktail.

Edited by distill my beating heart, 18 March 2012 - 01:04 PM.

If we make it, we can sit back and relax...

#18 Bob Tessier

Bob Tessier

    WS token Canuck

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,031 posts

Posted 19 March 2012 - 02:54 AM

Regarding armagnac for mixing, you may want to check out the many "blanche" armagnacs: Castarede, Delord, de Montal and Damblat all make decent examples.
"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

#19 Larspeart

Larspeart

    Advanced 'member'...

  • Silver Member
  • 1,816 posts

Posted 23 March 2012 - 08:43 PM

Pierre Ferrand is lovely. Their 1st Cru or Reserve` are good places to start, and right around/under that price point.


Pierre Ferrand's new "1840" cognac, which is intended as a replica of the kind of cognac used in the nineteenth century for mixing cocktails, is very good as well. Just became available through DUNY a few weeks ago. Makes a mean brandy crusta.



Absolutely right here. They actually spent a fair bit of time/research to recreate a 'style' close to a mid-19th C cognac. I think they did, in this expression, very well.

For those who want a REAL original Sazerac cocktail, one done with this is about as close as you'll likely get... Unless you are Shabba, and (likely) HAVE a buncha 1848ish cognac 'just lying around'. ;-)

"Here's to the corkscrew - a useful key to unlock the storehouse of wit, the treasury of laughter, the front door of fellowship, and the gate of pleasant folly." - W.E.P. French

We're only immortal
For a limited time.


#20 Jay

Jay

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,020 posts

Posted 23 March 2012 - 09:18 PM

Martell Cordon Bleu is my favorite top-shelf cognac for sipping on its own. It's absolutely brilliant. Interestingly, though, I made a sidecar with this cognac, and with Remy Martin VSOP (at about 1/3 of the cost of the Cordon Bleu), and the Remy Martin sidecar was better. I'm certainly a novice when it comes to cognacs, but it does seem that the very best ones are the best because of the subtleties, and those subtleties get lost in mixed drinks.

I haven't tried mixing it yet, but the most affordable yet good "cognac" (I don't think it can legally call itself that, since it's from Moldova) I've found is Kvint's Black Stork XO 12, as seen here. You simply cannot beat this for $20.

#21 Absomphe

Absomphe

    Krinkles the Clown™

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 18,635 posts

Posted 24 March 2012 - 05:51 AM

Martell Cordon Bleu is my favorite top-shelf cognac for sipping on its own.


I might give a slight edge to Martell Extra, but they're both wonderful.

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#22 Robert (DrinkBoy) Hess

Robert (DrinkBoy) Hess

    Advanced Member

  • Advisory Board
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 645 posts

Posted 26 March 2012 - 02:51 PM

For cocktails, Courvoisier VS is what we use at home. As Gwydion points out, once you start adding lemon juice, etc, to it, you end up loosing some of the nuances you would be paying good money for in a VSOP or XO.

You can get into very heated arguments with some folks that "the better the spirit the better the cocktail"... which on the face of it is true, but is a $400 bottle of cognac going to make a cocktail that is 20 times better than a $20 bottle would? Noticeably better... probably... 20 times better? Nope.

-Robert

#23 Robert (DrinkBoy) Hess

Robert (DrinkBoy) Hess

    Advanced Member

  • Advisory Board
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 645 posts

Posted 26 March 2012 - 02:53 PM

...For those who want a REAL original Sazerac cocktail...


Which, while it would use brandy, it wouldn't use absinthe, that came later :->

#24 fingerpickinblue

fingerpickinblue

    Hallucinations Sold Separately

  • Content Team
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,360 posts

Posted 26 March 2012 - 06:29 PM

You can get into very heated arguments with some folks that "the better the spirit the better the cocktail"...
-Robert


I'm not sure I would make a "heated" argument, but I could certainly make a vehement one that XO is not necessarily "better" than VSOP, nor are both of those necessarily "better" than VS. It really depends on the use and the purpose. They are actually all of differing character. The increased price as ageing increases has to do with holding costs, and the wood, not the eventual quality of the cognac. What's "better" depends on application. One shouldn't confuse that with price or rarity.


...which on the face of it is true, but is a $400 bottle of cognac going to make a cocktail that is 20 times better than a $20 bottle would? Noticeably better... probably... 20 times better? Nope.
-Robert


And I would probably say "noticeably different", rather than better. Usually I'm not in favor of base spirits in brown booze cocktails that have heavy wood treatments.
blind man see her, dumb man call her name - Ed Bell

#25 Joe Legate

Joe Legate

    2 jobs. 0 sense.

  • Advisory Board
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16,980 posts

Posted 29 March 2012 - 05:43 PM

I found the PERFECT cognac cocktail while visiting DC!
In a nice glass that fits your hand, add one part Tesseron 29 and 3 parts Tesseron 29.
Smell frequently and sip very slowly. Heaven. :wave2:

#26 fingerpickinblue

fingerpickinblue

    Hallucinations Sold Separately

  • Content Team
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,360 posts

Posted 29 March 2012 - 05:51 PM

Conversation O-Vah! :cheers:
blind man see her, dumb man call her name - Ed Bell

#27 Ron

Ron

    Blind Eye McGee

  • Content Team
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,130 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:26 PM

Sounds terrible.
Every hour is green hour. -Hedonmonkey

Sometimes bad just gets so bad that it breaks thru to the other side and becomes good. - Phoenix

#28 Ambear

Ambear

    Ermahgerd, Erbsernthe

  • Content Team
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,351 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:35 PM

Hi, Ron. :wave2:
Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem

Website | Blog | Twitter


#29 Ron

Ron

    Blind Eye McGee

  • Content Team
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,130 posts

Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:52 PM

And a hearty howdy to you, Amber. :wave2:
Every hour is green hour. -Hedonmonkey

Sometimes bad just gets so bad that it breaks thru to the other side and becomes good. - Phoenix


1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

Copyright © 2014 The Wormwood Society Absinthe Association