Interesting for a bolder, mixing, cognac but pricey especially for 80 proof
Notes: Billed as the worlds first “mixable” cognac, this is a new line extension of the venerable Courvoisier line which includes the usual grades V. S., V.S.O.P.,and their premium cognacs Napoleon, X.O.Fine Champagne ,X. O Imperial, Initial® Extra, Millennium and Courvoisier® Succession J. S. L’Esprit de Courvoisier® and the Erte Collection.
The distinguishing characteristic from a blending standpoint in the Exclusif is the heavier use/mix of Borderies grapes, which are not usual to their cognac blends/profiles and lend more depth and complexity allowing the cognac to stand up to mixers and be more assertive.
First Impression: Apricots, cinnamon, ginger, caramel, and oily nuts and some oak and vanilla. A sweet, almost sherry or jam like-like smell to it. Quite distinctive distinctive, somewhat heavy nose to it.
Appearance: Attractive red/gold color like a good cup of tea. leaves thin coat with long legs on swirling. Could be mistaken for a bourbon in color.
Taste: Rather dry and spicier than other expressions with much more forward (read more pronounced) cinnamon, ginger and slight nutmeg qualities, then the more usual dark fruits, notes of vanilla and a slightly hot, noticeably, drier finish.
Drinks: We tried the drinks mentioned on the website, all of them were good, if not exciting. Worked well in a Black Pagoda (basically a brandy Manhattan -see Gary Regan’s Bartenders Bible) and the fruitiness made for a wonderful brandy base for red Sangria (soak the fruit in it overnight for best results) although I would recommend a cheaper alternative depending on the crowd you are serving. Try swapping it out in a bourbon based drink- you’ll be surprised how well it works – but it is a touch drier so keep that in mind.
Bottle: A complete departure from the usual Courvoisier cognac bottle (think bell or apple shaped with a long neck), more of a brandy or wine bottle with some subtle curves and accents. There is a curved line starting at the right shoulder and a pinched lower waist to the bottle – very similar in some ways to the new Noilly Pratt vermouth bottles -but still sports the raised pommel with a Napoleon medallion at the neck. Cream colored lettering gold neck wrap and a stoppered real cork closure.
Other: Twice-distilled in copper alembic pot stills and aged in French oak casks.
Final Thoughts: A heavy, spicy, cognac that is easy to drink despite its roughness – far more refined than Asbach Uralt., but somewhat reminiscent. If you like bourbon or Jack Daniel’s more than a standard cognac, this cognac is for you. An interesting variation on their usual flavor profile and well worth a try with cocktails in mind.
A quick-loading, informative website with large amounts of history, pictures, recipes etc., but somewhat lacking on details at times. Straight-forward and easy-to-navigate.