A good serviceable cognac, but coasting on its marketing in the price/quality ratio.
Notes: Line extension of the venerable Courvoisier line which includes the usual grades V. S., the new V.S.O.P. designed and blended with an eye for mixing Exclusif , 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.
First Impression: Apricots, vanilla, caramel, and oily nuts and some oak. A sweet, almost sherry or jam like-like smell to it. Very distinctive, somewhat heavy nose to it.
Appearance: Attractive red/gold color, leaves thin coat on swirling. Could be mistaken for a bourbon in color.
Taste: Sweet and thick, with intense dark fruits, notes of vanilla and a slightly hot 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.
Bottle: Simple clear glass cognac bottle (think bell or apple shaped with a long neck), somewhat distinctive (sloped shoulder and raised pommel with a Napoleon medallion ). Gold letters “VSOP” underneath with gold edged dark blue crescent/lozenge shaped label and gold neck wrap.
Other: Twice-distilled in copper alembic pot stills and aged in French oak casks. This tasted like nectar of the gods, when I was in considerable pain from a broken leg and on a flight back from France – I don’t think I would have made it without the Courvoisier.
Final Thoughts: A heavy, fruity, cognac that is easy to drink despite its roughness. If you like bourbon or Jack Daniel’s more than cognac, this cognac is for you. A good cognac, generally, but resting on its laurels in terms of price/quality ratio.
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.