Cognac is named after the region of the same name located in France. The liquor is made from fruit brandy called eaux-de-vie. The drink is a white wine which goes through 2 distillations.
This article examines the top most popular 10 cognac brands on the market today. Wherever possible it adds details of recommended drinks that one should try. The rank is determined by price, luxury, prestige and awards.
Jan Hennessy & Co (Hennessy) is one of the world’s leading cognac producers, founded in 1765 by Richard Hennessy. In 1987, it merged with Louis Vuitton, making it one of largest luxury conglomerates in the world. The product is now popular amongst young adults, especially those who enjoy listening to hip hop. Artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac Shakur all made references to the brand in their songs.
Recommended Drink: Hennessy Black is a drink that Hennessy is proud of. It’s supposed to be mixed and never drunk straight. It targets the African American population and is associated with clubs, dances and music. There are various launch parties specific to that drink. Be forewarned as it a bit more expensive than other cognacs.
Taste: If you’re wondering about the taste? The taste makes your nose fresh and easy. Your taste buds may feel the slight pinch of honey, ginger, jasmine and floral hints. The drink will be smooth on the palate.
2. Rémy Martin:
The company has been producing cognac since 1724. The brandy was originally produced by Rémy Martin, a French winemaker and is now owned by Remy Contreau. The company is known for its fine champagne cognacs (eaux-de-vie). The category is known to be the highest in the quality of cognac production.
Recommended Drinks: Rémy Martin XO Excellence. It is a mixture of over 300 eaux-de-vie and smaller champagne spirits. The eaux-de-vie is aged in oak casks for 10-37 years. It has won many awards, including 2008 gold in World Spirits competition and 2010 Silver in International Wine and Spirit Competitions
Taste: The drink may smell like a bouquet of flowers, rich in vanilla. You may also taste brioche, orange and dark fruit when drinking it. The finish is long and consistent.
This is one of my favorite cognac brands. It is not too expensive to buy, especially if you are looking for the VSOP kind. The brand is owned by Beam Inc. and is based in Jarnac, France. It was rumored to be the most favorite of Napoleon Banaparte.
Recommended Drinks: Courvoisier XO Impérial. This is extra old and is usually about 20-35 years old. It won many awards, including the 2008 gold award for World Sprits Competition and 2009 Silver International Wine and Spirits Competition.
Taste: This drink is noted for its balance of fruit and is very rounded. The drink may be a bit spicy.
4. Conjure Cognac:
The idea was brought forth by hip hop star Ludacris and fourth generation cognac producer. The product is modern and successful. The taste is smooth and the product is mixable. The sales are increasing with popularity in the United States and Norway. Mostly younger generations drink this.
There is no specific drink that is good. The brand is modern and deserves to be on the list for this specific reason. Their label is still developing and still young. Over the past few years its drinks have won over 60 awards, including in 2006 the Gold award for Excellende in Craftsmanship at the International Spirit Challenge in 2010.
Cognac Camus is a family owned cognac producing company. The company is significant for keeping with newer technologies and developments in society. In 2010, it launched a private lounge in Beijing. In addition to producing cognac, it has a number of wine, champagne and coffee products on the market.
Recommended Drink: Ile de Ré Fine Island Cognac – This Atlantic Cognac comes from the Island of Re. The grapes benefit from the sunshine and salty breezes. The colour of the drink is golden.
Taste: Coherent! It has a strong taste on the palate with a pinch of dried fruit aromas. Try it with room temperature water or with an ice cube.
7. Hine Cognac:
Hine produces one of the most exquisite cognacs. The production is in small quantities but is of high quality. The cognacs are stored differently than other brands. The brand stores its products in vintage casks in cellars in Bristol, England, making it unique. Interestingly enough, the family who owns the cognac house used to smuggle the products between France and England.
8. Martell Cognac:
This is the oldest of the biggest cognac houses still present today. It was founded by Jean Martell in 1715. They are legendary for Martell Condon Bleu, Martell Extra L’Or. It has recently incorporated itself into the luxury goods market and has sales totaling 15 million litres a year.
Recommended Drink: Martell VSOP – This is a classic. The eaux-de-vie come from different growth areas. The prices are usually reasonable for 750 ml.
Taste: This drink is a bit sweet, well rounded, complex and has a hint of dried fruit in it.
9. Cognac Prince Hubert de Polignac:
The brand was named after one of the oldest noble families in France. The cognac is packaged in grey, red or blue coloured bottles that are distinct. The brand was first conceived 60 years ago and has won numerous awards since its conception, including Gold at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2007. Each drink was designed to bring to mind the noble heritage and history. It is the official cognac at the Royal Court of Denmark.
Recommended Drink: Prince Hubert de Polignac Heritage. Great gift and great look that is distinctive.
Taste: The taste is long and profound combining only the richest and purest blends.
I included Rastignac on this list for a variety of reasons. It is one of the lesser known brands and is owned by two brothers in partnership with their father. The XO products are rumored to be excellent. I highly recommend that you try this brand.