Duodognon Napoleon II (for K&L)

Last week I had a review of a K&L exclusive Bowmore that I rather liked. May as well take that as a spur to do a week of reviews of K&L exclusives. And as that Bowmore was a bottle recommended by Sku, I might as well make it a week of K&L exclusives that I received samples of from Sku. First up is a Cognac. I know very little about Cognac—as I’ve said before—and so I cannot tell you anything about Duodognon (presumably the producer). I do know that the Napoleon designation means that the brandy is at least six years old. However, I cannot tell you why this is called Duodognon Napoleon II, though I’d guess the prosaic answer is that this is the second Duodognon Napoleon bottled by/for K&L. This was issued in 2016. Sku reviewed it then and seemed to like it: he said it was “nice” and he must have thought so: the review contains more than 10 words, a rarity for Sku. Anyway, I am looking forward to trying a younger Cognac, the two others I’ve reviewed so far having been a lot older.

Duodognon Napoleon II Cognac (40%; for K&L; from a sample from a friend)

Nose: Some fruit off the top (apple mostly) but not much else. With more time there’s a little bit of vanilla, a little bit of oak but it doesn’t add up to very much. Water brings out a perfumed note but doesn’t do very much for it.

Palate: More character here with more fruit (apple again in the lead but with some orange peel mixed in) and some bitter oak. The texture is too thin and that thinness carries through into an overall lack of depth. With more time it begins to pick up some muskier fruit but it all dissipates as soon as it arrives. Even thinner with water.

Finish: Long. Can you have a long finish that’s thin all the way through? Well, that’s what we have here. Bitter oak, spice and a metallic note take a long while to fade out. Water is best for the finish where it knocks the oak back a bit.

Comments: This is drinkable enough but utterly unremarkable. Would it have been better at a higher strength? Somehow I doubt it—I suspect the oak would have been even more talkative. Granted, I don’t have much of a history with Cognac but I really don’t understand who something like this is for. It doesn’t seem like it would be particularly interesting to those who drink older/more expensive Cognac, and it also doesn’t seem like it would appeal very much to those who are new to the category. But what do I know?

Rating: 80 points.

Thanks to Sku for the sample!

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