The cognac reviews continue. And for a change here’s one that isn’t a Vallein Tercinier. You may remember that I loved their Lot 70 (for Flask) and Rue 71 and thought their Lot 90 (also for Flask) was very good too. Today’s cognac, however, is from Francois Voyer. I know nothing about the world of cognac and so cannot tell you anything about the relative significances of these producers. Nor can I tell you exactly what “Extra” signifies here. Unlike in the Scotch whisky world there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of exactness about age with cognac. You have to believe that Lot 70 truly indicates that the brandy was distilled in 1970 and aged continuously in oak till it was bottled in 2018 or whenever. And a term like “Extra”, which would invite derision in the NAS-heavy world of single malt whisky is trusted to refer to cognac that may indeed be more than 30 years of age. I guess, despite their lack of exactness, cognac producers haven’t done as much as Scotch whisky companies to make consumers leery about their claims.
Well, let’s get to the review of the brandy. As with last week’s Vallein Tercinier Rue 71 this review features guest star, Sku. This was the second of two cognac samples I sent him. With the Rue 71 our notes were not identical but our scores were quite close. This one, as you will see, is a different story.
Francois Voyer, Grande Champagne, Extra (42%; from my own bottle)
Nose: A pleasant medley of peach and apricot with some orange peel mixed in. There’s a bit of graphite/pencil lead as well. Not much change with time. A drop of water pulls out spicier, dustier notes.
Palate: Oak makes the first impression on the palate and the thinness of the texture makes the second. As I swallow though the fruit begins to expand. With time the richer, more tropical fruit from the finish starts showing up earlier and then becomes more intense; the oak becomes less sharp/tannic and more spicy. Thinner all around with water.
Finish: The richer fruit from the nose picks up again on the finish and I’m getting more tropical accents here: passionfruit, guava. The oak comes back at the end, a touch bitter. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Not as rich or intense as the two 1970s beauties from Vallein Tercinier but I like this a lot. After a weak start it comes on strong with time in the glass.
Rating: 88 points.
Sku’s notes (from a sample from my bottle):
The nose has apple cider, some floral notes and then some spice. The palate is light and sweet on the opening, followed by some spice then some fruit punch like notes. The finish is mild and fruity. This one seemed pretty run of the mill to me. It’s perfectly fine, though a bit on the sweet side (I wouldn’t be surprised if there is sugar added).
Sku and my notes are actually more similar than they might appear at first glance. If not for the fact that we both liked the 1970 and 1971 Vallein Terciniers about the same, I would guess based on this juxtaposition that he is not a big fan of what he calls “fruit punch” and I call “tropical fruit” when that’s the dominant note. Maybe it’s the lower oak profile here that tips the balance? Sku is, after all, a bourbon guy at heart. Anyway, he’s wrong, I’m right.