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The top 10 best value for money Cognacs

With demand soaring and notable increases in both volume and value, the Cognac category seems to be striding towards recovery. We present the best value for money bottlings on the market.

SB rounds up 10 of the Cognac category’s best-value bottlings
SB rounds up 10 of the Cognac category’s best value bottlings

The Spirits Business held its annual Cognac Masters last month, where an experienced panel of judges recognised the best bottlings in the business.

Looking across multiple categories, from VSOP Premium to XO Single Cru and Single Vintage, a wide range of Cognacs were awarded the top accolades of Master and Gold medals for their quality.

The individual scores of each entrant have not been revealed, however these were 10 of the highest rated medallists in the competition, in no particular order.

While some expressions carry a more premium price tag, our judges have given each Cognac listed here the seal of approval for offering excellent quality within their respective price categories – meaning you can part with your hard-earned cash with confidence.

Click through to the following pages to view the top 10 best value for money Cognacs of 2018.

Camus Extra Dark and Intense

Price: £366

The first expression to win a Master medal in the No Age Statement – Ultra Premium flight was Camus Extra Dark and Intense.

The judging panel described it as having aromas of “medjool dates” and “wood polish” combined with flavours of “toffee”, “raisins” and “nutmeg”. “That depth of flavour and wood ageing, that’s what you pay for,” noted one judge. “It was a very elegant Cognac. The underlying aromatic spirit was still there, it had just developed new characteristics from the influence of the wood during ageing.”

Louis Royer Extra

Price: £270.67

A Gold medal was delivered to Louis Royer Extra, which was praised for its “tobacco, earthy” notes on the nose and a “very long finish”.

The expression is made completely from eaux-de-vie taken from the Grande Champagne region.

Martell Cordon Bleu Extra

Price: US$359

Pernod Ricard’s Martell Cordon Bleu Extra gained a Master medal in the XO – Ultra Premium flight. One judge noted: “There’s beautiful passion fruit and coconut on the nose, quince, elderflower, honey, baked carrots – there’s so much going on.” Another member of the panel agreed: “It was incredibly elegant, with lots of depth on all levels, with warming earthy spices.”

De Luze XO Fine Champagne

Price: US$153

Luze XO Fine Champagne was bestowed with a Master medal and praised for its “delicate but complex” nose, “baked apples and a hint of burnt toast” on the palate.

One judge noted: “This is what I would expect from an XO. Lovely ‘grapiness’ and high quality spirit that’s shown it can go through extended ageing and come out beautiful at the other end. This is magical.”

Cognac Frapin Cigar Blend XO

Price: £99.95

The “compelling and sublime” Cognac Frapin Cigar Blend XO was awarded a Master medal in the XO – Single Cru flight.

The expression has been distilled over lees and aged in Limousin oak barrels for 20 years.

According to Frapin, the eau-de-vie has notes of aged Port mixed with the scent of wooden cigar boxes, typical of a Grande Champagne Cognac.

Ferrand Cognac 1840 Original Formula

Price: £44

Cognac house Pierre Ferrand was awarded a Gold­ medal for its Ferrand Cognac 1840 Original Formula, which was praised for its “rancio and dried apricot” on the nose, and more “earthy, coffee” notes on the palate to create a “very pleasant all­-rounder”.

All Ferrand Cognacs derive from vineyards in the Grande Champagne region.

D’Ussé VSOP

Price: £68.99

Bacardi-owned premium Cognac brand D’Ussé VSOP was awarded a Gold medal in the VSOP – Premium category.

The expression has been aged for at least four-and-a-half years in the cellars of  France’s Château de Cognac, a 16th-century castle on the banks of the Charente River in Cognac.

Cognac Frapin Château Fontpinot XO

Price: £105

The second Cognac Frapin expression to win a Master was Cognac Frapin Château Fontpinot XO.

“The texture there is fantastic, really great. It was oily, mouth-­coating, something you want to pick up. Every time you taste it, you find new flavours,” said one judge.

The Cognac is distilled over lees and made from grapes harvested, distilled, aged and bottled at Château Fontpinot.

Camus Borderies XO Family Reserve

Price: US$250 (one-litre) and US$180 (700ml)

Cognac house Camus was bestowed the final Master of the competition with its single-estate expression – Camus XO Borderies Family Reserve.

In line with the rest of Camus’ Borderies offering, Family Reserve is created exclusively using grapes grown on one single Borderies vineyard belonging to the Camus family.

“Once you get past that sugary red wine, it drops off and is hot, unapologetically flavourful, beautifully rich,” one judge said.

Naud Cognac VS

Price: £31

Spirits distiller Famille Naud was given a Gold medal for its “sweet but spicy” Naud Cognac VS in the Super Premium round.

Bottled at 40% abv, the expression is created with eau-de-vie matured for at least four years.

Naud boasts 10 cellars and 5,500 Limousin oak barrels, with a capacity of 350 to 400 litres each.

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