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Top 10 award-winning Cognacs 2023

From rich, full-bodied bottlings to delicate, elegant expressions – these award-winning Cognacs are the definition of ‘medal worthy’.

Cognac Jean Fillioux vines
Cognac: Jean Fillioux

Cognac is a category globally renowned for its quality products. Producers have spent centuries perfecting the art of Cognac making – and this year’s blind tasting took the time to celebrate some of the best in the business.

At The Carriage in the Great Northern Hotel in London, expert judges eagerly gathered to put the category through its paces.

The judges were divided into two panels, the first of which was led by Melita Kiely, editor of The Spirits Business and chair of The Global Spirits Masters Competitions (GSMC). She was joined by: Ruchira Neotia, partner – Collectivino; and Ed Bates, founder of Distilled London.

Group two was chaired by Matt Chambers, spirits writer and co-founder of the Whisky For Everyone blog. He was accompanied by: Evan Prousaefs, bar manager at Sexy Fish; and Dr Winnie Bowman, Cape wine master, wine and spirits judge and writer.

Below are 10 of the top-scoring medallists from The Cognac Masters 2023.

Courvoisier VSOP

Courvoisier VSOPThis Master-winning Cognac comprises a blend of four crus and has been designed to represent the ‘versatility and multi-layered nature’ of the House of Courvoisier.

During the tasting, the Cognac was celebrated for its “nice dryness and fruitiness” on the palate, enhanced further by its “silky texture – well made and worth the price”. Bottled at 40% ABV, Courvoisier VSOP retails for around £43 (US$54).


D'Usse CognacIn the VSOP – Super Premium heat, Cognacs priced between £51 (US$64) and £70 (US$88) were sampled to see if they were worth their price tags. Jay-Z and Bacardi’s D’Ussé VSOP collected a Master medal for impressing the judges with its “fruity, spicy and elegant” palate, “with a plethora of fruitiness and ginger on the aftertaste”, noted Prousaefs.

The Cognac is aged for a minimum of four-and-a-half years before being bottled at 40% ABV.

Larsen XO

Larsen-Cognac-new-bottleWith a blend of 60 different eaux-de-vie from Fin Bois and Petite Champagne, Larsen XO secured a coveted Master medal in the XO – Super Premium heat.

The judges detected notes of “fruit and spice” on the nose, leading to “caramel, a hint of tropical fruit, a drop of orange oil, and some lovely raisin notes” on the palate. “Superb balance,” enthused Chambers.

At 40% ABV, the Cognac retails for around £100 (US$125) a bottle.

Martell XO

Martell XOMaster-winning Martell XO combines liquid from Grande Champagne with Borderies Crus. The Cognac, owned by Pernod Ricard, bagged the top award in the XO – Ultra Premium heat.

Martell XO impressed with its “elegant and balanced” palate, full of “fruitiness and spice” with a “fresh and herbaceous aftertaste”.

Sitting at 40% ABV, the Cognac retails for around £180 (US$225) per bottle.

Cognac Frapin Millésime 1990

Frapin Millesime 1990 CognacThis 30-year-old Cognac stole the show during The Cognac Masters 2023, securing not only a Master medal but the overall Cognac Taste Master accolade.

Non-chill-filtered and bottled at 41.8% ABV, the Cognac was entered into the Vintage – Single Cru category, where it was described as having a “luxurious” mouthfeel. Tasting notes included “tropical fruit, peach and apricot compote, warming woody spices and cinnamon dryness in the background”.

A de Fussigny XO

A-De-Fussigny-XO-Fine-ChampagneMaster-winning A de Fussigny XO Fine Champagne intrigued the judges with its “superbly expressive” nose, leading to “a hint of tropical fruit and earthy spices, chamois leather, old cigar box and a lovely peppery note on the finish”.

The top award was secured during the XO – Ultra Premium flight, which proved to be a particularly strong segment on the day, delivering four Master medals in total. A de Fussigny XO sits at 40% ABV.

Rémy Martin XO

remy martin XOAn aroma bursting with “coffee, chocolate and waxy furniture polish”, leading to a palate brimming with “soft baking spices, soft fruit and elegant wood spice” secured a Master medal for Rémy Martin XO in the XO – Ultra Premium contingent.

This bottling is cellar master Baptiste Loiseau’s signature Cognac, combining hundreds of eaux-de-vie. It is recommended neat or on the rocks, or mixed into an Old Fashioned cocktail.

Jean Fillioux – Très Vieux Extra

Jean Fillioux CognacThis Cognac was enjoyed for its “lovely notes of raisins and candied orange” on the nose, leading to a “good pinch of baking spice” when sipped.

Made exclusively with Grande Champagne eaux-de-vie, this Cognac sits at 40% ABV and retails for around £80 (US$100).

Branson Cognac VSOP Grande Champagne

50-Cent-Branson-CognacNotable Gold medallists included Branson Cognac VSOP Grande Champagne, the brand founded by rapper 50 Cent (pictured). The Cognac was described by the judges as “fruity, elegant and vibrant”.

The Cognac is made with liquid matured for between four and seven years. Bottled at 40% ABV, Branson Cognac VSOP Grande Champagne retails for around £85 (US$107).

Camus XO


With an ABV of 40%, the judges were impressed by the complexity of Camus XO, awarding the Cognac a coveted Gold medal. The nose is said to offer fruitiness, such as apricot kernels and bitter orange, alongside tropical fruit and a hint of cocoa. A silky texture gives way to flavours of honey with spicy, toasty aromas.

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