I was recently lucky enough to find a bottle of De Luze VSOP Cognac in my possession and so thought I’d look at making some high-end Cognac cocktails.
First, here’s a little about the history behind this Cognac. In 1822, Baron Alfred De Luze founded a company that went onto purchase vineyards in Grande Champagne and Margaux; areas well-known for the quality of grapes produced there. This must have come through in the quality of their Cognac, because De Luze were granted the Royal Warrant by King Christian X of Denmark in 1927. More recently, in 2006, De Luze were bought by the Boinaud Family, which is the largest private wine growers of the Cognac Appellation (the region in France where wines used to produce Cognac must come from).
A Fine Champagne Cognac must have at least half of its Cognacs originating from the Grande Champagne region, specifically, but De Luze VSOP Fine Champagne is a blend with over 70% from this region. They are all between 10 and 12 years of age, with the oldest, according to the website, coming from the 1989 harvest.
So how does it taste?
Smooth and flavourful, this has a rich and complex taste with a hint of crème brûlée and dried fruit, as well as some deeper notes, such as dark chocolate and cinnamon. This is definitely something that’s easy to sip and savour over an evening.
This was a superb drink: clean, crisp and tart. It was very fresh and the strong flavours of the Cognac come through, whilst remaining smooth. The drink remains vibrant, but well-rounded, with its sharpness offsetting the alcohol.
Superb! Exceptionally smooth and mellow, with complex herbal notes, anise and a touch of vanilla at the end. It also had a great balance of warmth and refreshment, providing a drink that you can really just sink into, without being too heavy. The comforting finish ended with a hint of ginger warmth, reminding me of a long, relaxing bath.
This is a fancy Horse’s Neck, made using Cognac instead of brandy and a high-end (imported, ooh la la!) ginger ale. Notably, Q-Ginger, from the folks that brought us Q-Tonic. This made yet another superb drink, being both complex and refreshing. The full flavour of the Cognac comes through, followed by citrus and a sweet, fruity zing. I found it to be less sweet and more sophisticated than a usual Horse’s Neck. Very classy.
This is a cloudy light brown mixture, with the flavour of dark sugar and a menthol note at the end. As you drink it, it begins to clear in the glass and the flavours of the Cognac become more prominent, with the mint flavour taking a back seat. This a crisp and refreshing cocktail and a great alternative to an after dinner mint. I can see why James Bond enjoys it with coffee in ‘Diamonds are Forever’ (at the 21 Club in New York).
Cognac is an excellent base for certain cocktails and is always worth considering when you want a drink where you can appreciate the underlying flavours. The Sidecar as always been a favourite of mine and I think it always will be. That said I love the Thoroughbred too!