The outstanding cognacs of France are exquisite little treasures typically produced in small batches by well-known vineyards. Here is a list of what is generally considered to be the cream of the crop.
Frapin VIP XO - This complex brandy is a mixture of distillates stored in kegs for 35 to 40 years, where the fragrant wood helps the cognac reach maturity. Golden-amber hued, it leaves traces of orange and cedar spice on the tongue, distinctive to the VIP XO.
Chateau Montifaud, VSOP - Pulled from the Petite Champagne region of France, this exquisite cognac is just as much a wine as anything else. Grown in strict accordance with tradition on the 75-acre vineyard, the grapes are refined and picked with the highest regard for purity and aged between 8 and 10 years. Golden-hued and slightly floral on the tongue, the residual flavour of Chateau Montifaud VSOP is that of ripe apricots.
Hennessy Richard Hennessy - Boasting legendary distillations as much as 200 years old, even some of the sort folle blanche, a grape killed off in the Reblaus epidemic of 1870, Hennessey has a tradition of creating epic brandy. Hennessey is a singular mixture of vanilla, pepper and ambrosial tones that challenge the tongue and rewards those who invest in its unchallenged reputation for purity and perfection.
Remy Martin, Coeur de Cognac - A mild, fruity cognac that is perfectly designed for a younger crowd, this lovely concotion was created by Pierrette Trichet, the jovial head of the Martin company.
Hine Cigar Reserve - Typically known for his less sophisticated cognacs, Bernard Hine succeeded in creating a masterpiece in 1996 whose flavours include tobacco leaves, dried fruits, various woods and spices. Packaged with a hand-rolled cigar, this exceedingly masculine offering from a richly traditional brand is one to be treasured and slowly enjoyed.