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Jun 26, 2012 10:29 AM

Cognac Recommendation for the Beginner

Okay so I've only been privileged to sample cognac on occasion and it seems delightful but as I am only a novice with a limited budget I would like to toast a special event this weekend in celebration of my daughters engagement, can anyone recommend something simple but truly enjoyable ??

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  1. I did a bunch of research before picking out Landy (VS or VSOP depending on one's budget). I'm also a beginner so I can't speak to all of the subtleties and complexities, but it's well reviewed online (a few others on this board recommended it to me as well) and in general I think it makes sense when on a budget to buy a lesser-known but well regarded product rather than one of the big, hugely advertised products (Hennessy etc) since I prefer to pay for what's in the bottle rather than their advertising budget.

    I think it's quite tasty- very fruity and pretty smooth. It's been about a month since I had some so I don't remember much more about the flavor, but I very much liked it. I have the VS which cost me something around $20 here in Southern California, but I'd like to get the VSOP at some point as well. It comes in a pretty bottle, which is probably also a plus since you're planning to use it for celebration.

    This is the only cognac I've tried so far (I've had a couple of different bottles of brandy) so I'm sure others will be able to give you more experience-based recommendations as well.

    1. Where are you located? The reason I ask is twofold:

      A) If you're in a hot place, I might suggest something that's not quite as rich or heavy.
      B) If you live in California you might want to try a local(ish) brandy rather than something from France.

      Either of these might have exceptions, naturally. Is there a particular reason you'd like to toast with Cognac?

      2 Replies
      1. re: davis_sq_pro

        Well I’m reluctant to say as you may consider me a product of my environment but I am trying to broaden my horizon LOL, I live in south Louisiana !! The only reason I thought of Cognac is because my friend likes it that lives in TX, do you have a better suggestion I don't like wiskey ??

        1. re: Slylock

          How about sparkling wine? (Campagne, cava, or something else depending on your budget and taste.) Personally speaking, I reach for brandy when I am in the mood for quiet contemplation. (A cold rainy night, in my opinion, is perfect for a glass of Cognac.)

          Sparkling wine, on the other hand, is something that makes a celebration feel like a celebration. But perhaps that's just me.

      2. Well you certainly could go with Landy as Tinnywatty suggests - if you've got the budget it is definitely worth paying for the VSOP instead of the VS. Landy is made by the very well respected firm that also makes Cognac Ferrand. The Landy VSOP will set you back around $30/bottle which is pretty cheap for a VSOP. An alternative at around $35 would be an ARMAGNAC like Marie Duffau - beautiful flavor (better than many cognacs) but you may not be able to find it locally. I'd avoid the california brandies for now. If you have enough money to spend around $70/bottle something like Delamain would work very well. All of these suggestions will hold up very well against better known and more expensive labels.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kagemusha49

          Awesome, thank everyone very kindly for your suggestions !!

        2. Pierre Ferrand Ambre is one I enjoy that is a good mid-priced bottle (~$40). Remy Martin VSOP isn't bad either, but I much prefer the Ferrand.

          2 Replies
          1. re: nickls

            I agree that Remy-martin VSOP is much better than Courvoisier or Hennessey, I have yet to try Martell but have heard it is the best of the "big four".

            1. re: nickls

              I also like the Pierre Ferrand. Martell VSOP is in the same price range and is a bit richer and sweeter, though perhaps not quite as interesting. On the more delicate end of the spectrum in the same range is Hine VSOP, which I really like -- and I think it's a better choice for summer.