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The Brandy Bottle – A.E Dor Opera, Legend

In 1991  A E Dor introduced their Opera presentation. The firm are ardent believers in blending and they decided to use a 25 year old cognac, which they described as an XO.

What made this bottle so special was not just the attractive red and gold ceramic decanter with its ceramic gold stopper, but the box it was presented in. The box opened from the front and had a double hinged front opening which exposed the bottle sitting in front of a gold and curved background – it was a big presentation and looked stunning.

Unfortunately today, the presentation has shrunk down to a much smaller box and the lovely red  decanter so much adored by the Chinese has changed to a blue one. The cognac too has lost some quality and although reputedly older, is stickier and sweeter. Our score 6/10


The Brandy Bottle – Exshaw No 1

The firm was founded in 1805 and cognacs were shipped to Britain and India. In those days there was no Suez Canal and the cognacs were transported by camels across hundreds of miles of desert. They must have liked the cognac, since the name is still used today although the cognacs have changed rather a lot.  The firm has had a famous history but its most recent owners, Otard have decided to use a remarkably similar tasting cognac as their own and another sold in the Far East called Chateau de la Grange in the bottles. Pressure on the availability of older cognacs has led to a blending crisis with the result that average ages of this, and many others of a similar ilk, has decreased considerably.

It would be a reasonable description if we said the cognac was a bit sticky, we are being kind with that! Our score 4/10



The Brandy Bottle: Hermitage 1975 Grande Champagne

Our Hermitage 1975 Grande Champagne was awarded the Masters Medal in the prestigious 2010 Cognac Masters Competition held in London, beating every other vintage cognac. But not just with a Gold Medal but with the highest accolade of all, The Masters Medal.

So why is this wonderful cognac so good? It was produced on a small12 hectolitre narrow headed still, designed to minimise rectification by allowing all the fruit flavours in the wine to condense when it returns to a liquid. What makes this a great cognac is the ageing and strength – small oak barrels with a medium toasting, kept in damp cellars with a final strength of 47%.

The combination of great distillation and ageing has created a rich and complex cognac with flavour that is enhanced by its strength. Our score 10/10

Brandyclassics exclusive range of Hemitage cognacs won multiple awards at the Cognac Masters Competition in 2010. You can only buy Hermitage cognacs from Brandyclassics, either via our online store or by calling us on +44 (0)1225 863988


The Brandy Bottle – Chateau de Beaulon 12 year old VSOP

The Chateau de Beaulon 12 year old VSOP is a cognac of the  Fin Bois cru. Although the Fins Bois is the fourth cru, one should not conclude that it produces fourth grade cognacs. Indeed there is an area of Coniacian Chalk that passes through the south west corner of the region that extends through to the town of Cognac, and is responsible for some of the finest cognacs in Fins Bois. There has been a continuing argument that this particular area should be re-classified as Borderies or even Petite Champagne for the quality of its cognacs.

The Chateau de Beaulon 12 year old is a blended cognac with others of the same age. It possesses a fine neutrality of flavour, making it a superb beginners drink. It is neither sweet nor dry, it is not young but not hugely aged. It is not light in style or heavy. It is a well balanced and smooth brandy with few distinctive qualities and hugely easy to drink. If you have never tasted cognac before, this is the one to start with.

Our score: 7/10



The Brandy Bottle – Ragnaud Sabourin, Paradis

Perhaps it is because the cognac producing region is relatively small that it is also rather incestuous. Like many cognac producers, the history of Ragnaud Sabourin and its distant relatives who are only just around the corner is colourful.

Family matters though have not prevented Ragnaud Sabourin identifying a quantity of cognacs hidden in a corner of their cellars from 1903. They have bottled it  (but it has to be said, in the cheapest bottles made) and put it into a presentation box. It is as well that we do not score the presentation!

That aside what is in the bottle is nothing less than historic  with lots of complex floral aromas and a delightful orange marmalade citrus and fresh walnut rancio which is immediately apparent. This is one of our greats and a truly remarkable cognac.

Our score 9.5/10