cognac is brandy,
but not all brandy is cognac. You can pretty much make brandy
anywhere in the world out of any white grape juice and distill
it any which way you fancy and then age it for a while and
come up with some kind of decent brandy. Cognac, on the other
hand, is strictly regulated, and for a brandy to be called
cognac, it has to be made primarily of a very dry, acidic
and thin, virtually undrinkable grape called Ugni Blanc and
produced under very strict controls and regulations only in
a designated wine growing region of France surrounding the
town of Cognac.
believe me, the French take this stuff very seriously. They
have cognac SWAT teams that take to legal task anyone other
than those in the Appellation d'origine controlee of Cognac
calling their brandy cognac. It's rumored they also use stealth
drones to decimate rogue distilleries outside of France. If
you don't believe me, look it up in your Funk and Wagnall's.
Ferrand cognac is made in the heart of the Cognac
region using only grapes grown in the premier Grande Champagne
region. They started doing this right about the same time
that America became a country. They use only small hammered
copper alembic stills and do a double distillation and then
age their spirits in French Limousin oak barrels.
ALERT: I have been drinking and enjoying Ferrand
cognac for decades, and it is a staple in my collection. They
currently produce 11 cognacs ranging in price from around
$40.00 per bottle to over $2,000.00. I have tasted many of
them over the years and have enjoyed each one. I am still
waiting for someone to pour me a snifter from that Collection
Privee 1914 bottle but that's probably an experience I will
just have to add to my bucket list.
let's get to the best part of this job. First up is the Pierre
Ferrand 1840 three star cognac. You may have noticed
that Ferrand does not use the traditional VS (2 year old)
and VSOP (4 year old) age designations on their bottles, that's
because even their youngest cognacs exceed those minimum age
ranges. This cognac is a very pale golden color, almost like
a weak tea. The nose is a delicate yet crisp balance of citrus,
pears, oak and caramel. On the palate, the presence is far
stronger than it was in the nose and is a mélange of
citrus, vanilla, oak, tobacco and caramel. The finish leaves
a tasty spicy honey flavor that lasts a medium amount of time.
This is a fine little sipper but not as complex or deep as
their more aged cognacs. This particular 1840 cognac would
make a great mixer, as it would not lose its flavor profile
when tossed in with other ingredients.
up is the Pierre Ferrand Ambre, with the
youngest of its cognacs in its blend at least 10 years old.
The color is again a pale golden honey but just a bit darker
than the 1840. The nose is more full and deeper and thicker
than the 1840 with hints of vanilla bean, flowers, apricot
and oak. The palate is warm, sensual, fruity, sweet, and oaky,
with a hint of pear and cinnamon. The finish is warm and honey
sweet and lasts a while. This cognac has more depth and fullness
than the 1840 making it that much more interesting and flavorful.
This one could definitely be enjoyed by itself and definitely
would not get lost in a mixed drink.
of these cognacs are a wonderful introduction to the Pierre
Ferrand line of cognacs. And since they are both around $40.00
per bottle, they make a very affordable introduction.
Ferrand 1840 Original Formula can be bought on sale
at most fine liquor stores for around $40.00 per 750ml bottle,
while the Pierre Ferrand Ambre can be found
for $41.99 per 750ml bottle.
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