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abenc85

Best cocktail to compare brandies (armagnac and cognac)?

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Hello! Finally decided to join after being a long-time lurker.

 

My first question might have a pretty obvious answer but I'll lay out the full context anyway.

 

Last year I picked up my first cognac to add to my ever-growing cocktail cabinet and it happened to be a bottle of Courvoisier VSOP in the 'old' style and packaging - that is the navy blue bottle. It had a really fruity tang that utterly popped in cocktails; highlights were sidecar, sangaree, french mule, french cocktail, le sang et sable and the one that really stood out was the brandy sour, but the flavour profile remained consistent in all the drinks. When the bottle ran out, after doing a bit of reading, I learned that the courvoisier line had changed. They rolled out a new purple packaging scheme and the recipes had been transformed. Having tried some of the newer VSOP, it is completely different, dull and flat. I've subsequently embarked on finding a brandy that recaptures my enthusiasm for mixing with it without much success. I've tried them all as sours as I have believed this is the best way to find the flavour profile I'm after. Some of the main ones I've tried include Remy Martin VSOP, Pierre Ferrand Ambre, Le Reviseur VS, ABK6 VS, Maxime Trijol VS and they've all been similarly flat without much of that punchy fruity presence that made the CV drinks so memorable. 

 

I've now branched out to trying a few armagnacs and recently sampled (again as sours) Baron de Sigognac 10 yr, Janneau 5 yr and Clos Martin VSOP. Whilst the Clos martin was weird and bitter (I don't think it is meant for mixing), the others were much nicer and the closest to an interested cocktail brandy I've tried in a while.

 

I've now got 7 more samples to try out and before I jump ahead I thought it was worth getting some opinions on what you think the best way to taste brandy in cocktail might be, and maybe if anyone has found a similar flavour profile to what I'm after could point me towards certain lines or releases. Samples so far are Baron de Sigognac VS & VSOP, Janneau VSOP, ABK6 Ice, Courvoisier VS, Camus VSOP Elegance and Thompson's brandy. 

 

 

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You could try an all-brandy Sazerac (https://cold-glass.com/2012/01/27/why-is-there-cognac-in-my-sazerac/, for some example specs).

 

I'm not a brandy/cognac/armagnac connoisseur by any stretch, but for cocktails I've found - and it's been said by many in this forum - that higher proof versions like PF 1840 formula, Louis Royer Force 53, etc usually do better in cocktails, the 80 proof stuff often gets lost in the drink. YMMV of course.

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Hey,

 

Thanks for the suggestion of a sazerac, but I recently tried a traditional brandy + rye sazerac and really did not get on well with it! I think I will try it again, but once I have collared down the brandy I like! Thanks for the suggestion on the higher proof cognac - going to add these to the sample pool methinks!

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I have added Pierre Ferrand 1840 and Louis Royer Force 53 to the sample pool, quite looking forward to trying them!

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For comparison in a cocktail its best not to have too many other drink ingredients overpowering the taste of the Armagnac or the Cognac itself. The Sidecar and Sour work well with that criteria. Less so for the Le Sang Et Sable.

 

You might want to also try experimenting with a Brandy Old Fashioned, Metropolitan or Flip.

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