Saturday, June 03, 2006

Cabinet Meeting #1: Cognac tasting

A group of us have semi-regular get togethers in order to cultivate some vices. Much like how when playing hooky to surf is a "board meeting", we decided that this will be a "cabinet meeting".

Our inaugural event was a cognac tasting. The spirits we had to taste were:
A. Claude Chatelier XO Cognac (~$20/bottle)
B. Remy Martin XO Cognac (~$100)
C. Duc du Loussac VSOP Armagnac (~$20)
D. Dartigalongue XO Armagnac (~$40)

We had brought tasting sheets and instructions, but most of the attendees found the actual process of writing down evaulations to be less fun than the process of tasting and talking about it. Which means that the notes I have to go from are incomplete, confusing, and pretty darn amusing. Some just gave numerical notes. So here I'll try to summarize what was legible on the sheets. In the future, however, we won't let paper get in the way of our drinking.

One interesting thing I learned here--apparently snifters are not the appropriate glass for a tasting, as it concentrates the nose too much. Who knew? I was instructed to provide champagne flutes instead. Luckily, due to IKEA and a tendency to throw large parties, I have more than enough champagne flutes on hand for any size tasting. I don't have any snifters. Sometimes things just work out.

Claude Chatelier XO Cognac
Color: fairly light, the second lightest of the bunch.
Nose: turpentine, grape. Many thought it was pretty harsh, but then again, it was the first one we sniffed.
Taste: dry, harsh; astringent, burning; hate hate hate hate hate.
This one rated lowest on average. After tasting them all in various combinations, however, I rated this one #2. I didn't mind the dryness of it, and found the flavor not complex, but good.

Remy Martin XO Cognac
Color-- medium caramel color.
Nose--Nutmeg, mild, musty, spicy
Taste--mild, less harsh, orgainic, peaty, smooth, bitter
Most rated this one first or second. I rated it #3, mostly because I found the flavor to be interesting, but not all that pleasant. However, the other night I had a glass of this with a cigar on the patio, and found it to be incredible.

Duc du Loussac VSOP Armagnac
Color: pale
Nose: mild, sweet, citrus
Taste: dry, weak, wussy, inoffensive
Most tasters, including myself, rated this one low based on its relative lack of flavor. It was my least favorite to sip, however, it probably would be a good ingredient to blend in a cocktail.

Dartigalongue XO Armagnac
Color: rich caramel, the darkest of the bunch
Nose: bright, sweet, mild, vanilla, multi-layered, yummy
Taste: sweet, spicy, complex, cocoa, easy, smooth
This one was a pleasure to drink, and was a favorite of all. I'll be sure to pick up a bottle the next time I stop by the liquor store.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cocktail Jen,
Perfect timing. Three of us were tasked with drinking an obligatory bottle of Claude Chatelier XO. Your review has exposed the fraud and prompted us to donate the bottle to a local charity... or something. Thanks

12:34 AM  

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