A Guide to High Quality Cognacs Under $75
Cognac, the preferred drink of Victor Hugo, Winston Churchill and many big-name rappers today, is generally thought of as a drink reserved for the elite. However, with the current spirits and cocktail renaissance, there are plenty of reasonably priced — and incredibly satisfying — Cognacs available. While the major names are all present on our list, we also made sure to include new and lesser-known houses worthy of attention.
Whether hailing from Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne or Borderies, each of these featured Cognacs proves that an attractive price point and high quality can go hand in hand. Take a look at GAYOT’s list of the Best Cognacs featuring bottles for under $75.
In the mood to splurge? You’ll love our list of Best Prestige Cognacs for a true taste of the world’s finest.
1A. de Fussigny Selection Cognac
The house of A. de Fussigny sits on the banks of the Charente River in the historic center of Cognac, France.
This is also where the Paradise Cognac cellar sits, with the nearby river supplying the humid conditions that are ideal for aging this spirit. The Selection Cognac is made from a blend of grapes from a variety of regions, and has spent on average eight years in the barrel. The bouquet boasts aromas of vanilla and spice, while on the palate, flavors of oak and pepper lead to a warm finish.
In 1905, Norwegian Thomas Bache-Gabrielsen took control of A. Edmond Dupuy distillery and created Bache-Gabrielsen.
Not surprisingly, the house is a leader in Cognac sales in Norway. Blended from Fins Bois and Petite Champagne grapes (100% Ugni Blanc), this distillate is stored for more than seven years in oak barrels, which contribute some woody notes on the nose. Dried fruit, vanilla and a bit more wood follow in the mouth leading to a gentle finish. To highlight the woody, vanilla and dried fruit flavors, pair this with a Brie en Croute dressed with stone fruit jam.
3Cognac Park Carte Blanche VS
This is a young Cognac made with an equal blend of Fins Bois and Petite Champagne grapes.
Crafted in small batches, it has quickly become the darling of the cocktail set due to its high quality and low price point. Aromas of flower, caramelized apple and cherry lead to vanilla and caramel flavors. This is a great “starter” Cognac for those curious about the category but not ready to jump into more expensive territory. Park’s older bottlings are equally lovely.
4Cognac Prunier VSOP Grande Champagne
Prunier can trace its history in the Cognac business back to the 17th century, when Jean Prunier began shipping his wines and Cognacs around the world.
The Maison Cognac Prunier was established in 1769 in the Maison de la Lieutenance, the house of the Lieutenant General of Cognac, which is still the symbol of the company today. Their VSOP, or Very Superior Old Pale, uses only grapes from the Grande Champagne region and boasts rich fruity and floral aromas with apple, rose and light orange. The viscous Cognac covers every inch of the palate with flavors of toasted oak, vanilla and apple, which lead to a long finish with lots of caramel and a well-balanced burn that warms the tip of the tongue.
5Frapin VSOP Grande Champagne Cognac
Located in the center of the Grande Champagne region, Frapin got its start growing grapes as far back as 1270.
This elegant VSOP weaves aromas of flowers and spices like nutmeg with a gentle touch of vanilla on the palate. It is aged for 10 years, which contributes a pleasant heft to the spirit. The balanced character of Frapin VSOP makes this Cognac equally satisfying when enjoyed neat or in a cocktail.
6Gautier Cognac VSOP
With a history that dates back to the 17th century, it is no surprise that Gautier knows what they’re doing.
In 1755, Gautier received a royal warrant and has been producing Cognac ever since, though it is now owned by the Belvedere Group. Made from a blend of grapes from the four leading Cognac regions, this VSOP displays aromas of vanilla and fruit with flavors of oak, apple and light citrus coming through on the palate.
7H by Hine Cognac
H by Hine uses more than 15 eau de vie, with the youngest being four years old.
The grapes are sourced from the Grande and Petite Champagne regions, making this a Fine Champagne blend, and the bottles are aged for about four years. Flavors of white flowers like jasmine and lily of the valley create an overall lightness in taste; hints of spice, stone fruit and vanilla balance out the floral character. As Hine’s youngest Cognac, this is a fresh, bright sipper with a slight sweetness that works on its own or in cocktails. It will surprise those who only turn to the major Cognac houses for their tipple.
8Hardy VSOP Organic
Maison Hardy was founded in 1863 by Anthony Hardy, an Englishman with a deep appreciation for Cognac, France, and the region’s singular spirit.
Today, the company is run by Bénédicte Hardy, the fifth generation of Hardy Cognac makers — and she continues to push the business in new directions. Her latest organic brandy is light and fresh with aromas of orange blossom, citrus and vanilla, which display across the palate with a delicate warmth.
9Pierre Ferrand Original Formula
Modern Cognac has been seen mainly as a sipping spirit, but during the Golden Age of the Cocktail, Cognac was a major player behind the bar.
Pierre Ferrand Chairman/majority owner Alexandre Gabriel has teamed up with cocktail historian David Wondrich to create an offering that harkens back to the old-school style. The inspiration for Ferrand’s Original Formula is an 1840 bottle of Pinet Castillon. Using all Grande Champagne grapes and 19th century blending techniques, the time-intensive process creates a style evocative of fruit, spice and honey, as well as a gentle floral character. Try sweetly spiced nuts as an accompaniment to a cocktail made with Pierre Ferrand Original Formula.
10Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal
The first major house to ever employ a woman as their cellar master, the company is now in the hands of Baptiste Loiseau.
In 2014, Loiseau became the youngest cellar master in the history of Cognac at the age of 33. Whatever makes Rémy Martin continue to push the boundaries, it’s certainly paying off.