The Finest French Cognacs Available
A favorite spirit of business executives, hip-hop moguls and aristocrats around the world, Cognac is deeply rooted to the French soil from which it comes. Distilled from the thin, acidic white wines of the Cognac region and aged to maturity in French oak barrels, this special brandy is a strictly controlled appellation — and rightly so.
The numerous rules and regulations that surround Cognac production help to maintain the quality (and exclusivity) that make the spirit a coveted commodity.
On GAYOT’s list of the Best Prestige Cognacs, you’ll find some of the rarest and most luxurious liquors in the world, boasting centuries-old vintages, carefully crafted blends and hand-cut crystal decanters.
If you’re searching for a more affordable bottle, check out these Cognacs for under $75.
1A. de Fussigny L’Heritage
A. de Fussigny has been driven by a single quest since establishing in 1814 — “Ally authentic French tradition with state-of-the-art modernity and innovation.”
In keeping with this ethos, L’Héritage strikes a fine balance between intensity and elegance. This prestige Cognac is presented in a crystal carafe designed to celebrate the house’s 200th anniversary, and is composed of very old eau de vie, the youngest being 30 years old and the oldest over 100 years old. It boasts a velvety texture and melting notes of toasted almond, candied fruits, spices and sweet vanilla.
2Camus Cognac Cuvée 5.150
The Camus family has had plenty of time to perfect its craft.
The result of five generations of innovation, the prestigious Cuvée 5.150 is this French dynasty’s masterwork, and a celebration of its 150th anniversary. Blended from five different eau de vie, this Cognac is presented in a crystal decanter designed by French artist Serge Mansau. It offers balanced and full flavors of apricot and pear, coupled with creamy vanilla and a trace of sweet almond.
3Cognac Frapin Cuvée 1888
On one of the further-flung branches of its sprawling family tree, the Frapin clan claims 16th century comic author François Rabelais, known for both his prodigious wit and equally prodigious intake of spirits.
That author’s sense of adventure and his appreciation of a good Cognac are still present in Frapin family products. The Cuvée 1888 provides the finest example of the house’s ability to mix centuries-old craft with the natural abundance of France’s Grande Champagne region. A mixture of several vintages, some predating its 1888 moniker, the Cuvée 1888 presents hints of soft spices and a surprising floral aroma.
4Courvoisier Succession J.S.
Several of the vintages employed in creating Courvoisier Succession J.S. date all the way back to the Napoleonic era.
Master Blender Jean-Marc Olivier has been certain to treat these storied constituents with the respect they deserve. The result is a spirit that boasts flavors of crème brûlée, Havana cigars and velvety fruitcake. It is presented in a beautifully handcrafted wooden replica of Napoleon’s war chest, a prized possession that traveled everywhere with the infamous French emperor.
5Hardy Le Printemps
Released in honor of Hardy’s 150th anniversary, Le Printemps is the first in a series of four collaborations with famed crystal manufacturer Lalique.
Limited to 400 bottles, the spirit is a blend of small-batch Grande Champagne Cognacs dating back to the end of the Second World War, and is round in the mouth with light aromas in keeping with the Hardy style. The carafe is inspired by the delicate perfume bottles designed by René Lalique in the early 20th century, and comes in a sophisticated white leather case.
Talent was created in 1991 by Bernard and Jacques Hine to honor the bicentennial of their grandfather’s arrival in France.
As is befitting such a special occasion, the brothers Hine quite literally pulled out all the stops. Talent is culled from the Hine cellars’ finest Cognacs. It offers a flavor with heavy undertones of fruit and comes packaged inside an ornate Baccarat crystal decanter, which is placed inside a humidor custom-made from Honduran mahogany.
7L’Or de Jean Martell
Martell created this luxurious Cognac through a series of unique encounters, using over 400 extremely rare eau de vie (“water of life”), some over a century old.
With notes of fresh citrus, gingerbread and precious wood, L’Or makes it clear why the Martell family cellar is often referred to as “Le Paradis.” Served in a handcrafted crystal decanter, L’Or de Jean Martell offers an unrivaled sensory experience.
8Rémy Martin Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6
A century in the making, Louis XIII de Rémy Martin is a blend of 1,200 eau de vie aged 40 to 100 years, hand-selected by cellar masters and carefully watched until it reaches its ideal state.
Once in a great while, a tierçon, or aged oak barrel, displays an exceptional quality that prompts the cellar master to distinguish it as a “Rare Cask.” The latest batch to earn that distinction, dubbed Rare Cask 42,6 in reference to its 42.6 percent alcohol by volume, displays rich aromas and complex notes of plum, gingerbread and tobacco leaf. Cased in handsome black crystal, Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6 is limited to just 738 decanters.
As the best-selling Cognac brand in the United States, and the supplier of 40 percent of the world’s Cognac overall, Hennessy is an undeniable giant in the world of specialty spirits.
Richard Hennessy is a luxury blend befitting such a storied purveyor. With notes of crystallized fruit, nuts and tobacco, Richard Hennessy takes the brand’s well-known flavor profile and whittles it down to its most wonderfully essential.
10Tesseron Extreme Cognac
Tesseron Extreme Cognac originates from the beautiful, rolling hills of Grande Champagne, home to Tesseron’s Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard vineyards.
This exceptional Cognac is double-distilled in small coal-heated copper still pots. Tesseron Extreme Cognac is velvety and supple on the palate, with mellow yet complex flavors and significant depth.