Cognac Tasting – Birmingham, Al

On Saturday 8/25/18, Brittani and I participated in a cognac tasting at LeNell’s Beverage Boutique.  It was a new experience because we are less familiar with cognac compared to other spirits.

Cognac is made in France by distilling grape juice in a pot still and aging it more than 2 years in oak barrels.  It can be made from the juice of the grapes or from the full juice and pumice.  LeNell’s, a specialty liquor store in the Norwood area of Birmingham, AL, teamed up with Magnolia Beverage Company, an alcohol distribution company, to hosting a tasting.  Let me start with saying that the Magnolia rep was extremely knowledgeable about his product.  And I’ll follow that up by saying that LeNell’s provided Glencairn glasses, which highlight the scent and, hence, the flavor of distilled spirits.

In the cognac world there are 4 designations:
V.S. (Very Special) has a minimum of 2 years in barrels
V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale) is at least 4 year old
XO (Extra Old) traditionally means a minimum of 6 years old, but as of 2018 the requirement was changed to 10 years
Hors d’âge (Beyond Age) is an unofficial statement used to designate superior products aged well beyond the XO requirement

Of the offerings at LeNell’s, both Brittani and I agree that the V.S.O.P expression of Masion Paul Beau was the best.  It highlighted the grape / raisin base with a creamy texture.  The Guillon Painturaud expression is aged about 30 years, but much to my surprise, the oak did not overtake the base ingredients.

Prices:  $50 – $350 per bottle

LeNell’s Beverage Boutique