A few rules you can count on to make sure you’re buy­ing the very best:

Sharp - - GUIDE -

It’s some­times worth trad­ing up to an XO (Ex­tra Old), which is made with spirit that’s been aged a min­i­mum of six years. The spicy and ex­quis­ite is an ex­cel­lent rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the form. Look for the in­de­pen­dents. Most of the Cognac we get in Canada is pro­duced by big houses owned by multi-na­tional liquor com­pa­nies, but fam­ily-owned Hine Cognac is a near-per­fect ex­cep­tion. is a bright and com­plex brandy that tastes like pear bal­anced with spice and dry co­coa. Borderies, Pe­tite Cham­pagne, and Grande Cham­pagne are the pre­mier mi­cro-re­gions. And to taste the dif­fer­ence mi­cro­cli­mate makes, splash out on a bot­tle of Not re­ally a rule, but is an easy-drink­ing, full-bod­ied Cognac that comes with Jay-z’s seal of ap­proval. It opens with in­tense maple syrup and then eases into cin­na­mon-raisin ter­ri­tory. When in doubt, mix it into a cock­tail. Peo­ple used to cry at the thought of even adding wa­ter to a VSOP. Now, com­pa­nies like Cour­voisier ac­tu­ally en­cour­age it, point­ing out that their VSOP goes great in eggnog, Cham­pagne cock­tails, and, ev­ery­body’s favourite cure for the com­mon cold, the

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