Filed under: Spirits
Sitting down with Pierre Szersnovicz, the cognac house's director of spirit quality control and global brand ambassador, conversation wandered into a discussion of how, and why, someone would create a spirit simply for blending (nay, disappearing) into a mixed drink. While suitable for others, understandably so given the cocktail's continued reign, Szersnovicz emphasized that the newly created Connoisseur Collection was an appeal to the cognac aficionado and not the mixologist. To wit, Courvoisier will release two age declaring bottles in October, a 12-year and a 21-year (like whiskey, both numbers represent the youngest age in the blends). The 12-year old is a blend of stock from the crus of Borderies, Fins Bois and Grande Champagne, while the 21-year old is comprised entirely of the top-tier Grande Champagne. Double distilled, both bottlings are then put through a two-step aging process, first in young French oak barrels and then in reused casks to extract their tannis. The young barrels, which the house selects from a number of areas including Limousin, are given a medium char for subtle wood and vanilla notes, which avoids an aggressive, over-oaked profile. The results are evident in the 12-year, which shows light wood notes, spice and fruit with a finish of cloves and anise. As for the 21-year, the floral notes recede to highlight dried fruit, cooked honey and sandalwood.
And for those whom the market has come back to (or never went away from), Courvoisier introduces L'Essence. Housed in a Baccarat-designed decanter, which requires 30 craftsmen to produce and features a crystal stopper emblazoned with Napoleon's signet, L'Essence de Courvoisier contains a blend of 100 eaux-de-vies stretching back 60 to 70 years. A reliquary-like display box presents the bottle (which can be engraved) upright and illuminated by several LED lights. Wonderfully mature and complex, only 125 bottles will be available in the US, priced at $3,000. As for mixing this one, well, that's your call.