Liquor Laboratory

10 Best Cognac To Drink Straight: Revealed (2024 Updated)

best cognac to drink straight

Cognac has a reputation for being an elite, prestigious drink, which is why many people feel intimidated and don’t know much about it. Here’s something to note: much of the flavor difference between cognac bottles have something to do with their aging period. The aging period is not relative to the smoothness of the spirit, though. Consider this article a helping hand when choosing the best cognac to drink straight. Check out our list below. 

Top 10 Smooth Best Cognac To Drink Straight

10. Camus XO Borderies

Camus XO Borderies

ABV: 40% 

Average Price: Around $180 

Cognac Type: XO 

The Camus XO Borderies is the only globally available cognac sourced exclusively from the Borderies cru, yet it remains relatively affordable. 

This cognac has a notably smooth and velvety texture, perfect for drinking straight. 

It has fruit-forward flavor notes, a floral aroma, and a touch of nuttiness to keep things fresh and interesting. 

9. Deau URB’N De Luxe Cognac

Deau URB’N De Luxe Cognac

ABV: 40% 

Average Price: Around $50 

Cognac Type: VS 

The Deau URB’N De Luxe Cognac is definitely a smooth sipper for drinking straight, despite being a VS bottle. 

This one is younger and more robust, with berries, dark grapes, and citrus flavor notes. Its aroma also follows the fresh trend. 

8. Vallein Tercinier XO Vieille Reserve Cognac

Vallein Tercinier XO Vieille Reserve with box on desk

ABV: 40% 

Average Price: Around $130  

Cognac Type: XO 

Vallein Tercinier may be a small, artisan brand, but this bottle leads us to believe that we should be paying attention to them more. [1

Vallein Tercinier XO Vieille Reserve Cognac is a wonderful surprise, from its fine and delicate aromas of dry fruit, peach, and lemon, to the floral and spicy palate of tobacco, honey, and tangerine. 

The spirit is made from the blend of Eaux-de-vies from two premier growth areas of the Cognac region. 

This cognac is best sipped neat or with a few drops of water to help open up the flavor and aromas even more. 

7. Marancheville XO Cognac

Marancheville XO Cognac on table with white grapes

ABV: 40% 

Average Price: Around $120 

Cognac Type: XO 

The Marancheville XO Cognac is produced exclusively with Grande Champagne grapes and aged for a minimum of 30 years. 

This cognac is buttery, well-rounded, smooth, and fruity, with balsamic notes of cedar and prominent rancio that rounds out into a slight bitterness. 

The darker notes like leather, wood, and musk can be attributed to the spirit’s long aging period, making it far more interesting. 

6. D’Usse VSOP Cognac

D’Usse VSOP Cognac

ABV: 40% 

Average Price: Around $70 

Cognac Type: VSOP 

If you’re a big fan of hip-hop music, you might’ve heard of Jay-Z’s brand, D’Usse. In fact, a rare bottle signed by the legendary rapper sold at an auction for a whopping $52,000! 

Don’t worry, though — not all expressions from the brand command such a high price. 

We highly recommend getting the VSOP expression, as its smoothness and floral blend make it excellent to drink straight, even for beginners. If you want to mix this in a Sidecar, that’s okay, too. [2

Read: D’Usse vs Hennessy

5. Château de Montifaud XO Silver Cognac

Château de Montifaud XO Silver

ABV: 40% 

Average Price: Around $150 

Cognac Type: XO 

The Chateau de Montifaud estate is located at the Premier cru’s cusp, where it meets the Petite Champagne. 

Its optimal location gives it plenty of access to the best quality grapes for producing cognacs, which they take full advantage of in producing Château de Montifaud XO Silver Cognac. 

The Château de Montifaud XO Silver Cognac is made from a blend of Eaux-de-vies aged for over 20 years in red Limousin oak casks. 

This cognac is saturated with floral aromas and wonderfully soft, but it holds great character and depth. But what’s the best cognac below $200?

4. Marancheville VSOP Cognac

Marancheville VSOP on desk with box

ABV: 40% 

Average Price: Around $50 

Cognac Type: VSOP 

The Marancheville VSOP Cognac is exactly the cognac that proves it doesn’t have to have an extensive aging period before it’s classified as good. 

This expression is the youngest produced by the brand, made exclusively with Eaux-de-vie from the Grande Champagne region. 

This bottle is fairly inexpensive compared to most other cognacs, making it accessible to those just starting to get into the spirit. 

This cognac has a pleasant aroma of pastries and a smooth texture on the palate, despite its young age. It has a long finish that lingers impressively. 

But what’s the best liquor to drink straight?

3. Deau XO Cognac

Deau XO Cognac on table with glass

ABV: 40% 

Average Price: Around $100 

Cognac Type: XO 

The Deau XO Cognac is made with a blend of Eaux-de-vies from the Petite Champagne and Fins Bois regions and aged for a minimum of ten years. 

As a result, the cognac is wonderfully balanced, with the aromas of jasmine, violet, and candied fruit, and flavor notes of toasted wood, plums, and honey. 

It has a satisfyingly long finish, rife with unconventional notes of leather, cigar box, and musk. But what’s the best XO cognac for the money?

2. De Luze XO Cognac

De Luze XO Cognac

ABV: 40% 

Average Price: Around $150 

Cognac Type: XO 

Coming in at number two is the De Luze XO Cognac, a multi-award-winning spirit and one of the best expressions from the brand. 

The spirit is aged for at least 20 years and is made with some of the oldest Eaux-de-vies from the estate, some even coming from the harvest of 1980. 

This spirit has everything you would expect in cognac and more — it has a wonderfully round palate, with bold and intense flavor notes of dark fruit and some spices. 

Its long finish leaves you wanting more after you’ve taken that sip. 

1. ABK6 VSOP Single Estate Cognac

ABK6 VSOP Single Estate

ABV: 40% 

Average Price: Around $50 

Cognac Type: VSOP 

As the name suggests, the ABK6 VSOP Single Estate Cognac is made within a single estate in the Fins Bois region, owned by the Abecassis family. 

The spirit is beautifully rich and spicy, with baked apples, fresh fruits, and soft oak. It’s also fairly inexpensive for its great quality and is a safe, sure choice for those wanting to try cognacs for the first time. It tastes great neat. 

This expression has a long string of awards, like Double Gold at the China Wine and Spirits Awards of 2019, and back-to-back Gold in the 2013 and 2014 International Wine and Spirits Competition.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you drink cognac warm or cold?

It’s best to drink cognac at room temperature. Warming up cognac will destroy most of its flavors and aromas, and you won’t be able to experience its full intensity. 
On the other hand, cooled or chilled cognac tends to taste quite bland.

What cognac type is the best to drink straight?

It’s best to drink older cognac expressions, like the XO, straight. Drinking cognac straight will allow most of its unique flavor nuances to shine through. 
You can also add a few drops of room temperature water to make the drinking experience smoother and to open up more of the cognac’s flavors and aromas. 

What Are Some of the Best Cognacs for Enjoying Neat?

Cognac enthusiasts often recommend options like Hennessy XO, Remy Martin XO, Martell Cordon Bleu, Courvoisier XO, and Hine Antique XO for savoring neat due to their exceptional smoothness, complexity, and depth of flavor.

What Makes These Cognacs Ideal for Drinking Straight?

These cognacs are prized for their luxurious textures, well-rounded flavors, and long, satisfying finishes, making them perfect choices for sipping neat and appreciating the full spectrum of their aromatic and flavor profiles.

Do These Cognacs Offer Unique Flavor Profiles When Enjoyed Neat?

Yes, each of these cognacs possesses distinct flavor profiles, ranging from rich and fruity to spicy and oaky, providing a diverse range of tasting experiences for connoisseurs who prefer to enjoy their cognac unadulterated.

Can I Expect Smoothness and Elegance from These Cognacs When Drunk Neat?

Absolutely, these cognacs are celebrated for their smoothness, elegance, and balance, offering a luxurious and refined drinking experience when enjoyed neat, allowing the complexities of the spirit to shine through.

Are These Cognacs Suitable for Special Occasions or Celebrations?

Yes, these cognacs are often chosen for special occasions or celebratory moments due to their premium quality, making them excellent choices for indulging in a luxurious and memorable drinking experience.

Do These Cognacs Offer Age-Statement Expressions for Drinking Straight?

Many of these cognac brands offer age-statement expressions, such as XO (Extra Old) or older, which have been aged for extended periods to develop complex flavors and smooth textures ideal for sipping neat.

What Are Some Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cognac for Drinking Neat?

Consider factors such as personal taste preferences, desired flavor profile, budget, and occasion when selecting a cognac for sipping neat to ensure a satisfying and enjoyable drinking experience.

Final Thoughts

Hands down, the best cognac to drink straight is the ABK6 VSOP Single Estate Cognac. 

This award-winning cognac is beautifully rich and spicy, which are the flavors you want if you’re looking for a great sipper. 

This expression is also fairly inexpensive for its great quality, which can be a great starting point for people looking to get into cognacs for the first time.

The Deau XO Cognac and De Luze XO Cognac are also great runner-ups if you’re looking for more cognac options to drink straight. These expressions are aged longer and more expensive than ABK6, but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. 

Did we include your favorite cognac brand in the list? Let us know by sounding off below. 


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