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15 Best Cognacs in the World: Full Guide (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on December 28, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Since Cognac is highly regulated, many believe you get a good deal and premium taste in every bottle. Unfortunately, not all cognacs are created equal.  

To avoid wasting money and resources on low-quality cognacs, we listed the best cognacs in the world that deserve a space on your liquor shelf. Read on. 

Top 15 High-Quality Cognacs In The World 

15. Camus Ile de Ré Fine Island

Bottle of Camus Ile de Ré Fine Island

Average Price: Roughly $52.99 (Drizly)

Official Website: Roughly $36 

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Camus Ile de Ré Fine Island is one of the best cognac brands from the Westernmost vineyards of France, with a distinctive taste deeply rooted in its island provenance. 

The rich spirit has a nice balance of smoothness and flavor profile of tropical fruits and toasted oak notes since it is matured in oak barrels. 

The premium cognac is creamy with iodine, salinity, roundness, and earthy notes. It can be enjoyed neat, with ice, or in mixed drinks. 

14. Jean-Luc Pasquet L’Organic 10

Jean-Luc Pasquet L’Organic 10 bottle on a wooden table

Average Price: Roughly $88.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Jean-Luc Pasquet L’Organic 10 is an amazing cognac made from ugni blanc grapes, and it is a blend of eau-de-vie aged ten and twelve years in limousin oak barrels. 

The distilled spirit from France’s Cognac region features rich and bold notes of dark fruits, raisins, cake spices, and figs. 

Jean-Luc is one of the best cognac brands with a prominent wood profile from aging.

The premium grapes bring fruit-forward tasting notes that can be enjoyed neat and on the rocks.

13. Guillon-Painturaud VSOP Grande Champagne Cognac

Bottle of Guillon-Painturaud VSOP Grande Champagne Cognac with glass and ice

Average Price: Roughly $66.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Guillon-Painturaud is a top cognac with rich honey notes and a velvety texture. 

It is one of the vast majority of cognac houses with a history that dates back to the early 18th century.

“The oak character is reserved… it lets the fruit and floral characteristics burst out of the glass,”

– Kelli Thorn, Certified Cognac Educator

It is made from a premium blend of Eaux-de-vie from Ugni blanc grown from their family estate.

The young Cognac has a delicate dance between dried flowers and oak palate profile.  

12. Hermitage 10 Years Old Grande Champagne Cognac

Hand Holding Hermitage 10 Years Old Grande Champagne Cognac Bottle

Average Price: Roughly $72.25 (Official Website)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Hermitage 10 Years Old is a single-estate cognac and the sole winner of the Master Medal from the Global Master Spirits 2022. 

Hermitage bottles exceptional cognacs, but unlike other cognac houses, the brand combines distilled Ugni and Folle blanc grapes and then matures it for a minimum of ten years. 

It offers rich notes of tropical fruit, dark chocolate, candied orange, dried fruit, coffee, along with toasted walnut.

It is one of the best cognac brands that offers versatile and great-tasting distilled spirits. 

11. Camus XO Borderies

Camus XO Borderies with glass and grapes on top of a table

Average Price: Roughly $299.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Camus cognac is a round, mellow, and velvety brandy [1] with rich notes of dried fruits and a touch of nuttiness. 

Cognac is crafted using premium grapes, and it is made by distilling wine in a copper pot and then aged in barrels to develop its color, taste, and flavor profile [2]. 

The grapes are exclusively sourced from Grande Champagne cru, in the vineyards surrounded by forests.

The brandy from the Cognac region has a rich and complex aroma of fruits and flowers. 

10. Cognac Polignac VSOP

Cognac Polignac VSOP Bottle with Box, Glass and Mixed Nuts on top of a table

Average Price: Roughly $63.78 (Cognac Expert)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Cognac Polignac VSOP is a blend of Eaux-de-vie aged in oak casks for at least four years for rich dried fruits, dark chocolate, caramel, fig, peach, and plum tasting notes. 

The spirit is a proud product of one of the top cognac houses in the Cognac region. It has won awards, including the World’s Best Cognac in 2018. 

On the first sip, we like the intense aroma of plum and rich-tasting notes from the premium white grapes grown in the Grande Champagne Region. 

9. Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection No. 3

Bottle of Hennessy Master Blender's Selection No. 3 with vanilla and caramel on top of a table

Average Price: Roughly $86.99 (Lighthouse Wine & Spirits)

Alcohol Content: 43%

Why We Like It:

Hennessy is a top cognac house that sells more Cognac in the US than other houses. 

The Master Blender’s Selection No. 3 is a limited-edition cognac, and Renaud Fillioux de Gironde is in charge of selecting the unaged spirits aged not less than seven years. 

As part of their acclaimed elegance range, Hennessy has an amazing cedarlike aroma that yields vanilla, dried fruit, and caramel flavors with a lush texture and bright finish. 

8. Rémy Martin VSOP

Bottle of Rémy Martin VSOP

Average Price: Roughly $58 (Official Website)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Rémy Martin is one of the best cognac brands in the market, and it has established a great reputation in the cognac world for offering a full spectrum of ages and prices. 

The Rémy Martin VSOP is the best-selling Cognac, and Louis XIII came from this cognac house.

It is made from premium Grande Champagne grapes from Cognac Region in Southwest France.

The VSOP embodies the signature style of the Cognac house, and the spirit’s vibrant gold color and flavor profile came from aging in oak casks. 

You can drink Cognac neat, on the rocks, or as a cocktail since it is versatile and complex. 

7. Ferrand 10 Générations

Bottle of Ferrand 10 Générations with glass

Average Price: Roughly $40.99 (Total Wine)

Alcohol Content: 46%

Why We Like It:

Ferrand is a rich and round cognac from France, and this cognac house has been gracing the Cognac world for ten generations. 

The Ferrand 10 Générations has rich notes of nutmeg, white flowers, baked pear, and honey. It is a bold brandy from Cognac, France and its tasting notes blend easily in cocktails. 

6. Bisquit & Dubouché VSOP

Bisquit & Dubouché VSOP Bottle with Glasses

Average Price: Roughly $79.99 

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Bisquit & Dubouché VSOP is a French cognac crafted using 200 years of heritage and innovative thinking. 

The brand was founded in 1819, and It was previously known as Bisquit Cognac before it was rebranded as Bisquit & Dubouché. 

It is a well-priced VSOP, and while it does not offer VS Cognac like other cognac brands, they feature an award-winning XO cognac. 

Bisquit & Dubouché is made from a blend of Grande and Petite Champagne Eaux-de-vies [3].

It is known to have subtle spiciness and features vanilla oak, dried fruits, oak, and vanilla. 

5. Martell VSOP

Cognac Martell VSOP Bottle with Box

Average Price: Roughly $

Alcohol Content:

Why We Like It:

Martell is one of the best cognac brands from Cognac, France, and the VSOP is the youngest brandy from the cognac house, aged for at least four years. 

Martell VSOP cognac features a perfect balance of fruity notes and subtle woody overtones. It is harmonious and elegant, a trademark of Martell. 

Odds are you’ve spotted Martell on the shelf, but if you plan to dive deeper, you may encounter Cordon Bleu, a high-quality XO cognac that combines ten to twenty-five vintages.

4. Branson Cognac VSOP Royal

Bottle of Branson Cognac VSOP Royal

Average Price: Roughly $59.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Branson Cognac Royal is an elegant, unique, and strong blend of brandy aged for at least four years in Cognac, France. 

Branson is one of the best cognac brands offering affordable but premium brandies.

The grapes came from Fins Bois, Grande, Petite Champagne, and other vineyards throughout the region.

The bright amber distilled spirit has won gold awards in spirits competitions because of its intense fragrance, mellow flavor profile, and elegant finish. 

3. Pierre Ferrand Réserve

Bottle of Pierre Ferrand Réserve

Average Price: Roughly $86.89 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 42.3%

Why We Like It:

Pierre Ferrand Réserve came from a well-known Cognac house that has been around since 1989.

It is a famous brand for its consistent, well-made, and great expressions.

The Pierre Ferrand Réserve from Cognac, France, has slightly spicy, honey, fruity, and caramel-forward tasting notes. 

The high-quality blend features an artisanal spirit, and its unique distilling technique sets it apart from other cognacs.

In addition, Pierre Ferrand Réserve is a versatile brandy that you can enjoy on its own, with ice, or as a cocktail base. 

2. Honor VSOP Cognac

Bottle of Honor VSOP Cognac Bottle with glass, cigar, and rose

Average Price: Roughly $46.10 (Makro SA)

Alcohol Content: 40%

Why We Like It:

Honor VSOP is one of the first Master medalists of the Cognac Masters 2022 for its clear notes of wood and pear on both aroma and taste [4]. 

Like Louis XIII cognac, Hine Rare VSOP, and Napoleon Cognac, the Honor VSOP sources the grapes across Cognac, France. 

The brandy is matured in oak casks that lend a distinctive aroma of well-seasoned oak with pronounced fruity and floral aromas. 

1. Frapin Château Fontpinot XO

Bottle of Frapin Château Fontpinot XO

Average Price: Roughly $123.49 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 41%

Why We Like It:

Frapin Château Fontpinot XO is housed in an elegant and sleek bottle, and it is made of premium grapes harvested, distilled, and aged at the Château Fontpinot.

The distilled spirit from Cognac, France, is hand-crafted, giving it a particular flavor and character.

It has a rich, complex, balanced aroma and palate with candied fruits and an exceptional finish. 

Try it with a drop of water to let the aroma breathe and soften the Cognac. Since 2017, the brand has received gold awards for being the best Cognac. 

Factors To Consider 

Smoothness

The best Cognac should be smooth enough to be consumed neat and tastes great on the rocks and as a cocktail base. 

The smoothness of Cognac comes from the distillation and aging process of the distilled spirit.

Enthusiasts admire it because of its lack of sharp edges and velvety mouthfeel. 

Smooth Cognac may be a personal preference, but in general and most literal sense, the smoothness of the Cognac allows the drinker to enjoy the spirit even without mixers or ice.  

Grape Origin

All cognacs are brandies but not all brandies are cognacs. Cognac is regulated to its Appellation of origin, and the grapes used should come from six specified areas or crus only. 

The grapes used to make the best Cognac in the world usually come from Grande, Petite, and Borderies. 

The grape varietals may remain consistent, but the difference in soils and other characteristics give terroir qualities to the grapes. 

Age Expression 

Aging is an important stage in making Cognac as it gives identity and character to the distilled spirit. 

The longer it stays inside the French oak casks, the mellow, smoother, and rounder it becomes.

However, Cognacs aged longer than fifty years may have different flavor profiles. 

The best cognacs are usually aged longer than four years in oak casks, giving the distilled spirit a bright amber color, smoothness, and balanced flavor profile. 

FAQs

What’s the best Cognac for beginners?

Hennessy is the best Cognac for beginners. Since it is an easy-to-find Cognac, it is beginner-friendly and costs less than other cognac brands. 

In terms of taste, Hennessy has easy and light-tasting notes with the right balance of spiciness and oakiness. It can be a great choice to begin exploring Cognac.

Which grade of Cognac is the best?

Hors d’ Age is the best grade of Cognac. The age category is considered the highest quality in terms of age. 

Generally, it is classed in the XO denomination, but the term hors d’ age is referred to cognacs with an average age of at least thirty years and above. 

Final Thoughts 

The best Cognac should be smooth enough to be sipped neat, enjoyed on the rocks, and stand out when mixed in cocktails. 

It should be made from premium grapes from the Cognac Region and aged well to ensure the rich flavor profile of the distilled spirit. 

Honor VSOP Cognac, Branson Cognac, Bisquit & Dubouché, and Martell are great-tasting cognacs that you should try. 

However, if you want to taste the best Cognac, snag a bottle of Frapin Château Fontpinot XO. It is a well-aged, smooth, versatile, well-balanced, distilled spirit worth every dollar. 

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/brandy 
  2. https://www.thespruceeats.com/effect-of-aging-on-liquor-759921 
  3. https://www.thespruceeats.com/quick-guide-to-distilled-spirits-760713 
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemicallef/2022/05/01/the-best-cognacs-2022-global-spirits-masters/

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