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What Are The Best Cognac Brands? Answered (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on October 17, 2022 by Lydia Martin

The world’s cognac supply comes from its namesake region in Southwest France. This location produces the best Ugni Blanc grapes that give the cognac its signature caramel, dark fruit, and deep spice flavor profile. 

Cognac’s intricate production methods and quality ingredients make it one of the best spirits in the liquor market, but some brands are definitely head-and-shoulders above the rest. So what are the best cognac brands? Here’s our list. 

Top 15 Best Cognac Brands To Try 

15. Naud 

Naud

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1923

Founder/Owner: Emile Perrier

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

The Naud house has been crafting cognacs since 2013, and their dedication to their origins made us fall in love with the brand. Their delightful bottles are the perfect balance of historical blends and modern-day sophistication. 

Most of Naud’s expressions are complex and superb, with delicious notes of peaches and a subtle oak finish.

They have bagged multiple awards from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America Awards in 2017 and the International Spirits Challenge. 

Our favorite expression from the brand is the Naud VSOP Cognac. 

14. Nyak

Nyak

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1830 

Founder/Owner: Dennis McKinley 

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

The Nyak house has been around since the 1800s and is owned by the sixth generation of the family.

They take pride in their legacy of cognac distillation and blending, and those currently heralding the family business have mastered the artful blend of tradition and innovation.

Today, Nyak is taking a more casual, fun-loving, and informal approach to their cognacs. [1

The grapes used in Nyak’s cognacs come from the house-owned vineyards in the Petite Champagne region.

We especially loved the Nyak VS Cognac bottle, whose friendly flavor profile of silky tannins, butterscotch, and pastries, is a contemporary introduction to beginners looking to get their footing in the spirit. 

13. Davidoff

Davidoff

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1986 

Founder/Owner: Zino Davidoff 

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

The Davidoff Cognac is expertly produced for the Swiss cigar company Davidoff.

Hine recently acquired the brand, and they’ve put their innovative twist on the spirit to achieve more exciting flavor profiles. 

We especially liked the Davidoff XO Cognac, made from a blend of the best quality Eaux-de-vies, and aged for no less than 20 years. It has a harmonious flavor profile, with some woody, spicy, and fruity elements.

It also has complementary leather and tobacco notes, which pair perfectly well when you enjoy it alongside a classic Genevan Davidoff cigar. 

12. Kelt

Kelt

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1987 

Founder/Owner: Olev Kelt 

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

The brand name Kelt is attributed to varieties of fish that have spawned and are yet to return to the sea.

This tells you everything you need to know about their cognacs’ production methods: they are sent out to sea for three months during the final stage of maturation, which they call Tour du Monde.

This move mimics the Old World’s production methods when all cognac was exported via long overseas voyages. [2

The brand fills their barrels up to about three-quarters full before they are sent off, which allows the cognac to have plenty of contact with the wood.

Temperature fluctuations, changes in air pressure, and movement give Kelt Cognacs great structure and a remarkable flavor profile. 

We consider most Kelt bottles pretty good, but if we were to pick only one, the Kelt VSOP Tour Du Monde Cognac takes the cake. 

11. Grand Marnier 

Grand Marnier

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1827 

Founder/Owner: Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

Grand Marnier produces some of the best orange liqueurs on the market today.

We have Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle to thank for it — in 1880, he had the eccentric idea to blend some of the most refined French cognacs with a rare variety of bitter orange from the Caribbean. 

It became an instant hit, especially during the exuberant period of Parisian Soirees. Our favorite bottle is the Grand Marnier Cuvée du Centenaire 100th Anniversary Edition, a beautiful expression of quality and craft.

Eighty-two percent of the spirit is made from refined XO cognac, and the remaining 18 percent is from pure orange liqueur. 

10. Camus

Camus

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1863 

Founder/Owner: Jean-Baptiste Camus 

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

Camus is one of the oldest distilleries still kept within the family and hasn’t yet succumbed to bigger names in the business.

Jean-Baptiste Camus founded it in 1863, an independent winegrower who started out by selling his cognacs to established cognac houses.

Eventually, his business grew, and from the humble beginnings of being a small winegrower, Camus is now a world-renowned Cognac house. 

The production is still done within the family to ensure quality is not compromised. Today, the family owns a magnificent estate of 280 hectares of vineyards, located at the heart of cognac. 

They’ve kept up during modern times by debuting new VS, VSOP, and XO expressions, representing 150 years of craftsmanship and tradition. Each one has light, mellow tannins, fragrant fruit, and spices, balanced with wood and very light vanilla. 

9. Martell

Martell

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1715 

Founder/Owner: Jean Martell 

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

Martell is one of the oldest cognac houses that’s still fully operational. It has over 300 years of experience, passion, and knowledge passed from generation to generation.

Jean Martell, the founder, was only 21 when he started the family business. 

The Martell Noblige Cognac is a great label that won’t hurt the wallet, made from a blend of cognacs aged for a minimum of ten years.

It has a fruity aroma, with lemon, pear, and prune, and extraordinary flavors of grapes, vanilla, sweet myrrh, and cedar. 

8. Louis XIII

Louis XIII

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1874 

Founder/Owner: Remy Martin 

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

The Louis XIII Cognac by Remy Martin is made with the finest, most precious eaux-de-vies, using grapes grown exclusively in the Grande Champagne region.

It is said that these are aged anywhere between an incredible 40 to 100 years old. After the blend, they are slowly matured inside old Limousin casks. a

The cognac was named after King Louis XIII, one of the most powerful rulers of Europe. Taking a sip of Louis XIII is like taking a sip through time, with its gorgeous notes of orange blossom, woody spices, and delicate tones of grapes. 

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the iconic decanter — it is modeled after a 16th-century flask and handcrafted by skilled artisans from the finest European crystal houses. No two decanters are the same. 

Read: Some Cheap Cognacs Below $20

7. Hine

Hine

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1763

Founder/Owner: Thomas Hine 

Headquarters Address: Jarnac, France 

Hine is another old cognac house that’s well over 250 years old.

Their cognac is derived from two regions: the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne, and aged inside traditional French oak barrels to impart decadent flavors like nuts, freshly toasted blend, and tobacco. 

Our favorite expression is probably the Hine XO Antique Grande Champagne Cognac, whose recipe was developed in 1920 by William Hine himself.

It is made from 40 different eaux-de-vies aged for a minimum of ten years. It is rife with warming spices on the palate, with notes of hazelnut, quince, and exotic vanilla, which tapers off to a long, lingering finish. 

6. Frapin

Frapin

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1270

Founder/Owner: Frapin family 

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

Frapin is another well-established cognac brand with a vine growing and distilling history that dates back to 1270. The Frapin family founded the brand, with the business still kept within the family even after seven centuries.

Their well-established methods of distilling cognacs have been passed down through the generations to ensure that each bottle stays true to what their ancestors stood for. 

The Frapin VIP XO Cognac, our favorite bottle, has been harvested, aged, distilled, blended, and bottled on-site, with the family still in full control of the grapes-to-glass process.

It is made from a Grande Champagne blend and aged no less than 35 years. This is a rich and complex cognac with a plethora of wonderful notes like sticky dates and Christmas cake spices. 

5. Meukow

Meukow

Alcohol Content: 45% 

Year Founded: 1862 

Founder/Owner: August-Christophe and Gustav Meukow

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

Cognacs may very well be French and all, but did you know Meukow has Russian roots? The Meukow brothers from Silesia founded the brand, who went to France in 1850 to source cognac for none other than Tsar Alexander II. [3

A few years later, in 1862, they stayed for good in the country after seeing a business opportunity. Today, Meukow is sold in over 80 countries around the world. 

Our favorite expression is the Meukow VS 90 Cognac, whose tasting notes include plenty of wood tannins and rich aniseed. It’s also rife with citrus notes, reminiscent of an orange liqueur.

It’s pretty easy to spot Meukow inside the liquor store, as the bottle has the iconic black panther image. 

4. Pierre Ferrand

Pierre Ferrand

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1702

Founder/Owner: Alexandre Gabriel

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

The Fernand brand takes pride in bringing innovation to their expressions, which is why you’ll sometimes find bottles that don’t technically qualify as cognacs, even though they are made from Grande Champagne grapes. 

Our personal favorite is the Pierre Ferrand Reserve Cognac, a delightful XO made exclusively with Eaux-de-vie from the Premier cru of the Grande Champagne region.

This is a limited edition bottle containing blends aged up to 20 years. Flavor notes include rich mahogany with walnut, vanilla, and dried fruits. 

3. Courvoisier

Courvoisier

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1835 

Founder/Owner: Emmanuel Courvoisier 

Headquarters Address: Jarnac, Charente

Courvoisier is probably one of the most recognized and well-established cognac brands today.

It was founded by Emmanuel Courvoisier in 1835, who started as a cognac trader and eventually a producer. The crafting process has not changed since Emmanuel established it over 200 years ago. 

There are plenty of Courvoisier expressions out in the liquor market. Still, our personal favorite has to be the Courvoisier XO Cognac, made from the finest eaux-de-vie from the Grande and Petite Champagne regions.

This is a rich and rounded spirit, with orange, old oak, and worn leather flavor notes. 

To attest to its quality, the brand’s XO expression has bagged Gold in numerous awards, including the New York International Spirits Competition and San Francisco World Spirits Competition. 

2. Hennessy

Hennessy

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1765 

Founder/Owner: Richard Hennessy 

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France 

Hennessy, or Henny for short, needs no introduction. Most of the world’s cognac supply (40 percent, to be exact) comes from its distillery located in Cognac, France.

The brand has a wide range of expressions, from standard statements to limited-edition master blends, all of which follow the intricate production process from grape to bottle. 

It is said that the 150-year-old Hennessy XO was the first XO ever produced. This cognac is made with over a hundred Eaux-de-vie, with age statements ranging from 10 to 70 years. 

It is made from the finest grapes from the Fine Champagne, Borderies, and Fins Bois crus, which give it a rich yet well-rounded palate. It is rife with oak, leather, and floral notes, with plenty of figs and plums. 

1. Rémy Martin 

Rémy Martin

Alcohol Content: 40% 

Year Founded: 1724 

Founder/Owner: Remy Martin 

Headquarters Address: Cognac, France

And, of course, the best cognac brand is none other than Remy Martin. It was established in 1724 when its namesake Remy Martin, a young winegrower, started selling cognac under his name.

The excellence and quality of his spirits were noticed by none other than King Louis XV himself, who permitted him to plant new vines to expand his business. The rest, as you can say, is history.

The brand makes some of the best cognacs to graze liquor stores today, but we have to say that their VSOP expression (and the biggest-selling VSOP worldwide) stands head-and-shoulders above the rest.

It has superb quality yet won’t break the bank and is crafted using the finest grapes grown in the Fine Champagne region. 

This expression was first created in 1927 by Cellar Master Andre Renaud. Even nearly 100 years later, this cognac still showcases the harmonious marriage between ripe fruits, licorice, and plenty of woodsy oak. 

FAQs 

What is the oldest cognac brand?

The oldest cognac brand is Frapin, which has been operational since 1270. The Frapin family started as winegrowers but eventually evolved to distilling and have continued this tradition for 20 generations. 

Are the best cognac brands always expensive?

No, the best cognac brands aren’t always expensive. Some great quality bottles can cost up to thousands of bottles for sure, but you can get really good ones for about $100 as well.

Of course, if you define expensive as anything over $50, then maybe cognacs aren’t the best fit for your budget. 

So, What Are The Best Cognac Brands?

The top cognac brands include Courvoisier, Hennessy, and Pierre Ferrand, but by far the best one is Remy Martin.

The Remy Martin VSOP has great depth and complexity, with notes of apricot, baked apples, and licorice, and is the world’s biggest-selling VSOP bottle. 

Cognac is a premium spirit made exclusively from grapes grown in the Cognac region of France. It generally has a rich and fruity flavor profile, balanced out with a bit of spice and oak. 

References: 

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/distilled-spirit
  2. https://spo.nmfs.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/pdf-content/fish-bull/maynard.pdf
  3. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alexander-II-emperor-of-Russia

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