The Cognac Track

The Cognac Track

Eau de Vie Express

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Boutique Eau de Vie is Back!

Ah, The Little Engine That Could. You remember that tale. Toy train gets stuck on a track. Fancy trains pass by it in a hoity toity huff. Small, boutique Cognac house saves the day with its charm and dogged determination.
Or, you know, something to that effect.
See, the flashy big trains/Cognac houses are nice and all, but there’s something about those small, hard working underdogs that nab us right in the palate. Now, we’re not telling you to NOT reach for your favorite big name, we’re simply saying that sometimes, the hard-working little guys can also get you where you want to go on the majestic Cognac track—and perhaps even a bit further.
Their mantra? “I-think-I-can-I-think-I-can-I-think-I-can...”
In the Cognac region, you’ll find some pretty popular names. But look a little deeper and you’ll find small, boutique houses that give the big boys a run for the money; many of them with a long, storied history dating back several centuries. Yep, centuries. And the truly amazing thing is? They’re keeping with tradition and making their juice the way they always have—and that’s some fine news for your snifter.
Some grow their own grapes, while others source from the cellars of legendary Cognac houses. But these boutique shops share one thing in common: their Cognac is the finest in the land—despite the smaller purse strings.
Sipping is believing. Ready to taste? Climb aboard the Eau de Vie Express!
SmartAss Corner
1) Cognac’s tale begins with the Ugni Blanc white grape. You’ll find it in Midwest France—the Cognac region, to be exact. The wine made from this grape is pretty rough, though. Acidic, dry… something you wouldn’t serve your sworn enemy. Fortunately for our palates, some winemakers discovered that it’s the perfect stuff for distilling. Throw in some necessary cask aging and you’ve got the magical elixir they call Eau de Vie, or Cognac. 
2) All Cognac is Brandy, but not all Brandy is Cognac, ya dig? Brandy is essentially any kind of distilled spirit made from fermented juice. But in order for a Brandy to be considered a Cognac, it must be produced in the Cognac region of western France, a couple hundred miles southwest of Paris, and just a bit north of Bordeaux.

3) The Gourry de Chadeville family has been cultivating their vineyard in Segonzac since 1619. According to their records, this makes them the Cognac house with the earliest origins in the region. 

4) There’s a fungus among us… but this particular one signals the location of a very good thing. Baudoinia compniacensis is a black fungus which resides in the vicinity of distilleries, spirits maturation facilities, bonded warehouses and large bakeries. It won’t hurt you—and it’s a sign that our spirit of choice is in the making very nearby.

5) Maison Surrenne ages their Eau de Vie in oak casks located in a cool, stone-walled cellar. The east wall of a cellar—located across the river from the home distillery—was once the old city fortification wall of medieval Jarnac.

6) There are three different qualities of Cognac recognized by law: V.S., V.S.O.P. and X.O. (The names are in English, because the Cognac trade was originally developed by English speakers):
- V.S.: "Very Special" or “Three Stars,” designates a blend in which the youngest Brandy has matured in a cask for at least two years.
- V.S.O.P.: “Very Superior Old Pale" designates a blend in which the youngest Brandy has matured in the cask for at least four years, but the average age of the wood is much older.
- X.O.: "Extra Old” designates a blend in which the youngest Brandy is matured at least six years, although on average it’s upwards of 20 years. On April 1, 2016, the minimum maturation age of the youngest Brandy used in an X.O. blend will be bumped up to 10 years.

7) Rancio. No, it isn’t a Harry Potter spell meant to turn a mortal enemy’s food rancid. It’s a Spanish-derived term that describes the funky, earthy, umami quality that’s found in fruit-based spirits like Cognac, Calvados and Armagnac. It appears in Cognac after roughly 10 years of aging in oak casks.

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Flavor Spiral™

About The Flavor Spiral

The Flavor Spiral™ is a quick, clear and visually-appealing way to look at the drink's flavor DNA.

It's tasting notes reinvented. The Flavor Spiral™ is a unique and revolutionary way of describing flavors. It was developed by Flaviar tasting panel, industry experts, and You, our dear Flaviar community member.

Your favourite drinks like never before. It could easily be an art form, but that's a conversation for another day.
Dog Dogson
Dog Dogson's
Rancio is a highly desirable nutty flavor usually found in extra-aged fortified wines (Port, Sherry, Madeira, Marsala …) and fruit-based Spirits, namely Cognacs, Calvados, and Armagnac. It appears in Cognac after roughly 10 years of maturing in oak casks, becoming more intense over the years.

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Ratings & Reviews
Member Reviews and Ratings of The Cognac Track
New to cognac.. really enjoyed these.. definitely a diverse selection
Not my jam.
A was my favorite. B did not like had a negative finish. See had a nice flavor, good top of the tongue, decent finish.
All 3 were unique and interesting in Their own way. Great experience
A and b are good. C was horrible
We only liked 1 (A) out of the three samples and even that is a stretch. Had to mix B with soda and C went in the garbage. We couldn’t even get it down it tasted that bad.
I guess I don’t like young cognacs. The Maison Surrenne was okay. The Paul Beau was too sweet and Gourry was awful to the point of spiting it out. I love cognacs but I think they need to age to at least XO status. If you don’t know cognacs this box will not help. Not a good sampler overall.
One really great cognac and two that were less than desirable. All of them were fairly hot but the Maisson Surrenne was really nice.
Admittedly, I don't drink a ton of cognac. I thought I liked it better. I'm mostly a whiskey drinker, and I found some of the flavors here challenging. The Gourry de Chadeville had a tequila-like funkiness that I couldn't get past. Paul Beau was my favorite.
I am a big cognac drinker. It's actually my favourite. And this was a big let down. They were all harsh with which ever one was C as being the best. It went down the best and honestly kept this from getting a 4 rating. If your new to cognac dont get these and let it be what you think of all cognacs. Try D'Usse.
Fun to try. Not my favorite drink but I learned enough to order it out should the occasion arise.
I’m a total newbie to cognacs and I don’t know that I will try any more. I was interested to try something new but these all just fell very flat for me. In particular the Gourry De Chadeville was pretty harsh going down. I was not impressed with my first foray into the world of cognacs.
Good variety
Lovely intro to boutique cognacs. Nice range.
Really enjoyed trying some of the letter known cognac distilleries!
First trip to Cognac-ville. Not really my thing, enjoyed the Gourry de Chadeville the most.
First time trying cognac. Usually I’m a whiskey (mostly bourbon) drinker. I can appreciate that these are probably decent but I think I just don’t like cognac
I'm very new to cognac, and greatly enjoyed these three. Oddly, the overproof (which I expected to dislike) was my favorite. I'm glad for the opportunity to try something new in such a convenient way.
For my first trip into the cognac world, it was a great introduction.
Fun tasting. Not familiar with cognac nor a connoisseur. Faves go in this order- Paul Beau - can really enjoy the smoothness full grape finish no to bad of a burn. Would order for after dinner sips ⭐️ Maison Surrenne— stronger definitely taste the oak but not as sweet as the spiral portrays. Gourmet de Chadeville— least favorite very strong after burn and alcohol. Not able to appreciate the spiral.
It is a very good sampling of Cognacs!
Nice selection of boutique-y cognacs (to a novice, at least). Good variety, great quality.
Very good
Great range of cognacs.
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