What is a good cognac?

    What is a good cognac depends on many factors, from the cru, to double distillation and maturation in fine-grained oak barrels.
    Discover what makes the smoothest cognac.

    How to choose a good cognac?

    Age, and precisely age of the barrel, is what determines a good cognac, how its aromas will develop, how it will taste and how to drink it.

    For a smooth first introduction to cognac, try Martell VS or Martell VSOP that you can also use for cocktails.
    If you want to add an extra splash of elegance, Martell Noblige with its strenght and smoothness, is for you.
    Finally, if you are looking at a more refined, complexed, aged cognac, Chanteloup XXO or L’Or de Jean Martell are the ones.

    how to choose a good cognac


    What is better, VSOP or XO cognac?

    Let’s call it the age-old question: is VSOP cognac better than XO cognac?

    These curious initials refer to the age of the cognac, that is, the length of time an eau-de-vie is left to mature in the famous barrels of French oak.

    In VSOP cognac, or Very Superior Old Pale, only eaux-de-vie that has aged for a minimum of two years can be used in the blend.

    With XO by contrast, which designates Extra Old, the eaux-de-vie must be aged at least ten years before it is blended.

    One may also find VS cognac – Very Special – and XXO, for Extra Extra old cognacs among the range, as explained here.

    Does the older age of an XO make it better than VSOP, relatively speaking?

    Taste-wise, younger cognacs tend to be fruitier, while older cognacs take on more of the characteristics of the oak casks they mature in.

    When making a simple cognac cocktail a VS cognac or VSOP cognac may be indeed better to drink in combination with other mixers than a rare XO, which one may prefer to savour neat or in a cognac on the rocks.

    Price-wise, the typically higher price of older cognacs reflects that an XO takes longer to produce, and due to its rarity, is more sought after.

    Put simply, whether one cognac is better than another depends less on the age, and more on how one defines ‘better’.

    How much does a bottle of cognac cost?

    How much a bottle of cognac costs can depend on several factors. Cognac is a fine spirit produced from grapes grown exclusively in the Cognac region of France, and produced according to strict conditions.

    As such, cognac is markedly more rare a product than for example whisky, which can be made in any country and has far fewer regulations regarding its ingredients, maturation, and distillation.

    Typically, more expensive cognac will have aged for longer in the famous French oak barrels. This makes sense, considering older cognacs are rarer and more sought-after.

    And let’s not forget the cognac house. Maison is the oldest of the great cognac houses. The Martell price reflects the nine generations of savoir-faire passed down from cellar master to cellar master in the House’s 300 years of history.

    Lastly, how much is cognac will fluctuate depending on whether one buys online, in-store, duty free, and the country one is in.

    Taking France for example, at one online retailer, the Martell VSOP price is around 50 euros, whereas the Martell XO price is 195 euros.

    Discover the range of Martell products.

    How to choose a good cognac?

    Looking to choose a good cognac? Perhaps as a gift for someone who has everything, or to savour alone as a cognac on the rocks.

    The world of cognac is complex, and may be bewildering to the uninitiated. When looking to buy cognac, the definition of a good cognac, depends on one’s personal taste.

    Let’s look at some of the most common, and uncommon among the Maison Martell collection.

    The Martell VSOP is subtle, elegant, and balanced, and an authentic expression of the Martell style. It is not uncommon to be served Martell VSOP as the base for simple cognac cocktails.

    For something special, Martell Cordon Bleu is an icon in the world of cognac and beyond. This luscious and elegant cognac is a masterful blend of more than 100 eaux-de-vie.

    A truly exceptional cognac is the Martell Chanteloup XXO. This Extra Extra Old cognac is a blend of 450 very old eaux-de-vie, which gives an unprecedented combination of richness and complexity,

    Can’t decide between two bottles? Why not use Martell’s comparison tool to weigh the decision. Or use the Martell gift finder to find the special bottle, for that special person or occasion.

    How to drink and appreciate cognac?

    Cognac, a symbol of excellence and conviviality, can be tasted in different ways and on numerous occasions.

    Understanding how to appreciate cognac starts with the essentials, such as how to hold a cognac glass or open a cognac bottle.

    The Martell cognacs can be enjoyed as an aperitif or in a cocktail during a drinks party, but also during lunches or dinners, and as a digestif.

    Mastering cognac


    Learning how to serve cognac is only the first step towards mastering cognac. From food pairing with cognac, to cooking with cognac and mixing cognac drinks, take your skills to the next level with our ‘How to cognac’ series.

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