Aged Spirits  

Fahrenheit 173 - Brandy

"I'm not an alcoholic, I'm an alcohologist"

XO Cognac tasting

 19 Apr 2009  

Un­for­tu­nately, I've been neglecting the brandy category for a while now. So when a friend of mine repeatedly raved about how good Martell XO was I told him to bring his bottle so we could do a little tast­ing! We tried six Cognacs of the XO quality (or thereabouts). Here are my tast­ing notes:

Otard XO:
Mild, sweet and fairly light palate with a very nice fruitiness and a note of vanilla. Smooth and bal­anced but a little spirity. (87 p)

Delamain Christmas XO:
Rather nice nose with oak and a flowery note. Mild palate, quite sweet and fruity with notes of raisins and plums, also citrus fruit, vanilla and iced tea. Very nice and very nicely bal­anced. (89 p)

Grönstedts Extra:
Very nice, fruity nose with a note of orange. There's also an unusual, almost chemical note re­min­is­cent of old Armagnac! Rich, fruity, complex palate, won­der­fully bal­anced with notes of vanilla, plum compôte and dark chocolate. (90 p)

Rémy Martin XO:
Wonderful nose with notes of prunes, figs and cinnamon. Spicy, minty, fairly light palate with citrus fruit. At first sweet but gets drier and de­velops oak and spices. All in all complex, bal­anced and "elegant". (91 p)

Martell Cordon Bleu:
Fragrant, fruity, complex nose with plum compôte, vanilla and oak. Slightly spicy palate with won­der­ful notes of oak and vanilla. Wonderful finish... (92 p)

Martell XO:
Wonderful nose - fresh and fruity with prunes and raisins and also lighter notes of citrus fruits. Lighter, fresher and with less oak than "Cordon Bleu" (and seems younger). Balanced, won­der­fully smooth palate with notes of plums, oranges, spices and christmas cake. It's sweet at first but drying, de­velops oak (finally). (93 p)

To begin with, I wasn't particularly impressed by the Martell XO. I found it extremely mild, rather "shy" and hard to figure out. It needed a quite a while in the glass to open up and after warming the glass in my hand the aromas and flavours became clearer. In the end I loved it!

Actually, the Martell XO equals the score of my previous favourite, the Tesseron Lot 29, so (of course) I chose it as the new bottling of the month.

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More articles in this category:

Four Cognacs for Christmas
A review of Bache Gabrielsen Christmas XO, Braastad My Selection, Martell VSOP and Renault Carte Noire.

Five VSOP Cognacs
A review of VSOP Cognac from Croizet, Dupuy, Jarraud, Larsen and Meukow.

Four cognacs in the "XO" to "Extra" range
A review of Le Reviseur XO, Léopold Gourmel Age des Fleurs, Jean Fillioux Très Vieux and Delamain Vesper.

ABC - Armagnac, Brandy and Cognac
A review of seven brandies from Cognac, Armagnac and Spain.

Index of all articles in this category