Alcoholic products are widely represented on the shelves of many stores, ranging from ordinary convenience stores to large chain hypermarkets, there are also specialized establishments where rather expensive products are presented. The assortment of cognacs can put an unprepared buyer in serious difficulty, especially since there are a lot of counterfeit products on sale. Of course, no one will allow you to try the drink when buying, so we tried to collect in our article the most proven recommendations related to the purchase of cognac, so that it would be pleasant to drink it and not be ashamed to give it. We will start with the rules for choosing this alcohol, and continue with a review of the highest quality brands. Let’s get started!
What do you pay attention to when buying cognac?
First of all, keep in mind that the production of 1 liter of cognac requires about 10 liters of young wine and several years of time, so a priori the cost of high-quality cognac cannot be too low. If you see a drink on sale, the price of which is about 40% lower than the average price, then you should immediately refuse to buy such cognac.
Another important factor is cognac aging. Its age is taken into account as a result of aging the drink in oak barrels. If cognac is produced by blending (that is, mixing) several types of alcohols that have been aged for different times, then this factor is not given on the bottle. Accordingly, cognac made on the basis of a blend is considered not very high quality among connoisseurs of such alcohol. In ordinary stores, you can find cognac, the aging period of which ranges from 3 to 7 years. In specialized establishments, you can find more aged products — up to 10 years and even more. However, such drinks are more suitable for connoisseurs and collectors. An ordinary consumer will quite like cognac with an exposure of about 5 years.
When choosing, you should carefully examine the bottle, evaluate the quality of the closure. Cork should be made of wood or pressed sawdust. The container is necessarily transparent, the sticker is glued evenly, without traces of glue. Cognac should be shined into the light — it should be evenly transparent, without turbidity, various foreign inclusions, sediment. You can try turning the bottle upside down to assess the consistency of the drink: if characteristic oily streaks appear on the walls, this indicates an acceptable quality of the drink.
After opening the bottle, you can sniff the cognac, pour a little into a glass and heat it up a little: the original drink will change its smell a little, no inclusions of alcohol, acetone or kerosene will appear. In our review, there are only original cognacs, not only according to user reviews, but also according to the opinion of professional tasters. When compiling the rating, we did not bypass the price-quality ratio — you will not find too expensive varieties here.
The best cognacs in 2022
10. Cognac «White stork» 5 years
One of the most famous varieties of cognac, which began to be produced back in the days of the Soviet Union, is produced until today. This is a fairly popular brand among inexpensive cognacs. The drink has a beautiful golden-amber color. Fortress standard — 40 degrees. Floral notes, vanilla are felt in the taste. The production technology is classical — wine distillates are aged in oak barrels for three to seven years, after which sugar and caramel are added to them. This allows you to greatly soften the taste. After that, the drink is again placed in oak barrels and aged for a year, which gives the taste additional brightness.
The shelf life of cognac is unlimited, if stored correctly — in a room with a temperature of 5 to 25 degrees, humidity should not exceed 40%. No harmful substances were found in the composition of the drink during the analysis, the nutritional value is 239 kilocalories.
- Acceptable price;
- Due to the low price, the number of fakes on the market is minimal;
- Pleasant taste;
- Alcohol during use is felt weakly;
- He has many awards at prestigious competitions of alcoholic beverages.
- Very mediocre packaging.
9. Klinkov VSOP
Despite the low price, this drink belongs to the premium class, it is made in the Crimea, its minimum exposure is 3 years. Produced on the basis of grape cognac varieties with the addition of special spirits of French production. Aging in oak barrels gives this variety a subtle nutty bitterness. The general impression of the drink is as follows: slight sweetness, alcohols are almost not felt, depending on the vintage, nutmeg mixed with orange peel or honey can be felt, sometimes even slight tobacco aromas are felt.
The taste is quite soft, balanced — there is nothing superfluous. It is sold in a rather interesting package: the bottle is placed in a gift tube, on the inside of which there is exact information about the history of this variety. The cork is made of peel, pressed into the plastic cover. The label must indicate the aging period, information about the manufacturer, the category of the drink. If the bottle is original, then it has a company logo — a large letter K.
- Original taste, which directly depends on the vintage;
- Belongs to the premium class, despite the acceptable cost;
- Rarely forged;
- Interesting packaging.
- Not detected.
On the Russian market, this brand can be found in two varieties — 5 and 8-year-old. The drink is made in Kherson, has a large number of different awards, is characterized by low cost, which makes it affordable for almost everyone. The color is dark golden, in the taste you can catch barely noticeable notes of milk chocolate, vanilla and hazelnut. More aged products can be found that take on pear and floral aromas followed by a chocolatey aftertaste. This variety is preferred by the beautiful half of humanity. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to find it in popular chain stores; it is sold only through a network of specialized retail alcohol stores.
This cognac only gets better with increasing aging time, continuing to prove its worth. It is produced exclusively from light grape varieties, and distillation is carried out only the next year after the must is made.
- Very interesting taste;
- Has many awards;
- The production technology includes various subtleties, due to which the taste acquires a number of original inclusions;
- The original bottle, which has many degrees of protection, so it is almost impossible to fake such products.
- A small sediment of oak dust may form at the bottom.
7. Tetroni 5
One of the best Georgian cognacs, despite the fact that it is not too expensive. The production of this type of drink began only in 1994, but almost immediately it gained wide popularity. In the manufacture, grapes from many regions of Georgia are used, which positively affects the taste, making them richer. The bottle is also decorated in a very original way — in black or green. The label depicts a thoroughbred white horse. One of the key advantages of cognac is a very mild taste, due to which the drink is drunk quite easily, there is practically no taste of alcohol. Cognac is well suited not only for men, but also for women.
The drink has a light golden color. Gourmets recommend drinking it slowly, savoring every sip. To feel the complete harmony of the aftertaste, you need to hold the cognac in your mouth for a while, roll your tongue across the sky. It is recommended to use it in its pure form, without adding it to coffee or cocktails. It will be best combined with ice cream, desserts, cream, you should not drink it with grapes. It reveals its qualities well with seafood.
- An interesting bottle, difficult to fake;
- Mild taste, easy to drink.
- Not suitable for all dishes.
6. Old Kakheti 5
Another very popular brand of Georgian cognac, which is actively exported and supplied to 14 countries of the world, with about 40% of all products sent to Russia. The Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking company itself, which produces this variety, was opened quite recently — in 2001, but today it is one of the largest wineries in the country, which annually produces about 12 million bottles of cognac. This variety has repeatedly received the highest awards at prestigious international competitions.
Cognac spirits are aged in wooden barrels made of a special kind of oak — Iberian, the aging period is at least 5 years, due to which the drink acquires a rich and very balanced taste. Among the aromas, the dominant ones are the tones of dried fruits, old port wine, natural leather. The taste is delicate, oily, cognac pleasantly envelops the throat, does not burn, leaves behind a vanilla-chocolate aftertaste.
- The taste is soft and pleasant;
- Saturated color;
- Over the years, it acquires an increasing range of flavors.
- It is difficult to distinguish the original bottle from the fake one.
5. Cognac Lezginka
This is one of the first brands of Russian cognacs presented in our review of these noble drinks. Cognac is produced at the Kizlyar Brandy Factory, and the company has the status of an official supplier of the Moscow Kremlin and the presidential administration. Lezginka cognac has repeatedly received high awards at domestic and international competitions. Not too long ago, the drink began to be exported to Asian countries, in particular, to Japan. It is worth noting that this brand is forged quite often, but it is not too difficult to distinguish a fake: on the top of the bottle there is an engraving in the form of an oval medallion with the numbers 1885 — the year the brandy production was launched in Kizlyar.
The name of the brand and the portrait of Bagration are made using the latest relief stamping technology. The label is lacquered. Information on the neck of the bottle is applied using a laser, and at the bottom there should be a clear brand of the manufacturer. The cognac tastes very good — it is a balanced balance of freshness and fruit tones of peach, grapes, apricot jam. The aftertaste creates a feeling of warmth, has a taste of chocolate. This drink is very popular among consumers, although it is quite expensive.
- Good taste;
- The minimum content of substances harmful to health.
- High price;
- A significant number of fakes on the market.
4. Ararat 5
Armenia has long been famous for brandy, and this variety has absorbed all the best traditions of Armenian winemakers. This variety is produced at the Yerevan Brandy Factory and supplied to more than 40 countries around the world. About 7-8 million bottles are produced annually, of which about 5 are supplied to Russia. Cognac has a specific, but very pleasant taste due to the use in the production of only grape varieties that grow directly on the territory of Armenia, and the alcohol is aged in oak barrels from various types of wood. The manufacturing company positions its products as high quality and meeting the preferences of all lovers of Armenian cognac.
The variety has many international awards, in particular, even very prestigious ones — The World-Spirits Award, World Spirits Competition and others. Cognac has a pleasant smell of pear, compote cooked from dried fruits, plums. The taste is slightly burning, tart, gives off apple juice and green grapes, has sweetish shades. The aftertaste is silky with a slight bitterness, like an apricot seed. Perfect with dark chocolate bar or black coffee.
- One of the best Armenian cognacs;
- An original taste that cannot be confused with any other variety.
3. Noah Araspel
Even just picking up a bottle of cognac of this variety, you understand that this product is of excellent quality. The shape of the bottle is quite interesting, it is massive both in appearance and in weight. This cognac stands out against the background of other varieties due to its rich color, which becomes more intense over the years, thereby emphasizing its nobility. In the production of this drink, only white grapes of vintage varieties are used. It is made in Armenia, supplied to all CIS countries, to Europe and the USA, and in fairly large quantities. It is recognized by connoisseurs of these drinks due to its high quality, which is confirmed by a significant number of awards at international competitions.
The price of this cognac is quite acceptable for an ordinary consumer. The whole bouquet of aromas and tastes of the variety is not revealed immediately. Poured into a glass, this cognac immediately begins to give off light notes of vanilla, the first small sip gives some pungency, but then it turns into a velvety with an interesting combination of chocolate and vanilla. The aftertaste is long, which characterizes only high-quality drinks.
- Original bottle shape;
- Several degrees of protection, allowing you to quickly distinguish a fake;
- Beautiful color, pleasant aroma and rich taste.
2. King Tigran
Found only in specialized liquor stores. Its average exposure is one of the longest among all the best cognacs — it is at least 10 years. The fermentation of the drink is carried out exclusively on wild yeast, which gives it a dark amber color. The aroma contains classic tones of vanilla and chocolate, you can catch floral and ginger shades. The taste is quite soft, elegant, has a long aftertaste without bitterness.
If you open the bottle and immediately smell the drink, you can feel the tones of the marinade, bay leaf, lemon zest. When rubbing a few drops in the palms, it changes a little, some creamy notes are introduced into it, and the tones of the marinade weaken somewhat, but do not disappear at all. During use, there is no alcohol taste, but there is some astringency. The duration of the aftertaste, especially if you drink cognac with lemon and chocolate, can reach 15 minutes.
- Long exposure;
- Long aftertaste;
- Interesting color.
- High price.
1. Cognac Ararat «Nairi»
This is the most expensive, but also the best variety of cognac among all those included in our review. The products are Armenian, have a deep dark amber color, interesting brilliance and absolute transparency without the slightest hint of any sediment. The texture is harmonious, distinguished by excellent finesse. The taste is rich, has a long aftertaste, which combines toasted bread, cloves, moreover, they are balanced by the presence of honey and tones of cinnamon. You can catch some alcohol in the aroma, but it is well masked by fruity-woody smells, has some sweetness. You can catch a dried pear, an apple. After the cognac has stood in the glass for some time, caramel notes and the smell of a freshly sawn oak board begin to appear.
This cognac is drunk very easily, there are some fruit overflows in the taste, which can later be caught in the aftertaste. It will not be possible to capture classic vanilla, tones of chocolate and prunes, which gives the cognac even more originality, so it is simply impossible to confuse this drink with another variety.
- Interesting taste;
- A long aftertaste and an original aroma that cannot be confused with anything else.
In conclusion, a useful video
As you can see, even among the budget varieties of cognac, you can find very decent and interesting specimens that will be to the taste of true connoisseurs of this noble drink. Surely, there are many more little-known, but at the same time high-quality and tasty varieties, if you share such information with us and our other readers in the comments, or simply share your impressions and thoughts regarding our review, we will be very grateful to you.