Review – Courvoisier V.S.
Celebrity endorsement is a tried and tested method to promote ones brand in an industry where being seen to be ‘cool’ does wonders for the sales figures. Often such endorsements are the result of large sums of money changing hands, and so it is rare for a brand to benefit from the sort of recommendation that Courvoisier does. Legend has it that Napoleon chose several casks of Courvoisier as his one item of luxury when he was exiled to St Helena after his defeat at the battle of Waterloo. Hi might have been defeated at Waterloo, but prior to that he had enjoyed several victories and so we have to assume that his taste in Cognac was worthy of his noble reputation.
Courvoisier V.S. is the entry level product in the range and is blended from a mix of Fins Bois and Petite Champagne grapes before being aged for between four and eight years in new French oak barrels.
Nose: Mellow toffee and dried orange peel, stewed prunes, and a hint of coffee. There is a touch too much alcohol on the nose, but only just and actually this is a very respectable aroma for a VS Cognac.
Neat: Spicy and sharp on the palate to start, but developing into rounder summer fruit flavours with a pleasant floral top note. The oak is at times a little dominating, but not unbearably so. The finish is short the sharpness means this is certainly destined to be a mixing Cognac.
Mixing: It is clear from the outset that this is not a Cognac that is going to work well in many of the classics such as the Sidecar and Sazerac. These cocktails demand a Cognac with plenty of body, and this spirit unfortunately just doesn’t cut it. The flavours are pleasant enough, but too often mixing in shorter drinks results in a limp-tasting libation. This is however hardly surprising for a V.S. Cognac, and Courvoisier is actually a decent example of this category. The key to success is to go a little less demanding with the flavour combinations and punch-style drinks are the obvious choice. The fruity profile and absence of leathery notes so often associated with Cognacs means this product combines well with a range of flavours. The signature Courvoisier Cooler (recipe below) for example is an approachable cocktail that makes the best of this spirit. Going easy on the use of citrus, and generous on the use of sugar brings out the best of the fruity notes of this Cognac, making it a respectable choice for those occasions where a bowl of punch will save so much hassle fixing individual drinks!
Signature Cocktail – Courvoisier Cooler
35ml Courvoisier V.S., wedge lime, apple juice, ginger beer
Add Courvoisier and squeezed lime wedge to highball glass filled with ice. Fill 1/3rd with apple juice and 2/3rds with ginger beer. Stir.
Courvoisier V.S. is a decent choice for long summer punches where its light-bodied and fruity profile are put to best use, and good value for money is achieved. Whilst this is no sipping Cognac, and it is disappointing in many classic Cognac cocktails, it is a good example of its category, and is perfectly capable of making a tasty cocktail.
Courvoisier V.S. is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.