Review – Remy Martin V.S.O.P. Mature Cask Finish
As fashions change and we are exposed to new cultures and ideas, it makes sense that our taste preference will change along with the types of food we eat, or clothes that we wear. This poses bit of a problem for spirit producers who cannot possibly change their products in response to societies fickle changing tastes. Cognac is perhaps one spirit category that has suffered from changing tastes; often perceived as a dry, leathery spirit fit for gentlemen’s clubs, it doesn’t have a reputation that fits with modern palates. It is a bold, but quite understandable move therefore for Remy Martin to change it’s successful V.S.O.P. bottling to meet modern consumer demands. The mature cask finish bottling uses the same blend of 45% Petite Champagne and 55% Grand Champagne grapes as the regular V.S.O.P. and is also aged initially for the same 4-12yrs. The difference comes with a new final stage after the blending has taken place, involving further ageing in Limousin oak casks that are at least 20yrs old. The intention is to enhance the fruity notes of the Cognac, thus appealing to modern palates.
Neat: Very pleasant and definitely an improvement on the previous incumbent. Warm and rounded, complex spice and fruit in harmony with each other. The fruit is sweeter and lighter, but the oak does not overpower as might be feared with the additional ageing. The finish offers a surprising smoky edge.
Mixing: As with the neat tasting, the MCF is an improvement on the ‘regular’ V.S.O.P. Sweeter, and fruitier than its predecessor, this Cognac offers a flavour profile more suited to modern mixing. It does need a touch less sugar however, particularly in sour cocktails such as the Sidecar, which also demands the restrained use of lemon juice so as not to kill off the fruity elements of the palate. It can hold its own in classics such as the Sazerac, although does benefit from combining with whiskey to give a bit of spice. All things considered, this is a solid mixing Cognac, that achieves the desired improvement in palatability for cocktail usage. A good example is this Cognac’s performance in the classic Harvard which with the ‘old’ VSOP was a little too oaky but is now fruity and surprisingly easy-drinking. The only downside is that in making the spirit sweeter and fruitier, some of the deeper dry flavours have been lost or heavily subdued, meaning that it might take some getting used to for traditionalists.
Signature Cocktail – French Mojito
1.5oz Remy Martin V.S.O.P., 1oz lime juice, 1tbsp brown sugar, 10 mint leaves, 3oz sparkling water
Lightly bruise mint in base of highball glass, add crushed ice and rest ingredients except water. Churn well and top with sparkling water.
Remy Martin V.S.O.P. Mature Cask Finish is a significant improvement on its predecessor. Fruitier and sweeter in taste, this Cognac offers an appealing taste profile that works well in a range of cocktails. A solid addition to the home bar.
Remy Martin V.S.O.P. Mature Cask Finish 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.