Review: Remy Martin XO
You should never judge a book by its cover, and you should never judge a spirit by its bottle; or so the saying (sort of) goes. Whilst this is clearly sage advice, things would be more than a little dull if every spirit was presented in the same boring bottle. There have been some interesting additions to the market recently, but most bottles remain a way behind what the Cognac producers have been up to for a long time already. Not content with making delicious spirits, the likes of Remy Martin and many of its competitors have mastered the art of making their bottles stand out from the crowd.
One such bottle is that of the Remy Martin XO Excellence, a blend of 85% Grande Champagne and 15% Petite Champagne. Up to 300 eaux-de-vie are used in the blending process, and ageing takes some 10-37 years with a reported 25 yr average.
Nose: Sweet grilled peach, fresh plums, and marzipan offer a lovely depth and complexity. Bitter notes of dried orange peel balance things out as it develops in the glass to create a very pleasing aroma.
Neat: Very soft on the palate upfront with just a slight bitter reminiscent of the caramelised bits of the grilled peaches evident on the nose. Initially relatively fruity and floral, the oak enters the frame in the mid-palate and builds to be assertive but never excessively dominant. Tobacco and leather notes are light enough to appeal to non hardened Cognac drinkers, who will still be satisfied with the complexity that includes a whiff of smoke on the long nutty finish. There is plenty going on with this Cognac and whilst the price point will make it an unlikely mixing option, there is a sharp edge to proceedings that might actually offer a nice balance in classic Cognac cocktails.
Remy Martin XO Excellence is an excellent sipping Cognac. Offering a complex mix of fruit, oak, and sharp notes it is both light and flavourful, making it accessible to connoisseurs and those seeking a less challenging Cognac to drink. Rating: ★★★★
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.