Pass The Courvoisier, Revised
Courvoisier has been making a real splash in the media lately. With their innovative Courvoisier Art Collective and the soon to be released 21 year old spirit, they’re out to prove that the cognac can be enjoyed by more than just Napoleon and Busta Rhymes.
At an event tailored to introduce 20-somethings in media to the approachable brand of cognac; we were introduced to the brand’s Exclusive, the 12 year old and the XO. Held in the sleek and urban barchef, we were handed what would be our initial impression of the cognac, a deliciously savory punch (see recipe below) while we were escorted to a VIP section of the bar. As we mingled with the others present for the tasting, we were served up some of the succulent snacks the bar features on it’s menu. Among the many tasty morsels we were served my favourite: a mushroom and roasted squash pizza with white truffle oil and caramelized onions.
Our fabulous guides, Pierre Szersnovicz and his lovely wife, travelled all the way from Jarnac, France to provide us with a truly engaging and interactive tasting experience. For each of the three cognacs we sampled we participated in a discovery of the layered aromas and flavours.
Courvoisier 12 Year Old
$89.95 for 750mL bottle at the LCBO
In a fun jeu du devinettes, we were instructed to place a cinnamon stick under our nose and take a few whiffs. We were then instructed to plug our nose and place the stick in our mouths to demonstrate that about 75% of what we taste is aroma. As an avid whiskey drinker, I could easily see that this cognac was developed as a means to appeal to those like myself. The initial notes were floral and spicy but there was also some ginger, vanilla and almond. The finish was well-rounded. This spirit could easily be enjoyed neat, or on the rocks with a splash of ginger ale.
Courvoisier Exclusif VSOP Cognac
$69.95 for a 750mL bottle at the LCBO
We were given a leather case which held tiny numbered bottles which we were told would be a part of a little guessing game. Our guesses weren’t far from the actual scents and we picked up on the plum, coffee and Crème brûlée aromas; the finish quite smooth and mellow. This particular cognac is relatively new and is much more modern in its intended purpose in punches and for mixing extravagant cocktails.
Courvoisier XO Cognac
$219.95 for a 750mL bottle at the LCBO
The last three “mystery scents” had us guessing caramel, vanilla, orange peel, and floral aromas; indicative of what is found in the spirit. The XO, my favourite, was very smooth with a fruity flavour and long finish. After the initial tasting we were given some Wasabi Beans to cleanse our palettes and really open up our senses to experience all of the intricate flavour nodes.
Courvoisier has dubbed this the ‘summer of punch’ with delicious mixes that compliment rather than mask the taste of this classic and refined cognac. While summer may be coming to an end there is no better time than the present to enjoy some of their delicious suggestions at covoisier.com or experiment with some of your own tantalizing creations! Courtney and I were thinking spiked hot apple cider with the Exclusif and a cinnamon stick to finish, served at our ‘Very Courvoisier Christmas Party’ this year, but until then why don’t you try the lip-smacking Ginger Crush Punch:
• 9 parts Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif cognac
• 19 parts apple juice
• 10 parts ginger beer
• 2 parts lime juice
• 10 slices of cucumbers
Add the freshly cut lime and cucumber into your punch bowl and then build in the remaining ingredients stirring as you go. Serve in freshly iced glasses garnished with cucumber slices.
Words and pictures by Kate Masewich