Cognac

Review: Gauthier VS Cognac by Jason Hambrey

Gauthier VS 2.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
>2 yrs
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Maison Gauthier (Cognac, France)

While this isn’t one of the “big four” cognac brands that account for 90% of the world’s production (Hennessy, Remy Martell, Courvoisier, and Martell) it is still one of the bigger brands and not too difficult to find. It’s also (relatively) inexpensive.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

Spicy with rich raisin/grape character, sharp baking spices, vanilla, nutty, dried orange, red currants, and a plethora of dried fruit. I really like how this cognac comes together – the rich spicy character contrasted with the grape and a minerality that peeks through. The finish is surprisingly sweet and confectionary – a relatively rich cognac, which I like.

Assessment: Recommended.


Review: Hennessy VS Cognac by Jason Hambrey

Hennessy.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
>2 yrs
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Hennessy (Cognac, France)

Perhaps the most recognizable brand of cognac? I like cognac, but I find it expensive for what it is, especially beside its sibling Armagnac (which I like better). However, it also mixes very well in premium cocktails (and is also. expensive for that). Every now and then I’ll treat myself and get one of these - handy because they are easy to get in small format samples.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

The nose is very fruity, and it really has an attractive oiliness to it. There is vanilla and a light floral character, caramel, and a really nice rich raisin character. The taste is full of raisins, light caramel, and a touch of spice and vanilla. The finish has some grape and baking spice – the grape on the finish, surprisingly, is fresher than on the palate.

It is very well balanced and straightforward. It’s on the lighter, clearner, and more acceptable side, but there is really nice depth. This is a mainstream brand which does a nice job.

Assessment: Highly recommended.


Review: Canadian Club 42 Year Old Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Photo courtesy of Canadian Club.

Photo courtesy of Canadian Club.

ABV
45%
Aging
42 Years; Refill American Oak
Recipe
100% Corn
Distiller Hiram Walker (Windsor, Ontario)

Canadian Club keeps upping the anty, continuing to reset the record for oldest Canadian whisky ever released. This corn whisky at the heart of this is 42 years old! The 1977-distilled spirit composes more than 90.9% of the release, and is blended with cognac, sherry, and a bit of 16 year old rye, and 12 year old pot still rye to create a more dynamic flavor profile.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

A relatively soft nose, with loads of complexity behind it – gooseberries, mixed berries, blueberry, grape, and old-age notes. Also lots of dried fruit, coca-cola, lots of dried fruit, green pea pods, clove (with some associated bitterness), marmelade, orange peel, white pepper, and a bit of douglas fir. The fruit is quite nice, throughout.  The palate carries forward the notes of the nose – rich old aged whisky, beeswax, blueberry, dried fruit, a sherry nuttiness, light notes of wine gums, and more coca-cola. Lots of nice spice in it and is quite nicely blended together. The finish is slightly tangy, with vanilla, fresh oak, candied fruit, and some milk chocolate.

As you can see, lots of candied fruit here – but this is an excellent whisky, don’t let those tasting notes detract.
They’ve built around the aged whisky – and it is good, but I still have found the bottles subsequent to the 40 not quite as fitting to my taste. This one is a bit more fruity, candied, and confectionary. But…they’ve all been very good.


Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).
Value: On a taste basis alone, low, at $310. As context, my limit for the perfect whisky is $300, so we’ve eclipsed that here, and value is quite subjective at the upper end. What would a 40 year old Scotch cost? An order of magnitude more…


Review: Plantation Guatemala & Belize Gran Anejo Rum by Jason Hambrey

Plantation+Guatemala+and+Belize.jpg
ABV
42%
Aging
about 4-7 yrs
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller Unnamed Guatemala and Belize Distiller

This rum is based on a blend of column still rums from Guatemala and Belize. The Guatemalan component is aged for 3 years in ex-bourbon casks, while the Belize component is aged 4-7 years in ex-bourbon casks. The rums are then matured for another year in France in ex-cognac casks.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

This is a nice, rich nose – spicy, sweet, and oaky. There is some tobacco, oak, and a rich Jamaican-style estery note. Spicy, again. The palate is sweet and oaky, with a really nice blueberry note. The finish is sweet and fruity with lots of orange and a nice balance of fruit and oak. Relative to the Plantation rums I have tried, this is heavier and more in the style of a rich rum from the former French colonies.

Assessment: Highly Recommended.

Value: Great, at around $50 CAD.


Review: Plantation Jamaica 2005 Rum by Jason Hambrey

Plantation+Jamaica+2005.jpg
ABV
45.2%
Aging
13 yrs
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller Long Pond and Clarendon (Jamaica)

This rum was distilled in pot stills at Clarendon distillery and Long Pond distillery, matured in Jamaica in ex-bourbon casks for 12 years, and then matured for an additional year in France in ex-cognac casks.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Very nice! It has a rich jamaican character, earthy and with loads of fruit. Spicy, briny, fruity - it is wonderfully complex. Orange peel, brown sugar, mixed baking spices, and a nice tannic ending. Earthy throughout, a rich character - it’s great! I do love these Jamaican rums- they are my favourite style.

Assessment: Highly recommended.

Value: I couldn’t find a price, but I’d say this is a good buy against the market at $50-$75.