The results are in for the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2014. This competition encompasses all the various spirits, including gin, brandy, vodka, whisky and, of course, cognac (see our articles about the Ultimate Spirit Challenge 2013, the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2012 and the Ultimate Spirit Challenge 2011).

Ultimate Spirit Challenge 2014

The judges taste each product blind, and then give their score. This year there were 37 Chairman’s Trophies awarded, representing the ‘best of the best.’  Each spirit is awarded a mark out of 100, which corresponds as follows:

95-100: Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation

90-94: Excellent, Highly Recommended

85-89: Very Good, Strong Recommendation

80-84: Good, Recommended

In addition to this, products are awarded that provide unfailing quality to consumers year after year. These are awarded the ‘Tried & True Award”.

Ultimate Spirit Challenge 2014

Cognac Results

The cognac results are as follows, in reverse order:

Louis Royer VSOP Preference Cognac

Cost, $44.00 per bottle

Awarded 89 points.

Tasting notes: Vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and spices drive the nose of this VSOP.  Has a soft, floral palate and a lengthy, slightly sweet, smooth finish.

Read more about Louis Royer Cognac.

Hardy VSOP Cognac

Cost, $60.00 per bottle

Awarded 89 points.

Tasting notes: An interesting cognac that begins slightly sweet on first taste, gradually melting to a savoury, with hints of toffee, caramel and coffee.  Floral aromas abound, with a hint of spice to add further interest and texture.

Read more about Hardy Cognac.

D’USSE VSOP Cognac

Cost, $50.00

Awarded 89 points.

Tasting notes:  A round, silky texture and a gentle aroma of baking spices make for an extremely pleasant tasting experience.  On the palate, hints of butter, peaches and chamomile tantalise the taste buds.

Read more about D’USSE Cognac here.

Merlet Cognac Brothers Blend Cognac

Cost, $50.00 per bottle

Awarded 91 points.

Tasting notes:  A dry aroma with suggestive hints of green apple and honey.  On the palate the honey tones give way to cedar and fresh apricot.  The finish is well-balanced, yet bright and vivacious.

Read more about Merlet Cognac here.

Louis Royer VS Cognac 

Cost, $43.00 per bottle (700ml)

Awarded 91 points.

Tasting notes: Fruits abound throughout the delights of this cognac.  Enjoy aromas of apricots and dried peaches.  Taste a multitude of stone fruits with undercurrents of spices such as cinnamon and clove.

Louis Royer VSOP

Cost, $55.50 per bottle (700ml)

Awarded 91 points.

Tasting notes: A delicate, buttery aroma of sweet pastry and raisins.  Smooth and luxurious on the palate, with hints of white grapes, figs and butter pastry.  The finish leaves you with lingering, white floral tones.

Read more about Louis Royer Cognac.

Rémy Martin XO Cognac Fine Champagne

Cost, $140.00 per bottle

Awarded 92 points.

Tasting notes: A strong, spicy nose hints of cedar, black peppercorns and raisins.  The palate is bracing yet balanced, and brings to mind the enjoyment of black tea.  The finish is long, leaving an essence of stewed prunes, cinnamon and brown sugar.

Read more about Rémy Martin Cognac.

Francois Voyer XO Gold Cognac Grande Champagne

Cost,  $130.00 per bottle

Awarded 92 points.

Tasting notes:  A mellow aroma of golden raisin and apples greets you, before moving onto a sweet and spicy palate.  Smooth in texture, it’s just robust enough to leave you with a slight leatheriness in the finish.

Read more about Francois Voyer Cognac here.

Bache Gabrielsen Natur & Eleganse XO 6 Years Old Cognac

Cost, $119.95 per bottle

Awarded 92 points.

Tasting notes: This cognac first greets you with a briny aroma.  This then gives way to blossoms and a hint of vanilla.  Enjoy a clean, fresh palate that brings to mind the taste of green apple, honey and quince.  The finish is delightfully light, crisp and fresh.

Read more about Bache Gabrielsen Cognac.

Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac Fine Champagne

Cost, $59.00 per bottle

Awarded 93 points.

Tasting notes: After a delightful aroma of baking spices and dried fruits, the warm, spicy palate hints of golden raisins, fresh figs and white grapes.  A long lasting, floral finish rounds off this great tasting cognac.

D’USSE XO Cognac:

Cost, $225.00 per bottle

Awarded 94 points.

Tasting notes: Enjoy the warm aromas of stewed fruits, baking apples, cinnamon and vanilla beans in this complex yet fresh cognac.  The palate hints at sweetness and is silky and voluptuous.  An understated finish lingers for an exceptional amount of time.

Bache Gabrielsen Natur & Eleganse VSOP 4 Years Old Cognac

Cost, $58.00 per bottle

Awarded 94 points.

Tasting notes: Complex aromas abound – enjoy hints of nutmeg, honeysuckle and vanilla.  Woody notes dominate the palate, and the finish tails off over a lengthy amount of time leaving the mouth clean and fresh.

Louis Royer XO Cognac

Cost, $339.00 per bottle

Awarded 95 points.

Tasting notes:  This deep amber cognac tantalises you with aromas of heady spices, including including dried fig, raisins and baking spices.  Light on the palate, with tastes of cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg.  The dry finish leaves you with thoughts of pastry flavours and dried fruits.

This cognac was also awarded the ‘Tried and Tested’ award.

Delamain Extra Cognac Grande Champagne

Cost, $199.99 per bottle

Awarded 95 points.

Tasting notes: Green grapes and warm honey hit your senses as you bring the glass towards your mouth.  On the palate cinnamon, nutmeg and buttered pastry spring to mind with its warm, smooth texture.  The finish is long, with an abundance of warm flavours.

This cognac was also awarded the “Tried & True Award”.

Read more about Delamain Cognac.

And the winner of the Chairman’s Trophy is…

Delamain Pale & Dry Cognac Grande Champagne

Cost, $108.50 per bottle

Awarded 96 points.

Tasting notes:  White grape juice and chrysanthemum dominate the aroma.  The palate feels rich and creamy, with hints of light caramel, baking spices, butter and pastry cream.  The finish is long and lingering, with tones of toffee notes.

 

Sources: ultimate-beverage.com

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Author

Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.

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