So, you’re invited out for an evening, and the next thing you know a bottle of cognac is brought to the table. Everyone around you happily nods, making knowledgeable remarks about cognac – and you too need to fit in. So, you’d better be prepared.
But don’t worry, because here at Cognac Expert we’ve produced the ‘quick start guide‘ to help you bluff your way into scaring even the genuine cognac officionados into thinking you really are a connaisseur…
So here we go.
The top 10: How to fake being a cognac connaisseur
1. Go to cognac-expert.com before meeting with your friends if you know what kind of cognac will be served: Read the tasting notes and comment on the cognac and casually drop them into the converstation whilst tasting the cognac.
2. If you’ve been provided with an ordinary, un-cognac-ish glass, say: “It would be great if you had a tulip or a balloon snifter.“ Also ask if someone knows the Norman Copenhagen glass and say it’s your favourite, and that Riedel glasses are great too. (Handy hint – before you go to the party, have a look at these cognac glasses).
3. While everyone else is already sipping away as soon as their cognac is handed to them, you don’t. Instead, hold the cognac glass in your hand and allow it to warm to your touch. When someone asks why you’ve not yet tasted, say in a carefree manner: “Oh, that’s just to release some aromas. Hand warm, you know.“
4. Look at the colour. If it’s dark say: “Hm.. I wonder if there‘s caramel in it,“ or “there‘s a good amount of woodyness in this cognac“ . And if the cognac is very bright you say, “Ha! At least no caramel!“
5. Ask to see the bottle before you drink. If there‘s a “V“ in an age term word (like VS, VSOP) the cognac is probably younger. If you can’t find the “V“ (like XO, Napoleon, Hors d’Age) you have an older one. Don’t tell anybody this rule, just mention casually that this is an older bottle.. but take care not to confuse the age term with the actual producer of the cognac – such as in a name like “Voyer“, because that doesn’t count as a V.
6. If it’s not Hennessy, Courvoisier, Martell, Camus or Remy Martin you can say “Ah, a smaller producer – interesting choice!“
7. Stress that it’s amazing that the french actually don‘t drink that much cognac, preferreing whisky. Only 1-2% of the produced cognac remains in France, the rest is exported.
8. Before you actually taste the cognac, casusally swirl the glass, and stick your nose into the top. Slowly inhale for 1 second and say “hmm.. nice fruits on the nose.“
9. If you feel that the cognac doesn’t burn you entirely after having sipped, say “The finish is rather mellow/soft/smooth … I like it.“ – but do take care not to say that if you ‚re drinking a VS cognac.
10. If your hosts do serve you a VS Cognac (youngest quality), smile engagingly, and ask for one of the following; a.) an ice cube b.) some tonic water c.) Sprite/lemonade „and say it’s because that’s what you prefer to do with very young cognac.
So that’s it; the Cognac Expert guide on how to fake being a cognac connoisseur. Good luck!