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 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!

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Max is a spirits expert and speaker, into marketing, technology, startups, and business development. He’s also a farmer. He likes tools and machines, Game of Thrones, and Better Call Saul. Included in his Top 10 Cognacs are the Audry XO and Bache Gabrielsen 1973.Max founded Cognac Expert in 2010 at his family’s estate in Poullignac, in the Cognac region, France. Started as a blog, today Cognac Expert is the world’s largest website about all things Cognac, a blog, and a specialized online shop featuring 800+ different Cognac bottles.


  1. Avatar
    H. B. Michelsen

    Tell me venligs what a bottle like this around. can enrich me with:
    36 CL, 40%
    A.C.Meukow & Cie
    Grande Champagne No,7
    Ancienne marque 1842
    I got 3 bottles for my 40 th anniversary in 1969 – but will they last forever?

  2. Avatar

    Or, you could just enjoy your drink and not act like a douche.

  3. Avatar

    Where are the “trust” stores that sell France cognac “Martell XO” sell in USA????
    We found that only the Chinese Market and Vietnamese stores sale the Martell XO cognac in California.
    But it taste really not suppose to be as an outstanding as a Martell XO cognac when we’re purchased from oversea!
    Thanks for your info.

  4. Avatar
    Max (

    Dear Nguyen, you should trust which is our Cognac online store with more than 700 different cognac bottles in stock. Guaranteed authentic & original products, which we stand for with our family name.

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