[Updated January 27, 2021]
What are smooth Cognacs? Now, there’s a question.
In our opinion, smooth means how an individual interprets the combination of aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and finish. If they all meld in perfect light harmony, the overall perception is that of a truly smooth drink. In addition, the smooth-rating of an eau-de-vie is dependent on its age and quality. So a younger, fresher Cognac will have a different smoothness than an old Cognac, such as an Extra or Hors d’Age.
The Qualities of a Smooth Cognac
- Light to drink – both on the palate and throughout the finish
- Beautifully rounded – meaning that the flavors meld seamlessly, gradually evolving during the tasting process
- No sharpness in the mouth
- A mellow finish
- Easy to drink
- 40% ABV – anything above this will naturally present more punch
- Can be a young or an old Cognac
There’s a direct link between the barrels used in the ageing process and the smoothness of the Cognac. This is because older wood leads to a different intensity in the eau-de-vie. The younger the wood the more potent the effect on the liquid within—older barrels, by their very nature, lead to a smoother finished product.
The search for smooth Cognacs is ongoing and dynamic. Just when you think you’ve found the ultimate, another comes along that challenges for the number one spot on your personal leaderboard. But, we have to admit, discovering the smoothest Cognac is a fun (and never ending) pastime.
9 Ultimate Smooth Cognacs
The following are 9 examples of exceptionally smooth eau-de-vie.
1. Marancheville VSOP Cognac
A wonderful example of how a Cognac doesn’t need to have undergone extensive ageing to attain the description of smooth. This is a wonderfully versatile Cognac that can be appreciated sipped neat, over ice, or in any way you see fit. Max says of this VSOP that it offers “a great level of depth, complexity, and balance”.
This one is yet further proof of how sought after the premier cru of Grande Champagne eau-de-vie is. With no sharp edges or roughness at any point in the tasting process, this is the epitome of what the French like to call facile a boire or easy to drink.
2. ABK6 VSOP Single Estate Cognac
A deserving winner of many awards, the ABK6 Single Estate is a pure Fins Bois Cognac that oozes smooth qualities from the nose to the finish. Delightfully fragrant but never pungent, offering a roundness that belies its relatively young age, and with a gentle finish, this offers incredible value for money for those looking for true smoothness.
3. Deau URB’N De Luxe Cognac
It might come as a surprise that a VS makes the grade. However, as we mentioned earlier, the smoothness of a Cognac isn’t determined by it’s age. Deau’s URB’N is a wonderful example of this. The tasting experience exudes its vibrant youth, combining fresh vigour in both the aromatic qualities and on the palate that flow seamlessly—hence its worthy inclusion in this list.
Enjoy it neat, on the rocks, combined with a mixer, or in a cocktail. And we have to say, the presentation of this versatile Cognac is as uber-cool as the tasting experience.
4. De Luze XO Cognac
The De Luze Fine Champagne XO has impressed critics and industrial awards alike, with a long string of medals to its name. They’re certainly well deserved—and its smooth-rating is almost off the scale. Harmonious aromas and flavours accompany you along the complete tasting journey. This is not least during the extensive finish that continues to evolve until, eventually, you’re left with only one choice—and that’s to sip and experience all over again.
5. D’Usse VSOP Cognac
The hype that surrounded the Jay-Z D’Usse Cognac when first launched was certainly well received. The Cognac itself has also proved a hit—and for very good reason. It’s excellent! The blend continues to clock up more awards each year. And, while you might think that this one’s more about the bling than the zing, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
Beautifully presented, versatile, and with a smooth-rating that takes the taster on sublime sensual journey, this is a Cognac that deserves its place in every quality drink collection.
6. Marancheville XO Cognac
Another offering from the Marancheville stable, the XO Grande Champagne gained what is perhaps one of the greatest accolades Max has ever given to a Cognac when he said, “this is one of the greatest XO Cognacs I’ve tasted” back in 2016. His recommendation still holds true today. It’s a wonderful example of how a smooth Cognac should taste, and competes with anything produced by the better known houses of Hennessy, Remy, Courvoisier, and Martell.
7. Vallein Tercinier XO Vieille Reserve Cognac
Elegance personified is perhaps the best description of this well-aged Fine Champagne from Vallein Tercinier. The smooth rating is wholly apparent from the moment the first tendrils of aroma hit your olfactory system, and this continues throughout the entire tasting process. This is, once again, an excellent example of the very reason we champion the small producers. If you’ve yet to introduce yourself to this artisan house, then this will be a fine addition to your Cognac tasting repertoire.
8. Château de Montifaud XO Silver Cognac
The family-run house of Chateau de Montifaud knows a thing or two about aging to perfection to bring us a beautifully rounded and smooth eau-de-vie. This, from Petite Champagne, is light, floral, soft, and is a wonderful example of what we mean when we talk about a smooth Cognac. At 40% ABV, the blend walks the fine line between softness and depth of character, achieved thanks to the second part of the ageing process when the precious nectar is moved from red oak casks into much older ones.
9. Deau XO Cognac
The second Deau offering to make the grade, this XO is a Petite Champagne and Fins Bois blend that personifies the very meaning of smooth. This is an eau-de-vie that’ll delight both those new to the Cognac experience and those with much experience. The palette of flavors and aromas flow in perfect harmony—with lychees, nuts, and coffee beans culminating in an impressively lengthy finish boasting leather, cigar box and musk.
Quite simply, divine…
As already mentioned, our list of the best smooth Cognacs is subject to constant change. This is to take into account new releases and those that are no longer available to purchase.
Our previous list showcased the following—most of which are discontinued.
1. Normandin Mercier La Peraudiere
2. Hennessy Fine de Cognac
3. Leopold Gourmel Bio Attitude (Organic)
4. ABK6 VSOP Single Estate
5. Louis XIII by Rémy Martin
6. De Luze Extra
7. Martell Chanteloup Perspective
8. La Fontaine de La Pouyade