Cognac has its Big four houses, the pillars for the spirit category which are present in every corner of the world. But if we ignore those houses, we are left with a multitude of small producers – negociants and grower-distillers – which form an elite and ultra qualitative tier of Cognac house. Cognac Prunier sits firmly atop this special tier of historical, authentic, immensely qualitative Cognac houses. For me personally, I consider Prunier to be an iconic and a benchmark negociant house, one which many others can be judged against. So it’s true that I carry my own positive bias heading into this kind of bottle review article. 

Prunier is launching its newly designed, packaged, and blended range of Cognacs. This is not really news to anyone. The house has been showing the new range during various trade fairs in Europe these past months – and on social media. But the production is finally occurring, and these Cognacs are ready to reach Cognac lovers’ glasses in a matter of days. One of these Cognacs is the Prunier XO, which I hope promises an exceptional tasting experience for many types of Cognac drinker – which is what a good XO Cognac really should do. 

Prunier XO: Reimagining a Classic | Cognac Expert Blog

In this article, I’ll explore the recent changes to Prunier’s offerings, the motivation behind them, and provide an in-depth review, tasting, and commentary of the Prunier XO. A handful of images done by myself – so definitely not a professional – will be included so you can see Prunier’s refreshed vibe.

The “new” Prunier Range


A smooth transition of the direction of the house is ongoing from Stephane Burnez to both of his daughters Alice and Claire. The sisters, steadfast in their commitment to preserve the family values and respect tradition, wanted to refresh the design and packaging of the Prunier range and adjust the blends. In short, they sought a visual aesthetic and Cognac blends that most closely aligned with their own tastes and their own personalities – effectively putting their signatures, or fingerprints, on the range. 

Prunier XO: Reimagining a Classic | Cognac Expert Blog

But it must be stressed that the values of the house and the commitment to quality remain completely unchanged. So think of this more as an evolutionary refresh rather than a through and through rebranding. 

Let’s quickly run through what’s new and what’s unchanged in the Prunier range. 

The Classics

The following Cognacs keep their valued place in the Prunier range, but have the new bottle, design, and packaging. Again, it is important to state that the blends have been slightly updated to more align with the tastes and personalities of both Claire and Alice. 


The following new Prunier Cognacs have now seen the light of day:

  • B&S:  “Brandy & Soda”, 100% 2018 Folle Blanche, cocktail and mixology focus (43% alc. vol.)
  • Horizon:  Fine Champagne (70% Grande Champagne, 30% Petite Champagne), 1988 through 1966 vintages in the blend (43.5% alc. vol.)
  • Singularité:  A four cru blend (majority 40 year old Borderies), ages ranging from 28 to 104 years old (44% alc. vol.)
  • Petite Champagne 1983 Vintage:  Distilled 1983 and bottled May 2024, housed in the new bottle with the new packaging (48.6% alc. vol.)

Prunier XO Production Details

Prunier is one of the most respected negociant houses in Cognac. Having the status of negociant means they do not manage their own vines and distill themselves. Instead, they have very close longstanding partnerships with grower-distillers in the region, from all of Cognac’s crus. My understanding is that many of these relationships they have go back decades. Much of the eaux-de-vie they obtain ages in Prunier’s own naturally humid cellars in Gimeux.

The Prunier XO is an XO Cognac on paper, which means the minimum aging requirement is ten years. However, it is confirmed that this blend is made up of Cognac between 15 and 30 years old from five of Cognac’s crus: Grande & Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois and Bons Bois. The front label confirms this. The proportions and exact makeup of the blend are not known. The blend was prepared by Stephane Burnez working in constant open communication with his daughters Claire and Alice.

Prunier XO: Reimagining a Classic | Cognac Expert Blog

The blend is 100% Ugni Blanc and was aged in primarily 200 liter and 400 liter oak barrels in their Gimeux cellar. It is bottled at 40% alcohol volume. For fans of higher proof spirits, if you think this 40% might leave you wanting, there is more than enough to capture your attention in the Prunier core range and vintage range. Additionally, the tasting below will help evaluate how this 40% alcohol level works for this particular Cognac.

My understanding is that the color is natural but there has been the slightest addition of sugar. This was done for a very simple reason: the blend is better with it. It has become quite trendy today to cast shade on any spirit which contains either some coloring or sugar, or both. From a philosophical point of view, I get it. I too tend to veer towards Cognacs that are free of any additions. But, much like a fine Brût Réserve Champagne, many if not most Cognac blends actually become more complete with the tiny measured addition of sugar. So this is fine for me, and I appreciate the transparency the Burnez sisters shared with me when I asked this question. 

Also, and this is important in the case of Prunier, they have vast experience working with totally natural un-altered spirit. Their entire vintage range is exactly that. So if they really felt that going a high proof route was best for the XO, they would have done it. Instead, they tested many different iterations of what was to become the XO blend, always with the intention of putting in bottle what’s best in terms of aromas, flavors, textures, and drinkability. And the samples with the slightest addition of sugar won out. 

I certainly cannot take issue with that. Good on them for that. 

Bottle Presentation & Packaging

The Box

The Prunier XO comes in a sturdy unfold-to-open box with a popping matte orange color. Looking at it and holding it, it gives off a sense of modernity and simplicity. The newly refreshed Prunier logomark and logotype is front and center, and I like that the Vieille Maison is still prominently featured. 

After unfolding open the front box flap, I see a map of the Cognac region with each of the crus clearly delimited and a short text about the Prunier house in French (at the top) and English (at the bottom). Then on the right side is an open space for the bottle to sit snugly. 

Prunier XO: Reimagining a Classic | Cognac Expert Blog

The box is not too busy; it doesn’t feel like a cheap box (etuis) that I’d immediately throw away, and it doesn’t feel too over the top either. Generally, I don’t really care about boxes. I tend to get rid of them and just store my bottles unboxed on shelves on my rack, but this compact one will stick around. I see absolutely no reason to discard it. It’s clean and does what a box is supposed to do. 

The Bottle & Cork

My first thought when seeing the bottle was Arran, the scotch whisky producer. The bottle gives me that vibe. I love it, and it’s quite different from a Cognac and a nice departure from the classic Cognaçaise or Exception bottle. Apparently, when sisters Alice and Claire were looking at old Prunier documentation and images, they noticed an old bottle with exactly this shape. Their intention with the bottle change was to bring that shape back and incorporate it into their new range. 

I also appreciate that the bottle is a bottle and not an over the top decanter. The bottle is nice to hold and has good heft, but it never feels like anything more luxurious than what it really is – just a bottle. 

The bottle is clearly a custom mold as it has textured writing Maison Prunier Cognac at the top and 1769 at the bottom. The cork does its job and looks sleek with the Vieille Maison logomark on the top and Maison Prunier Cognac carved out of the sides. 

Again, this all comes off as well thought out, modern but with an eye towards the house’s past, well executed, and very thankfully down to earth. 

The Label

There are two small labels on the bottle. A small pale blue top label with the new Prunier logotype and below that another small off-white textured label with information specific to the Prunier XO that I am tasting. The short text establishes that the Cognac is an XO Cognac, but it also makes the commendable step to state the various ages in the blend range from 15 to 30 years. 

Prunier XO: Reimagining a Classic | Cognac Expert Blog

When I step back and look at the bottle, my attention is more grabbed by the bottle and its unique shape. The labels are just quietly there. Nice.

Tasting Conditions

The following bullet points give several details on how the tasting note to follow was constructed:

  • The Cognac was tasted over a period of six non-consecutive days. 
  • Glass: Lehmann Eau de Vie 15 (tulip)
  • Tasting duration: 1 hour per tasting
  • The tastings were done in the late morning hours, always before lunchtime.
  • A “control” Cognac was included during each tasting, control Cognac at 42% ABV. The control Cognac served an important purpose as it gave a point of reference with which to compare this new Prunier XO. The control Cognac is a bottle I know well, Godet Hors d’Age, admittedly a slightly older Cognac than I typically use as a control Cognac. 
  • A personally-adjusted printed Cognac Aroma Wheel was by my side for each tasting to give me a visual reminder of all of the different notes I could possibly encounter with these Cognacs. So these are not tasting notes themselves, but rather a wheel which contains all of the different aromatic and flavor notes commonly found in young and mature Cognacs alike. I’ve added a few words of my own to this wheel. 

So let’s actually taste this Cognac. Prunier is indeed one of my favorite houses, so I really truly want to like this Cognac. I suspect that I will, but a proper tasting over a handful of days is always devoted to these kinds of bottle review articles. 

Tasting Note


Deep amber with orange reflections


The nose is immediately delicate and soft, with juicy orange citrus notes reminiscent of tangerine and clementine – sweet citrus, not bracing in its acidity. The fruit profile leans towards the fresh side of the spectrum, but very ripe, spiced, and loaded with natural sweet juices. There’s a distinct hint of orange hard candy (Jolly Rancher) and a subtle touch of apricot hand cream. Moreover, the aroma carries notes of chocolate with orange zest. There is also an underlying musty or earthy note, which to me could suggest a significant presence of Fins Bois in the blend. 

Upon revisiting the empty glass, even stronger creamy peach and apricot notes emerge. 


The palate has a soft texture, revealing flavors of Arlequin candy and orange spice drop candy. All of the aforementioned ripe and juicy fruits appear, including tangerine, yellow peach, and apricot, with a satisfying hint of peach cobbler dessert. There is a slightly rustic aspect to the fruit, which distinguishes this blend from a typical Grande Champagne only profile, once again leading me to believe there is a healthy dose of Fins Bois in the blend. The alcohol level integrates seamlessly, making for a Cognac that is both accessible but fresh and with good drive. Only as the Cognac is just about swallowed, heading into the finish, does a finely tannic sensation appear – and it is a welcomed sensation. 


The finish is medium in length, with a good freshness and a fine tannic feel. There is even a slight walnut bitter note that lingers on the finish. These slightly more challenging notes add complexity, giving the Cognac more layers than just an abundance of fruit, adding to its overall depth and character.

Comments & Conclusion

This textbook modern XO Cognac is soft and pure, placing emphasis on the fruit without being overwhelmed by heavy wood notes, spices, boisé, or anything of that sort. Most importantly, it possesses an enormous drinkability while still possessing notes, flavors, textures, and sensations to maintain the attention of more discerning tasters. 

Prunier XO: Reimagining a Classic | Cognac Expert Blog

It’s an XO category killer as it does everything that I think an outstanding XO Cognac should do: 

  • Showcase both the fruit and the mature Cognac nuances (rancio)
  • Possess a high level of drinkability – each sip should invite another
  • Encourage regular tasting and sharing
  • Capture the attention of beginning and experienced Cognac lovers (not always so easy to do)
Prunier XO: Reimagining a Classic | Cognac Expert Blog

This Cognac also gives a good indication that the new blends, the new bottle, the new design, and the overall Burnez sisters’ touch delivers on its promise. 

Well done. I will indeed look forward to tasting the rest of the range – younger and older. Cheers.

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Taylor joined the Cognac Expert team at the start of 2021. Based in France, he manages Originals and B2B projects and contributes to the blog and the podcast. While Cognac is the spirit he holds dearest, Taylor has a keen interest in exploring different spirits from all over the world.

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