What is an EXTRA Cognac? And the “Best Of” 2017
We often get asked about Extra Cognac. So let’s have a look at what an Extra Cognac is exactly. First things first: The only official age categories are VS, VSOP, and XO. All others–such as Extra–have become terms that are widely used but not ‘officially’ recognized. But within the industry there’s an unwritten rule as to what they stand for.
Find out more about qualities, denominations, and ages of Cognac in our educational articles. Further down, you’ll find our selection of the BEST EXTRA COGNACS 2017!
When you’re talking about an ‘Extra’ quality Cognac, these are the important things to know:
1. Just like an XO, an Extra Cognac must be made from components that have spent a minimum of six years aging within the oak barrel. And that’s every single eau-de-vie used in the blend–a Cognac is always graded on the youngest eaux-de-vie within the blend.
2. However, and this is the crucial part, an Extra Cognac will be made from eaux-de-vie that have been aged for well over this minimum time. In general, Cognacs that are designated to be ‘Extra’ quality have been aged for 15 years or more.
3. It’s generally regarded that a Cognac of an Extra quality is superior to that of an XO. If you’re looking for a bottle that is just that more special, an Extra Cognac is your perfect choice.
The team at Cognac-Expert has undertaken the arduous task of considering a large range of Extra Cognacs… And we’ve come up with the following list of what we consider to be 8 of the ‘must tries’ of the year. We’ve included those from both well known Cognac houses, and also from smaller producers whose names might not be so familiar to you. But rest assured, a purchase from such artisan houses often reveals a superb quality Cognac that doesn’t command a massive price tag. Sure, we love Hennessy, Courvoisier, Martell, Remy Martin, et al, but you can’t beat the excitement of discovering a previously unknown brand and realizing you’ve stumbled across a true gem. So here we go… Extra Cognacs that we love, and the reasons why they made this list.
The best Extra Cognacs to try in 2017
At 43% ABV, this is a Petite Champagne masterpiece. And it’s old–with the eaux-de-vie in this delicious Cognac all having been aged for around 30 years. The result is a complex, well-balanced blend with an extraordinarily long finish.
What we love about Lheraud Extra:
- its contrasting tones of sweet and spice
- its stunning decanter and presentation box
- its stamped certificate
- the great value for money it offers
The award winning ABK6 Extra Cognac is a Single Estate Cognac that shows true aromatic complexity. If you enjoy woody, earthy tones in your Cognac, then this is one for you. Rich, balanced, with hints of spices including cinnamon this is a Cognac that delights as much in the presentation as it does with its taste.
What we love about ABK6 Extra:
- its evolving aromas–think cedar wood, candied fruits, and local honey
- its enchanting, old gold color
- its incredible length of finish
- 2012 International Spirits Challenge–Gold, Best in Class
- 2014 IWSC–Silver, Outstanding
- 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition–Double Gold
This Grande Champagne Cognac is one for those who love their Cognac truly mellow. It really does showcase why the terroir of Grande Champagne is the most sought after, and why those chalky soils have such a miraculous influence on the fruits that grow there.
What we love about Prince Hubert de Polignac Extra:
- its wonderful taste of rancio
- its roundness and mellowness it offers
- its melodious flavors on the palate
- 2012 TFWA Cannes–Best New Drink Launched
- Spirit Master’s Series–Gold
- International Drinks Travel Retail Awards–Best Packaging/Repackaging
This is a high-end artisan Cognac that offers extraordinary value for money. This award winner from Grande Champagne will enchant with its exciting aromas, tastes, and wonderfully satisfying finish. Francois Voyer remains to be one of our favorites, a truly authentic house, which honors the tradition of Cognac-making.
What we love about Francois Voyer Extra:
- its complexity of flavors–spices, dried nuts, vanilla, candied fruits…
- its perfume of cigars (only found in truly well aged Cognacs)
- the taste explosion that takes you on an incredible sensory journey
Awards and accolades:
- 2010 Paris Concours General Agricole–Gold
- Restaurant Magazine–“For those who don’t want to follow the crowd”
- Guide Hachette–Coup de Coeur 2010
- Wine Enthusiast–90/95
- La Revue des Vin de France 2010–“The best we can expect from an ‘Extra’ in Grande Champagne
- Cognac Magazine 2010–“Elegant and complex. A champion.”
Cognac-Expert champions of the smaller houses, but of course there’s a reason the famous large houses are held in such high esteem–and it’s because they produce Cognacs such as this little joy. This blend of eaux-de-vie pays tribute to the estate of Martell, the Chateau Chanteloup. It offers a wonderful discovery of exactly why Martell are masters at what they do.
What we love about Martell Chanteloup Perspective Extra:
- its combination of fruits and nuts, from figs to peaches, almonds to walnuts
- its sensory journey: from the shimmering eye to the superb length of finish
- the decanter…OMG, the decanter…!
This Petite Champagne Cognac is of a cask strength 45% ABV, yet manages to successfully combine complex tastes and with true subtlety–a feat that’s certainly not easy to accomplish. Yet another award winning Cognac, it comes presented in a wonderfully minimalist, contemporary decanter and case.
What we love about Le Reviseur Extra Origin:
- its fresh, fragrant, floral freshness–with hints of fruits and spices
- its elegant, yet somewhat powerful finish
- its minimalist contemporary packaging
- 2010 IWSC–Gold, Best in Class
Another single estate Cognac, this is one with a fascinating back story. It was created from a ‘forgotten’ group of barrels. It seems that these were hidden so far in the back of Leyrat’s Paradise Cellar that they weren’t discovered for at least 40 years!
What we love about it:
- its way the floral nose gives way to spices such as cinnamon and quince
- its wonderful, old gold color
- its natural cask strength of 45% ABV
If you’re looking for a Cognac to truly celebrate a special occasion, then look no further than this offering from Louis Royer. A limited edition, this Grande Champagne Cognac has spent decades aging to perfection within the house’s Paradise Cellar.
Rich, intense, yet mellow, it offers sublime delight from the moment you catch sight of it, through to the exquisite taste or rancio, and of course, the wonderful lengthy and satisfying finish. Such a work of art deserves only the very best of presentation–and this certainly won’t disappoint. Presented in a multi-faceted crystal decanter–handmade–this Cognac deserves to take its place as the pride of your collection.
What we love about Louis Royer Eloge:
- its exclusivity–only 300 of these decanters have been produced
- its combination of complex, yet balanced, flavors and aromas
- the way the decanter shows off the liquor within thanks to being modeled on a multi-faceted diamond!
Find other amazing bottles in our wide selection of Extra Cognacs in our shop.