It has been my theory that Bourbon was created to imitate the French Brandy the people of New Orleans were drinking in the early 19th century. With that in mind I realized that I had not done a Cognac tasting yet so I thought I would do so today. I have chosen the Martell Cordon Bleu because I have found it to be a very nice Cognac and it does have some similar flavors to many Bourbons. One of the differences between Cognac and Bourbon is that they can add caramel coloring to the brandy whereas that is not something a Bourbon producer can do. Not all Cognac producers add coloring and I don’t think that there is any in this brandy, but there could be. Nothing on the bottle indicated that there is additional coloring added. It has a very dark Amber color and that could all be due to barrel aging, but it could also be caramel coloring.

Martell Cordon Bleu Grand Classic Cognac

Proof: 80

Age: No Age Statement

Nose: Caramel and fruit – raisins, prunes and dates with a hint of oak in the background.

Taste: Caramel with a hint of dark chocolate with lots of fruit – grapes, raspberries and dates, with a bit of baking spices – nutmeg and coriander. Tasted with a dried cranberry brings out the fruit even more and lessens the spice while bringing out the oak. Very nice. Tasted with a pecan brings out the caramel and the dates but makes the spice a little more peppery.

Finish: fruity and dry. The fruit lingers as the oak kicks in and makes for a nice, pleasant dry finish. The cranberry makes the fruit in the finish diminish while increasing the oak wood. The pecan makes the finish dry pepper and oak with just a hint of fruit.

This is a very nice Cognac to sip on sitting at my desk and this winter night. I am also enjoying a Padron 1964 Anniversary Series cigar with the drink. The smoke brings forward the raspberry fruit in the drink and the Cognac adds a nice sweetness to the smoke that is sometimes fruity and other chocolate and caramel. Great pairing.