Remy Martin XO Cognac
I thought I would take the opportunity today to offer you something really extraordinary. It is a bit outside most of your enjoyment preferences, as I know there are not many cognac drinkers in our array of customers. However, as this 2022 Spirited Holiday Countdown Calendar is all about the journey… this is indeed part of that journey.
Rémy Martin is named after the winegrower who started selling cognac under his own name in 1724. The brand as we know it today, one of the best-known and most popular cognacs in the world, evolved throughout the 20th century. The first VSOP expression was launched in 1927. In 1948, the decision was made to use grapes exclusively from the Petite Champagne and Grand Champagne crus, resulting in higher-quality eaux-de-vie. And while it seems that Rémy’s iconic XO expression has been around forever, it was launched only relatively recently, in 1981.
Lesser XO cognacs (XOs, by law, must contain no eaux-de-vie younger than 10 years old) can taste like they’ve spent a little too long in the barrel, with an astringent woodiness overwhelming the other flavors. Not so here: This is a cognac that doesn’t let you forget that it’s distilled from fruit, namely a blend of 85% Grande Champagne and 15% Petite Champagne grapes, which gives it the Fine Champagne designation. Though the eaux-de-vie are aged for at least a decade, and some doubtlessly much longer, the blend tastes quite young and lively. The richness and full body, however, are reminders that it’s an XO.
The fruitiness is amplified by a buttery, sumptuous mouthfeel that coats the tongue like velvet. It’s somewhat similar to Rémy’s 1738 Accord Royal expression, which contains eaux-de-vie ranging from 4 to 20 years, but the XO is richer and more complex. If the 1738 is a college-level course in making fine cognac, the XO is a master class.
This cognac would surely make a terrific cocktail, but it’s such a perfect sipper that it seems a crime to mix it with anything except a glass and your mouth. Rémy’s stature as one of the biggest houses in Cognac may put off some who like to seek out lesser-known brands, but this is a cognac that anyone who appreciates the category will enjoy.
- Name: Remy Martin XO Cognac
- Country of Origin/Locale: Touzac, Cognac, France
- Proof: 80.0
- Glass: Glencairn or Snifter
- Temperature: Room
- Cocktail Options: None
- Available: JJ’s Bar, yes. Retail, yes.
- Price: List Price – $299.99 JJ’s VIP Price – $239.99
Tom’s Tasting Notes: Shortly after Jean and I got married JJ’s (1.0) opened in 1998. The very next year, a good friend and customer was kind enough to present this bottle to us as a gift for Christmas that year. I took the bottle home and placed it in a special spot in my, at that time, small little bar/liquor storage area. It sat there until the Summer of 2004 when we took a family vacation to Lake Superior in Duluth, MN. The first night we were there, staying in house-keeping cabins at Bob’s Cabins, I cracked this bottle open to share a dram with my Father in Law, Bill Van Tassel. It tasted like a dream. The aromas were fruit forward with sweet peach, melon and baking spices. On the palate, it is slightly sweet, but not cloying, fruit forward again showing dates, ripe grapes, and buttered pastries. I still have a little bit of this bottle left over twenty years later. The last time I tasted it was right after Jean’s dad passed away a couple years ago. I had a little dram as a toast to a life well lived, and it brought back all of the warm feelings of that trip and the years we all spent together. Cheers!