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4 Cognacs: Jean-Luc Pasquet / Famille Cabanne Lot 50 / Mauxion Lot 45

Cognac has permeated the world of whisky drinkers. It’s been a viable malternative for some time now, not just because it’s generally more affordable. Cognac is awesome. And we’re seeing more and more of it. Today I review four different cognacs from Jean-Luc Pasquet, Famille Cabanne and Mauxion.

To be honest, I don’t go out of my way to source samples of cognac. I don’t often buy bottles of cognac either. Compared to my know-how of whisky, my experience with cognac is relatively limited. These reviews should be viewed through the lens of someone who’s a whisky drinker first and a genever enthusiast second. All other spirits take a backseat, no matter how delicious they can be. There’s only so much my liver can take.

But these days, many independent whisky bottlers venture out into other territories. That means some of them sent me samples not just of whisky, but other spirits too. Such as cognac. As you’ll notice, of the four cognacs I’m writing about today, most were bottled by (or bottled for) companies that primarily bottle whisky. There’s Berry Bros & Rudd, Decadent Drinks, The Roots and Wu Dram Clan.

I’ve previously appreciated releases from all of these bottlers. Like me, their palate was built through their initial love for whisky. I trust their picks and am happy to write about any of their releases. Hopefully, you’re happy to read about cognac as well.

jean luc pasquet 2017 cognac petit champagne pioneers berry bros rudd

Jean-Luc Pasquet 2017 (40%, Berry Bros & Rudd ‘The Pioneers’, Petite Champagne, C#72)

Nose: There’s a faint minerality accompanied by notes of almonds, quinces, roasted peaches and dried apricots. And mango too. A tart zestiness adds balance. Finally something slightly buttery.
Taste: Great texture, even at 40 percent. An initial hint of ginger, orange blossom and melted butter, as well as some honey, waxes and mint. All the while the fruitiness remains. There’s lychee, more mango, damson plums.
Finish: Medium length. Dark caramel, herbs and sweet apples.

Much to like here. A rich yet accessible spirit with depth and complexity beyond what you might expect. Great to find a cognac included in Berry Bros & Rudd’s ‘The Pioneers’, a range otherwise dominated by different styles of whisky.

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Jean-Luc Pasquet Folle Blanche (49.6%, Cognac Sponge, Grande Champagne, Héritage N.10 & N.11)

Nose: Wild carnations and orange blossom as well as slivers of acacia honey, prunes and candied fruit. There’s some caraway too, and something slightly herbacious overall. Deliciously sweet, floral and fruity without too much complexity.
Taste: An initial hit of orange zest and other fruits, such as passion fruit and fresh plums, but with notes of dark caramel and a pinch of pepper, as well as menthol and anise.
Finish: Medium length with youthful spices, zesty fruits and a subtle herbaciousness.

Sweet, very honeyed at times, but still youthful and lively as well. Highly enjoyable and while maybe not the most complex, there’s this sort of unexpected depth of flavour.

famille cabanne lot 50 the roots cognac petite champagne

Famille Cabanne Lot 50 (44.2%, The Roots, Petite Champagne, 100 bts)

Nose: Very sophisticated and elevated with hints of nectarines, pomelo and gorse, as well an herbal veneer highlighted by eucalyptus and aniseed. There’s a sliver of liquorice root too, followed by honeysuckle and buttercups. Finally some shoe polish.
Taste: There’s a sliver of coffee and leather alongside tobacco, but also fresh figs, passion fruit and raisins, as well as a quick hit of mango-flavoured gelato. Finally whiffs of elderflower liqueur, quinine and pastis.
Finish: Medium to long. More mint-y notes and a touch of jammy apricots and mead. Finally a tinge of char smoke.

Deliciously well-rounded and mature, there’s a good balance here between autumnal flavours and summer-y fruits. The herbal layer adds complexity that might not be needed at that point, but are certainly very welcome.

mauxion collection cognac petit champagne lot 45 wu dram clan

Mauxion Selection Lot 45 (60%, Wu Dram Clan Paradis Series #3, Petite Champagne)

Nose: Needs some time to open up, which I attribute to the remarkable strength. Hints of tangerines, yellow cake and orange zest alongside some freshly cut apples. A minty freshness too, as well as damp leaves and sultanas. Finally a tinge of mushrooms and blackcurrant jam.
Taste: Very punchy, but not aggressive. A good amount of pink grapefruit, passion fruit, mango and dried apricots. There are also slivers of mocha, dark chocolate and even some beeswax and figs. Water brings out a sweeter, more honeyed flavour, but also highlights elements of breakfast tea and black pepper.
Finish: Very long. More herbal now with aniseed at centre stage, but also more sultanas and apricots.

Dark but fruity. Somewhat spicy but sweet. While slightly daunting at first, the high strength is this cognac's biggest strength. Initially slightly more closed and unyielding, time and water open up this cognac much better than I'd initially thought.

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