Cognac is one of those spirits that embodies history, and until the great phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th century, it was the go to spirit for many classic cocktails. Luckily for all of us, cognac has regained its prominence on the back bar and is once again utilized in new craft cocktails. One of the more interesting cognacs to be released is a 53% ABV version by the Louis Royer company located along the Charente river in Jarnac, France. Founded in 1853 (there’s that 53 again), the Louis Royer house has engaged the bartending community for the past few years by holding an annual “Show Me the Proof!” cocktail competition. Using a higher proof cognac is not as easy as it sounds, but this year there was a tie between the two first place winners. Sother Teague (from Amor y Amargo) and Pamela Wiznitzer (from The Dead Rabbit) each won an all-expense paid trip to France, along with a guest of their choice.
Louis Royer “Force 53” Cognac (106 proof)
Visual: Burnished copper.
Nose: Sweet notes of vanilla, toffee, caramel and walnut. A faint grape nose comes in the distance.
Taste: Impressive amount of expertly distilled and well-aged cognac showing notes of vanilla, vine fruit, heavy cream, cinnamon, marigold petals, nut bread, dark caramel and a touch of sea salt.
Finish: Quite long with individual notes of spice percolating through a honeyed and creamy texture.
Overall: Wonderfully balanced and easy to drink straight in spite of the high-proof. The heat is tempered by the quite sweet flavor profile which grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. Try this in a Sazerac instead of rye, and you will be enlightened.
GSN Rating: A
For more information go to: Louis Royer