The Grande Champagne region of France is well-known for producing the best Champagnes and Cognacs in the world. What is surprising then, is that one of the smallest distilleries in the region has been continually operating for over 400 years by the same family. Guillon-Painturaud is located on the same extremely small 18 hectare estate (less than half an acre) from when it was purchased in 1610. Today, the company is overseen by Line Guillon-Painturaud, one of the few female master distillers in Cognac.
Using classic Ugni Blanc grapes, Line does a double distillation in a copper pot still, then ages the eau-de-vie in Limousin and Troncais oak casks. The VSOP is aged for an average of 15 years, while the Hors D’Age rests for an average of 30 years.
Guillon-Painturaud VSOP (80 proof)
Visual: Sunny golden-yellow.
Nose: Green apple, milk caramel creme, pineapple, mango and kiwifruit. There’s also a distinct scent of cheese danish.
Taste: Immensely smooth with a wood-tannin forward flavor. It mellows out into caramel and baked apple quickly.
Finish: Fairly long with a slight bitter edge that creeps in towards the end.
Overall: Hearty, rustic and perfect for mixing into a cocktail like a French 75 or a Sidecar when you want to showcase the base spirit.
GSN Rating: B+
Guillon-Painturaud Hors D’Age (80 proof)
Visual: Hot golden-yellow.
Nose: A ton of vanilla on the nose with some almond notes.
Taste: Rich, thick mouthfeel with a lot of compact and vibrant character. Quite tasty and chewy. It almost seems as if it’s been cooked for a few minutes to make a reduction. The intensity of the spirit is wide and open with a hearty amount of vanilla and caramel.
Finish: Medium long with a lingering sweetness and satisfying touch of glazed nuts.
Overall: Quite different from the VSOP, the Hors D’Age is definitely a winner. Perfect for enjoying neat or with a small lemon twist.
GSN Rating: A
For more information go to: Cognac Guillon-Painturaud