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Cognac: How to taste?

We have all seen aficionados with their noses in glasses; their arms extended admiring the drink; however it was never clear what they were doing exactly. Can’t they just drink the cognac to see if it tastes good? Well, clearly there is more to cognac tasting. To successfully taste Cognac, you should keep the following steps in mind.

  • First thing first, a good tasting glass. It is important that the glass be tulip shaped and medium size.
  • Once you have the perfect glass, you will need just a small amount of Cognac, a mere 15ml will do.
  • No don’t drink it yet!! First you need to cup the bowl part of the glass with your hand in order to warm the cognac. Five to seven minutes will be enough. By warming it, the aromas are released for the smelling of the cognac. Don’t use any type of fire or heating that is not palm warming.
  • Now comes the “Eye”: Extend your arm and hold the cognac to a light to see the clarity or any sediment in the liquid. A good cognac should be clear through and through with no sediments.
  • Gently swirl the cognac against the sides of the glass. If there are “tears” or “legs” at the side of the glass, this means that it aged properly.
  • Secondly the “Nose”: This part depends on your own smelling ability; just try a few distances till you discover the scents of vanilla, nuts, flowers and caramel. Sticking your nose all the way into the glass is not necessary and the high alcohol presence will probably ruin your nose.
  • And lastly, the “Palate”: This is when you finally taste the cognac. You are not doing shots, so take small sips and let it coat your mouth and tongue. Let the cognac come in contact with the different taste sensors on your tongue. At the tip for sweetness, at the back for bitterness and at the sides for saltiness and sourness. The different flavors that you can detect are:

Fruity flavors indicate that the cognac is young. The fruits that you can recognize
are raisins, apricots, oranges, lemons, apples and peaches.

The middle aged cognacs usually have certain hints of flowers, either in the nose or the palate. Types of flowers that you can detect are roses, clover and/or honey. Small selections of Cognacs have notes of lavender.

Older cognacs, more precisely older then twenty years, have flavors of spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, coffee and ginger.

The tasting of cognac is not something that you can master after only one try. However, keep in mind that cognac has a high alcohol level, so know your limit. Head over to Licores Maduro The Store and get the best brands of Cognac. Remember practice makes perfect!!