By: David Othenin-Girard
K&L Staff Member
In many ways, I've come to consider Ragnaud Sabourin the gold standard in Grand Champagne Cognac production. Their tiny estate in the best part of Grand Champagne produces Ugni and Folle Blanche and eau-de-vie for some of the most expensive cognacs on the market today. Before I visited the legendary estate, I didn't really have a good understanding of what the quality difference in Grand Champagne was all about. I was also misunderstood why the elevage of great cognac included so called "additives". On the industial scale I understood that cognac needed to use additives to offer consistency across thousands of cases of young brandy, but I didn't see why a high quality estate would ever do that. Now after hearing from them what they exactly use to create their "boise" (additive), I much more accurately appreciate why the do this. The creation of this additive is not a short cut, but the very opposite. They cultivate and create an "extract of oak" from the ultra old under proof cognacs. So if the additives someone is using are actually 80+ year old cognac that are under proof and therefor not able to be bottled any longer as cognac, I'm all for it. So this blend is essentially 35 years old, but includes eau-de-vie much much older. The nose is surprisingly vibrant with a beautiful bouquet of ultra mature flavors: flambéed citrus peel, cocoa butter, stewed stone fruits - Mirabelle, nectarine etc. ON the palate, very forgiving and round, with tons of wild honey, orange blossom, smattered with clove and cinnamon spice. A truly delicious example of what the best cognac SHOULD taste like.