For many, the XO classification epitomises Cognac’s place at the high table of luxury – a notion reinforced by the fact that eaux-de-vie now have to be matured for at least 10 years in order to earn the designation. But not all XOs are made equal, and there is a broad gamut of styles depending on provenance, distillation and, especially, maturation. These are sipping Cognacs, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find a place in some decadent high-end cocktails too.
The family firm of Delamain is a quality-focused négociant for whom XO Cognacs are the entry level, most famously with the Pale & Dry expression that celebrated its centenary in 2020. But Vesper deserves to be much better-known: 100% Grande Champagne, it takes Delamain’s trademark perfumed elegance and turns it up to 11, offering a more muscly, intense tasting experience.
Serving Suggestions: One for long contemplation in a good tulip glass, rather than one of those hideous balloon glasses.
After roughly 35 years in cask and two more ‘marrying’ the blend, this is densely packed with rich, ripe fruit, but the secondary flavours are even more impressive: woodland floor, cigar humidor and powerful rancio notes. There’s great structure here, but worn lightly, with as much delicacy and elegance as there is intensity.