17 Best Cognacs For The Money in 2023

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Cognac is basically brandy produced in the Cognac region in France. It is typically regarded as a somewhat rare and very elegant drink.

This characterization of Cognac even goes so far that even a person who drinks Cognac is regarded as a refined person of impeccable taste. Even if you don’t know anything about that person, your opinion of them goes instantly up. 

It isn’t an accident that Cognac is one of those drinks that gives you style and refinement, as it is really a drink that not everyone can enjoy and truly appreciate, not to mention that the good bottles can be pretty steep, price-wise. 

The reason why Cognac is so highly regarded is because it doesn’t just happen. There are a lot of procedures involved in making it. Moreover, a lot of the eau de vie evaporates into the so-called “angel’s cut,” so the makers don’t even get to use a lot from what they made. 

Also, the making of Cognac doesn’t begin in the distillery or the barrel but much earlier. The grapes need to be just right for the Cognac to be good. That means that the soil needs to be perfect, too, as good grapes require very particular conditions. 

Brandy is actually reversed wine. This means that the primary drink is a wine which is then distilled to get the brandy.

Initially, this process was used for shipping wine safely over long distances, but it was discovered that brandy is a drink in its own right worthy of a place of its own in the spirit world. 

Also check: 23 Best Bourbons for the Money

Today, brandy is the Chanel of the alcoholic beverages, well-tempered, edgy, perfectly balanced, explorative, and challenging. 

Although there are some affordable cognac brands, you won’t find a bottle under $10. Cheap cognacs are cheap for a reason, and though some alcohol can be good and cheap, that is not quite the case with Cognac. 

Nevertheless, Cognac wouldn’t have become as popular as it is if it was unattainable, so it is logical to assume that there are good bottles intended for a larger consumer body.

More: 20 Best High End Bourbons

Of course, there are the brands that make and sell Cognac for an elite audience, but there are also those that want to acquaint the world with this delightful drink and sell it to the regular commoners giving them a taste of true sophistication. 

Top 17 Cognac For The Money

In this article, I will give you a list of 17 cognacs that provide excellent value for the price and offer quality and flavor, as well as smoothness and refinement. 

1. Courvoisier Napoleon 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Courvoisier is one of the big four cognac houses, so naturally, it has earned a place on this list. The Napoleon line of the Courvoisier cognacs is very delicate and well-balanced, yet intensely flavorful and very aromatic. 

I don’t encourage smoking, but a box of cigars is all you need to up your Courvoisier Napoleon experience.

Combining notes of hazelnut, licorice, and plum on the nose, wrapping them in cigar dimensions and burnt tones, it seduces the palate continuing the fruity flavors enhanced even further with wine grapes notes. 

The finish is creamy and velvety, giving you a sensation of leatheriness, woodiness, and, again, slightly fruity notes. It doesn’t go down quietly but with a bang, leaving you with the warmest of burns and a long-lasting aftertaste.   

Also check: Cognac Vs Bourbon: What’s The Difference?

2. Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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In a word, this Cognac is vintage. Following the cognac trend that was raging in the 19th century, this Cognac is a time capsule, encompassing the essence of the century. Very aromatic, maybe even more so than most on this list; it is traditional, classical, and assertive. 

It starts, culminates, and finishes by the book, with initial vanilla and burnt wood notes, only to climax with grape tones, whereby it lands smoothly with a spicy finish and a burn that is slightly on the rougher side. 

3. Naud Cognac XO

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This Cognac is the perfect blend between burnt woody aromas and fruity grape notes. It mixes tones of grapes, raisins, and dried fruit, with an expressively woody palate and an almost creamy finish. 

The aftertaste lingers on, releasing more burnt wood notes mixed with grapes and a hint of toasted nuts. This Cognac is said to be excellent to pair with desserts, as well as roast meat. Due to its expressive fruity tones, salads aren’t its milieu, but it mixes well with fruit salads.  

Moreover, the kick is absolutely delightful, soft, and gradual. 

4. Remy Martin 1738

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Another representative of the big four in the cognac-producing department, the Remi Martin house, makes exquisite cognacs that are famous for their flavor and fragrance.

The 1738 bottle is complex, to say the least, mixing notes of dried fruits, spices, especially cinnamon and nutmeg, and dark chocolate tones. 

It has an expressively pungent aroma, combining notes of vanilla, fruit, and wood. The finish is creamy and bold, smooth as they come, with the warmest burn ever. Its deep amber color makes it inviting at first glance, so expect it to become the new love of your life. 

5. Courvoisier XO

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A well-aged cognac for those who can appreciate bold and rich flavors. It is a little harsher and stronger than most on this list, but it nevertheless has its faithful audience. Even though it is a little stronger, it isn’t aggressive, and it doesn’t bite like other strong drinks do. 

It has the recognizable Courvoisier elegance and smoothness, with rich, fruity notes enveloped in assertiveness and gentle roughness. The middle is flavorful but edgy, while the finish is a bit biting but smooth, nevertheless leaving a lingering aftertaste. 

6. D’Usse XO

 

 
 
 
 
 
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D’Usse is a relatively new cognac brand on the market, founded in 2012, which has managed to skyrocket its way to the top in ten short years. It is known as the brand that revolutionized the cognac-making industry, bold and innovative, keeping the vintage essence of the spirit itself. 

The D’Usse XO has a certain darkness about it and a very particular substance. More precisely, it is new and unknown, seductive and alluring.

It is complex tasting like grapes, dried fruit, toasted nuts, chocolate, and spices. Everything is perfectly balanced, so you feel each tasting note at all times, but in a way that none of them dominates. 

7. Hine Rare VSOP

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Warm and gentle overall, with spicy notes, of which the cinnamon note is the most expressive one. It is very fragrant as well, with intense floral notes. Mid-palate it tastes like fresh fruits as well as cinnamon and oak. 

The finish is warm, flavorful, spicy, and very smooth. Overall, this is a very gentle cognac, and it is excellent for beginners. 

8. Daniel Bouju Emperor 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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With its rich and deep amber color, this Cognac seduces the eyes before it enchants the palate. It greets the notes with notes of vanilla and cinnamon, which transfer onto the body and stars slowly on the palate, gradually unveiling layers of flavor. 

First aged in new oak barrels and later transferred to old oak barrels, its body is rich, refined, and velvety. The mid-palate it is fruity and spicy, with tones of prunes and nutmeg, whereby the cinnamon and vanilla tones are consistent from the very beginning to the very end of the sip.

9. Hennessey Privilege VSOP Grande Champagne 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Fragrant and flavorful, the Hennessey Privilege VSOP Grande Champagne belongs to one of the four big boys in the cognac department- Hennessey. Hennessey is a centuries-old cognac house that managed to keep the status of a family business to this day. 

As such, they take a different kind of pride in making their products. A bad product is a bad reflection on the family, so they take cognac-making more personally than other brands. 

This particular expression is, as I said, very fragrant but also expressively floral, noticeably fruity, and explicitly smooth and creamy. With its rich amber color, it gives out its elegance even before you’ve tried it. 

It starts softly with gentle vanilla tones and floral aromas, continuing with rich, fruity notes, mostly grapes and dried fruit, ending with a smooth, spicy finish, a warm burn, and a delightful aftertaste.

10. Camus Very Special 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Camus cognac brand is another family business project that has been going strong for about a century and a half. As such, it has retained the old world’s cognac features adding new ones enhancing and adapting the products, and evolving alongside the trends. 

It has nevertheless retained the essence of the Camus cognac, which is the full body, rich flavor, and smooth finish, which is what you get with the Very Special variety too. 

It starts with dried fruit and vanilla notes, unraveling further with rich almond tones, finishing smoothly with a spicy tone and creamy consistency. 

11. H By Hine

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This one is a vibrant and highly flavorful, and fragrant drink. Combining notes of vanilla, caramel, oak, sweet fruits, and ginger, it is original and innovative yet traditional and classical. The beginning is gentle and soft, with nothing more than vanilla and caramel notes. 

Mid-palate, it gets more flavorful, exhibiting tones of sweet fruits, ginger, and oak. The ginger part gives it a very unique, refreshing note that not many cognacs have, and it acts as a buffer zone between the middle and the finish. 

The ginger note continues to the finish as well, giving it a very specific zing, accentuating its flavor, and smoothening it further. 

12. Merlet Brothers Blend Cognac 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Defying tradition and convention, this contemporary, modern, and sophisticated Cognac introduce new flavors and aromas, revolutionizing the spirit and giving its name a new meaning. It still fits the cognac category very well, but it does things in its own way. 

Combining notes of wine grapes with expressive zesty, citrus notes, whereby the orange peel tones are most noticeable, this 12-year-old Cognac is not only very delicious but also very easy to drink. 

Smooth and creamy, it fills your mouth with tropical sensations mixed with the old refinement only Cognac can provide. It finishes on the smooth note, with a zesty final point, leaving you with a fresh citrus flavor and a smooth burn. 

13. ABK Single Estate VSOP 

Rich, flavorful, fragrant, and creamy, this is a complex cognac combining more than a few tasting notes. It successfully balances notes of cinnamon, toffee, apple pie, and mustard seeds with spicy flavors, fresh fruit, and a smooth oak-flavored finish. 

It starts with fresh fruit flavors to get you all warmed up while it sheds layer after layer, preparing you for the grand finale. It then goes on exhibiting flavors of toffee, apple pie, and mustard before it wraps things up with the oak-flavored and cinnamon-tasting finish. 

14. Ferrand Reserve Double Cask 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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With intense fruity and floral notes starting from the nose and ending with the delicious lingering aftertaste, this is one of the most flavorful and colorful cognacs on the market.

Exhibiting tones of vanilla, grapes, pear, and plum, enveloped in the delicate but noticeable woody dimension, this is definitely a genuinely exquisite cognac. 

It starts alluring the nose with vanilla notes, only to pull you inside, bombarding you with fruity sweetness and floral aromas, whereby mid-palate, it goes wild with flavors of pear, plum, and wine grapes. 

The finish is subtle and smooth, leaving you with a lingering aftertaste and utter yearning for the next sip.  

15. Cognac Frapin- Chateu Fontpinot 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Complex and rich, with expressive notes of wine grapes, nuts, wood, and dried fruit, and subtle tones of spices, it is a very seductive drink, enchanting you all the way from the nose to the eyes, to the palate, and, ultimately, the throat. 

It is an incredibly smooth drink with a creamy, almost buttery, consistency. Starting with grape notes mixed with subtle vanilla and going further with nutty flavors and dried fruit tones, it finishes smoothly and gently with a woody dimension.

16. Martell XO

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Martell is one of the big four cognac houses, and as such, it makes sure that none of their products are below the impossibly high standards they have set for its cognacs. The XO variety means that the Cognac is extra old, meaning that it ages the longest. 

During the aging process, the XO variety of the Martell cognacs acquires the wisdom from the oak barrels it ages in, getting a deep and complex flavor. It tastes like wood, dried fruit, and grapes, as well as a touch of vanilla and spices enveloped in chocolate notes. 

It ends with an outstandingly smooth finish and lingering aftertaste. 

17. Bache-Gabrielsen Tre Kors 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This is a genuinely unique Cognac mixing flavors of caramel, vanilla, nuts, wine grapes, and oak. It has a deep and rich amber color, so velvety you can almost taste it just by looking at it. It ages for a minimum of two years in oak barrels, softening up and growing into its power. 

Its finish is very smooth and refined, increasing the overall elegance of the drink and making it irresistibly attractive and astoundingly delicious. 

What Is The Best Cognac Money Can Buy?

This isn’t a one-answer question, as which is the best Cognac depends on your taste and preferences. However, there are objectively good cognacs, which, luckily, are more than a few. Therefore, which is the best one would depend solely on what you like. 

Needless to say, either of the big four can do an excellent job, i.e., Hennessey, Martell, Courvoisier, or Remy Martin. D’usse is also an excellent choice and a rising star.

Whichever you decide to get, make sure it fits your taste; otherwise, you could get the wrong impression about Cognac in general, which would be a shame as it is a genuinely exquisite drink. 

Which Cognac Is The Smoothest?

Cognac is, by definition, smooth, so whichever you have, it will be smooth. The smoothest cognacs, however, come from the “big four” cognac houses, i.e., Courvoisier, Martell, Remy Martin, and Hennessey. 

Which Brand Of Cognac Is Best?

As a complex and highly elegant drink, Cognac is regarded as a spirit requiring extraordinary meticulousness during its making. Therefore, no matter the brand, for a cognac to be Cognac, it has to be produced in this way. 

So, all cognac brands are good and produce a good quality drink. However, in a world filled with refinement, splitting hairs is what it takes to separate the good from the best.

The “big four” cognac houses are known as brands making the best cognacs. So, whether you buy Martell, Remy Martin, Courvoisier, or Hennessey, it will be the right decision.  

Is XO Or VSOP Better?

Although it all boils down to personal preference, the XO variety is regarded as slightly better than the VSOP. The VSOP variety needs to age for at least four years, while the XO ages for a minimum of ten years. 

Chad Smith

Hello and Welcome, I am Chad, a formal bartender. I created this blog to help readers make exotic cocktails at home.

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