Spirits & Liqueurs Cognac & Other Brandy

10 New Cognacs to Try Right Now

These special bottles are worth the splurge.

Cognac bottles

Liquor.com / Laura Sant

The pandemic era has been a challenging one for the cognac industry, not least because France’s best-known grape brandy has long been positioned as a luxe liquid enjoyed at celebratory moments, and high-end restaurant dinners, nightlife activities, and festive get-togethers were on hold throughout 2020 and early 2021, crimping opportunities to break out the cognac. Meanwhile, the U.S. imposed a 25% tariff on cognac and other European brandies during the first quarter of 2021. (The tariff was implemented in January 2021, and lifted in March.)

While cognac producers encouraged consumers to enjoy cognac at home as an “affordable luxury,” the newest bottlings brought to the U.S. market don’t really reflect that narrative. Many producers opted to put new launches aimed at a mainstream audience on the back burner, pushing roll-outs to 2022. 

Instead, much of what has debuted recently have been small-batch offerings and extremely limited editions, often priced at the higher end of the spectrum. For flush collectors and connoisseurs, there are plenty of special bottles to scoop up, such as Camus’s first bottling out of the long-fallow Perigord region or Hine’s Antique XO anniversary edition containing a measure of 100-year-old eau-de-vie. 

In general, what’s conspicuously missing is the VS and VSOP range, which represent younger and usually reasonably priced expressions. Many of those are intended for mixing into cocktails. With bars, restaurants, and nightlife venues in various re-opening phases in the second half of 2021, perhaps that will be the cue for cognac producers to bring more new bottles in that range to fill out back bars and liquor store shelves. 

Until then, these are 10 cognac bottles new to the market and available now.

  • Camus Return to Saint-Aulaye ($135)

    Camus Return to Saint-Aulaye

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    Billed as the first cognac to come out of the very last vineyards of Dordogne, an area also known as Perigord and recognized for its gastronomic heritage but less-known as being part of the Cognac appellation. The backstory here is that cognac house Camus worked closely with the local council of Saint-Aulaye, a picturesque village in the heart of the Dordogne, to identify land where vineyards had existed since the 18th century and replanted Colombard grapes there. Further, the brandy was aged in barrels made from local wood. The end result is a single-cru, single-varietal expression, released as a limited edition of 3,000 bottles in April 2021.

  • Domaines Hine Bonneuil 2010 ($140)

    Domaines Hine Bonneuil 2010

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    The fourth release in Hine’s single-vintage, single-estate Bonneuil collection, this is a limited edition of 18 casks (8,100) bottles selected by cellar master Eric Forget. As one of the few cognac houses to have its own vineyard, located in the village of Bonneuil, for which the collection is named, Hine intends these releases to showcase the harvest of the Grande Champagne growing region. Aged in oak casks for a decade, this cognac is described by its producer as having lively mandarin, tangerine, and toasted-bread aromas, with a long, lingering finish on the palate.

  • D’usse 1969 Anniversaire Limited Edition ($10,000)

    D’usse 1969 Anniversaire Limited Edition

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    Here’s one for the bitcoin billionaires: a single barrel of extremely rare Hors d’Age cognac, which can be used to mean the liquid is older than XO. Tasting notes for the liquid include fresh walnut and candied apple aromas, and flavors that include oak, leather, and a long stewed-fruit finish. Each of the 285 bottles in this extremely limited edition, launched May 2021, is numbered on the bottle topper and presented in a 12-cut crystal diamond decanter encased in a leather box with high-end accents. The brand is partly owned by rapper-entrepreneur and cognac connoisseur Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter.

  • Ferrand Cognac Légendaire ($2,800)

    Ferrand Cognac Légendaire

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    While Ferrand usually is known for relatively affordable, mixable cognacs, this is a departure from that. Instead, this is a rare bottling that represents some of Ferrand’s oldest cognacs, some dating back 100 years. The blend is given a final finish in a zebra barrel, meaning several staves are progressively removed from the original cask and replaced by new ones. This process creates a zebra-like pattern and adds subtle tannic notes. Its producer describes the final product as subtly spicy and buttery, with mandarin orange and blackberry combining with cocoa and incense notes. First released in November 2020 as a release of 500 bottles, each packaged in a Waltersperger crystal decanter, this is expected to become an annual release.

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  • Frapin Cellar Master Edition N°1 ($105)

    Frapin Cellar Master Edition N°1

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    A single cask selected by Frapin’s Cellar Master Patrice Piveteau, this blend was aged in French oak for more than 10 years and bottled on-site at the Frapin estate at 46.7% ABV to retain its robust character, with no dilution or filtration. Its producer describes the liquid as possessing “inimitable roundness,” with ripe plum and apricot aromas and flavors.

  • Monnet Cognac Sunshine Selection ($33)

    Monnet Cognac Sunshine Selection

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    Named for a 1920s “Sunshine in a glass” advertising poster created by famed illustrator Leonardo Cappiello for Monnet, this new bottling captures the bright disposition of the liquid, which channels spring flowers, summer stone fruit, and vanilla. An age range is not specified. The Monnet line had very limited U.S. distribution a few years ago, but will now be available more broadly nationwide.

  • Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection No. 4 ($90)

    Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection No. 4

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    Created by eighth-generation master blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde and released in March 2021, the fourth release in this series represents a single-batch cognac, “never to be replicated again,” its producer warns. The eaux-de-vie assembled in this limited-edition offering, all a minimum of five years old, are not used in any other Hennessy blend, marking it as a distinctive selection. The liquid is bottled at 43% ABV, slightly higher than most cognacs, “to highlight the precision of the blending,” and shows a lively mix of fresh apricot, candied orange peel and fruity spices, says its producer. 

  • HINE Antique XO 100th Anniversary ($300)

    HINE Antique XO 100th Anniversary

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    To be clear, this isn’t a bottle that celebrates the anniversary of the venerable Hine cognac house, which was founded in 1763. Rather, this is a special release as of October 2020 to mark the centennial of when Hine blended its first Antique XO bottling, in 1920. The delicate, slightly floral liquid inside is a limited-edition cuvee that includes a measure of 100-year-old eau-de-vie, vintage 1920.

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  • Jacky Navarre Cravache d’Or ($157)

    Jacky Navarre Cravache d’Or

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    Typically, it’s the oldest release from a producer that gets cognac fans excited; in this case, it’s the youngest to date released by Jacky Navarre, a fourth-generation cognac maker noted as a purist who devotes obsessive attention to detail. This is a 20-year-old blend, made with no additives, filtration, or added water; the 45% ABV is reached through natural evaporation.  

  • Jacky Navarre Souvenir Impérial ($371)

    Jacky Navarre Souvenir Impérial

    Liquor.com / Laura Sant

    Another new bottling from cognac artisan Navarre, this is his oldest release to date, a blend of casks distilled between the 1950s and 1970s, with an average age of 50 years, bottled in 2011 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Navarre distilling family, which spans four generations. Consider this a gift for someone who appreciates mid-century culture and design.