Rémy Martin’s dark, rich VSOP expression has the flavor profile of a more mature XO bottling, and for a fraction of the price. Those searching for the bright, fruity hallmarks of a VSOP may be disappointed, but it’s an excellent cognac in any case.
Classification VSOP cognac fine Champagne
Company Rémy Cointreau
Distillery Rémy Martin (Touzac, Cognac, France)
Cask French limousin oak
Still Type copper pot (alembic charentais)
Proof 80 (40% ABV)
Aged 4-12 years
Awards Gold, 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition; 2020 Impact Blue Chip award
The complexity and richness of this VSOP make it a capable—and much less expensive—substitute for an older XO cognac.
It tastes older than its years, making it a sophisticated sipper.
Due to its darker flavor profile, it doesn’t work in cocktails in the same way as other VSOPs.
Fans of the VSOP category may be disappointed with this less-vibrant expression.
Color: Vivid reddish copper
Nose: Quite delicate—it takes a few sniffs to absorb the aromas of vanilla, light oak, baking spices, and sweet grape.
Palate: More well-defined than the nose, with notes of raisin, smooth dark chocolate, oaky spice, ripe peaches, and caramel. Different flavors ebb and flow with each sip, creating complexity.
Finish: A dry, spicy, oaky finish with hints of saline and dark fruits. The fruitiness lingers the longest in the aftertaste.
A VSOP, or “Very Superior Old Pale,” is aged for a minimum of four years in oak, and it can be the best of both worlds for cognac fans. A good VSOP has shed the immaturity of younger VS cognacs without acquiring the austere woodiness—or the high price point—that characterize many XO expressions, which are aged for a minimum of 10 years. Rémy Martin’s VSOP is an outlier, but in a good way.
This expression, which combines Grand Champagne and Petite Champagne eaux-de vie, lacks the bright fruitiness that’s a hallmark of many VSOPs. Instead, it masquerades as an XO—and an excellent one—with a darker, more subdued palette of flavors. As such, it’s a less versatile mixer than many VSOPs (although it does make a dandy Cognac Old Fashioned). But for sipping, it’s hard to find another VSOP as rich and complex as this one—and at a fraction of the price of Rémy’s own tremendous XO.
The only real drawback to this top-notch cognac is that it’s lacking the very qualities—vibrance, brightness, lively fruit notes—that many look for in a VSOP. So while it punches above its weight as a bottle, it may disappoint those who are looking for the classic VSOP qualities. Fans of sophisticated aged cognac who are looking for a bargain should look no further.
Paul-Emile Rémy Martin produced the first “Fine Champagne” cognac in 1848. The designation has nothing to do with bubbles: Rather, it denotes a blend of eaux-de-vie from both Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne crus (regions) in France.