Cognac is a sophisticated beverage and it reveals himself gradually. One should perceive it taste and flavor delicately. So we believe that cognac tasting is an art with its own methods and rules tested by ages.
There two traditional glasses for cognac tasting: a tulip and a snifter.
A snifter also known as a brandy snifter is a spherical glass, 420 – 830 ml.
It is fit more for young cognacs because it minimizes its aggressivity by means of the shape.
A tulip or a cognac powny is a standing glass, about 180 ml. It concentrates aroma better and reveals it delicately and sequentially due to its globe shape and cockled edge. It is recommended for matured cognacs.
Experts choose rather tulips from flint microglass considering them to be more precise indicator of cognac richness.
Traditionally cognac is served at room temperature. You may slightly warm the glass in your hands or backward put some ice in or add some cold water at will. You’d better not heat it with a candle or a spirit lamp because it would begin to die quickly and cognac would have more alcoholic content.
Stages of tasting
Eye. Visual examination
- Raise the glass to eye level, if possible against light, to examine its color and appearance.
- Then hold it at the angle of 45 degrees, swirl it slowly and gently to moisten it inside and upright. Tilting the glass makes the Cognac ‘cry’, its tears running slowly down the side of the glass. Shape and speed of the tears express quality and aging of a cognac.
- The older a cognac is, the oilier it is and therefore the more slowly and thicker it ‘cries’. But it should be remembered that thickness of tears is not ideal quality parameter of a cognac.
Nose. Smell test
- At the first inhale you may indentify the brightest the most volatile notes of a cognac. Hold the glass a short distance from your nose to feel the first wave of aroma and not to burn sensors.
- Swirl the glass very gently to aerate the cognac and feel the second wave of denser aroma.
Palate. Taste and finish
- Take the first sip and spread it in the mouth then taste it to the palate (it may be sour, sweet or bitter) and to the feel (it may be full or warm). Less volatile notes are recognized while cognac ‘chewing’.
- Just after swallowing or some time later aftertaste, brightness, length may vary, reveal gradually or be dense from the very beginning.
Never eat lemon after tasting to take a real delight in drinking the cognac because fruit’s acid destroys aftertaste and extinguishes the aroma in less than no time.
The third wave of aroma
Experts suppose aromas appearing while palate analyzing and eau-de-vie aftertaste to be of a ‘nose’ category.
The third wave of aroma in an empty cognac glass may be tasted for 2 weeks.