Drouet is a Cognac producer that traces its history back to 1848. Revitalized by the present, 4th generation, they use sustainable agriculture practices across their 40 hectares of vines located in both the Grande Champagne (70%) and Petite Champagne (30%) crus to create an impressively broad portfolio of traditional expressions and unique “craft” Cognacs. We received samples of both the VSOP and XO offering, as well as two “craft” bottlings for review. Let’s dig in!
Drouet Cognac VSOP – This classic expression is produced from Grande Champagne eau-de-vie aged at least four years, although Drouet notes that it has been aged longer than the required minimum. And that’s quite clear. The aroma is well-built and mature with dusky wood notes, delicate spice, and sugary fruits in equal measure. The palate is light but well-spiced with dark vanilla bean, brown sugar, and juicy sultana. The sweetness and spice are nicely balanced heading into a soft finish that showcases subtle baking spice and a lingering dark cherry sweetness. 80.6 proof. A- / $50
Drouet Cognac XO Ulysee – Named for the present estate director’s great-grandfather, this Cognac is produced exclusively from Grande Champagne eaux-de-vie and aged in a mix of new and second-fill barrels for an average of 20 years. The aroma is elegant with gently oxidized notes of roasted nuts, orange oil, and vanilla cream. Stewed stone fruit arrives as things open and only grows more buttery and sultry with time. The palate is mildly oily and still quite lively despite its age with some wood-driven spice, bright golden fruits, and a silky, vinous sweetness. The finish is long with a bit of sweet pipe smoke and apple-filled pastry. Impressively balanced and complex. 80.6 proof. A / $165
Drouet Cognac Fine Mélina 7 Years Old – This “craft” expression, part of the Barrel Strength Collection, was distilled without lees from Grande Champagne grapes harvested in 2012 and aged exclusively in older casks. This one is lively and complex, almost Armagnac-like in its presentation. The aroma is gentle but still rich with notes of toasted coconut, chocolate shavings, and dark fruits. The palate is punchy with a warming spice and juicy sweet notes of prune and fig. Sandalwood and baking spice arrive on the mid-palate before a well-spiced finish of ginger snaps and tinned pears. 84.4 proof. A / $80
Drouet Cognac Small Batch Muscat de Rivesaltes Cask Finish 9 Years Old – Another Barrel Strength Collection offering, this Cognac was produced from Petit Champagne grapes harvested in 2011. It was traditionally aged for 6 years before a 35-month secondary maturation in Muscat de Rivesaltes casks from Domain des Schistes. The aroma is fruit-forward with pear cake, dried berries, and lychee nut. Buttery sugar cookie and soft baking spice arrive as things open in the glass. The palate is silky with marzipan, a mild woody spice, and abundant wine-driven notes of dark raisins and stone fruit which are a bit overbearing. The finish is long and warming with notes of overripe dark fruit and pecan shells. 90.6 proof. B+/ $80