Courvoisier XO Imperial

Spirit Name:
Spirit Type:
Courvoisier XO imperial
Score:
 
90/100
ABV:
40% 
Region:
Body:
Medium-light 
Intensity:
Medium-light
Texture:
Medium-oily 
Balance:
Near perfect 
Best served:
Cru:
Neat 
Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies
Theme(s):
Citrus, flowers, glazed mandarin, tiramisu, vanilla, caremalised sugars, ginger bread, Italian amaretti biscuits, sticky date pudding, caramel, dried figs, cream, Chinotto, candy coated almonds, cocoa dusted orange, mint, jasmine, violets 
Summary:
The Courvoisier XO Imperial ignites with the temper of Napoleon, but as it rests that fury softens to subtle nuances of character led by citrus fruit and creamy caremalised dessert. The fruit counteracts the dryness to create near perfect balance that glistens with interesting notes of Italian tastes and aromas – fitting for “Napoleon’s cognac”, because he was born in Corsica shortly after the Kingdom of Genoa gave the island to France to settle a debt.
 
Tasting notes:
Courvoisier XO Imperial, in my opinion, is one of the best value cognacs on the market – subtle nuances of character dance on the tongue with the distinct bouquet and taste of 20+ year old eaux-de-vie, and all this for about half the price of other “XO” offerings of the major Cognac houses of France. Courvoisier is proud to call itself the “cognac of Napoleon”, because it claims that the Emperor once visited Courvoisier.
Courvosier appreciates that much of what we taste is influenced by the sense of smell, and it develops cognac with a focus on its bouquet. The bouquet in the Courvoisier XO Imperial is spectacular and its complexity moves to the palate as the bouquet allows some very diverse flavors to shine on the palate. 
Nose: Sharp nuances of citrus fruit glisten with caremalised sugars as notes of vanilla soften the aroma of jasmine and the spritz of fresh mandarin peel. The wood, toasted and bursting with sugars, accompanies rancio and subtle shades of red wine. The floral notes are complex, and as the Cognac rests herbaceous notes of mint are softened by sweet violets and raspberry jam – so beautiful. The nose is initially vibrant and piercing  but then flattens to a calming chorus of character. This rekindles memories of home made tiramisu with mint rather than creme brulee because it does not have a heavy egg note – instead, there is cream, coffee, brandy soaked biscuits, sugar and a nice dose of temper for which Napolean – whether it is accurate or note – is famous. A childhood memory also develops – Amaretti biscuits and candy coated almonds. This is such a complex nose, morphing and developing in the glass.  
 
Taste: So light and gentle, the character radiates on the palate with a sense of charm – the sugars are first noticeable on the palate with glazed citrus fruit and cocoa dusted orange segments. This is so gentle and soft, a far cry from the reputation of brandy as “steaming” and a reflection that this is old eaux-de-vie.
That biscuit and caramelised sugar on the nose develops into ginger bread on the palate with a surprising note of Spanish black olives in brine. The vanilla shines with lovely gooey caramel over sticky date pudding and dried figs, but the sweetness is balanced by a dryness – this is superb. This is a cognac that deserves close attention, and an entire night of uninterrupted unpacking.
 
Finish: The bitterness and sweetness intermingle, as the palate is kept from drying from the plump fruit that wets the palate – there is a finish of citrus with soda. Have you tried Chinotto? It is a carbonated soft drink made from the fruit of the myrtle leaved orange tree and has a citrus bitterness interlaced with sweet sugars and soda. The finish is similar, as notes of cocoa sparkle in the fruity backdrop that is counterbalanced by an oak driven dryness.
Likes:
Complex, hugely enjoyable, very smooth and superb value
Price:
$100 (Aus, US)
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