How to taste a Cognac Visual Examination
With wine a visual examination will in general provide quite a lot of indications as to the type of wine, its age and even its alcoholic strength and residual sugar content.
When dealing with Cognac prudence is called for. Firstly the perfectly legal use of caramel in many spirits makes indications solely linked to color highly unreliable.
For those aged in barrels color is also tributary to a number of factors resulting from cooperage techniques and the age of the barrels. In short, a darker product is not necessarily older and care must be taken with reddish hues. Some Cognac tasters believe that the greater concentration of aromatic compounds in the older categories of Cognac allow a visual identification via the "legs" which form around the inside of the glass. We must admit to being sceptical because the high alcoholic content will automatically create viscosity as will the addition of sugar, once again perfectly legal and widely practiced.