The Best 10 Cognacs According to the Ranking of F. Paul Pacult
The 2013 edition of the widely quoted (and respected) Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal World’s Top 120 Spirits ranking has come out and it includes 10 Cognacs (see the list below). Five of them, including the first three, have been in Le Cognac’s catalog since the very beginning of this site (1996).
Before I give you my personal opinion on this ranking (click here to access the entire listing http://www.spiritjournal.com/tastenote.htm), here are the Top Ten Cognacs (the number between the parentheses is the rank assigned by Pacult).
The 10 Best Cognacs for P. Pacult
1 (15.) Jean Fillioux Tres Vieux Tres Vieille Grande Champagne Cognac (France) 40%
2 (23.) Louis Royer XO Fine Champagne Cognac (France) 40%
3 (40.) Jean Fillioux Reserve Familiale Tres Vieille Grande Champagne Cognac (France) 40%
4 (43.) Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac (France) 40%
5 (49.) Hardy Noces d’Or Grande Champagne Cognac (France) 40%
6 (75.) A. Edmond Audry Exception Fine Champagne Cognac (France) 43%
7 (80.) Delamain Extra de Grande Champagne Cognac (France) 40% abv
8 (82.) Richard Hennessy Cognac (France) 40% $1,600.
9 (93.) Paul Beau Hors d’Age Grande Champagne Cognac (France) 40%
10 (96.) Pierre Ferrand Ancestrale Grande Champagne Cognac (France) 40%
(Highlighted the ones present in Le Cognac's Catalog)
A proud Pascal Fillioux at the family vineyard
As you know, I’m a fan of Fillioux and I think that getting two of its products (#1 and #3) on Pacult's listing is a true tour de force. Congratulations to them. In fact, I happen to have a bottle of #1, le Tres Vieux Tres Vieille GrandeChampagne and I’m having a glass while writing these lines. What a wonderful Cognac, indeed! As it happens, I have tasted 9 out of the ten Cognacs in the list and I think Pacult’s choice is quite sensible, even if he probably hasn’t had the opportunity of tasting some of the rarer offerings that we have at Le Cognac (I’m thinking about houses like André Petit or Couprie…).
Let me also say that I’m very curious about the Edmond Audry Exception. Now, about the ranking. It’s really thorny to compare apples, oranges and pears… Like say, I’m for personal background and taste a fan of Aquavit and Norway’s Lysholm’s (number 13 in Pacult’s ranking) is certainly good but comparing it with Fillioux Tres Vieux Tres Vieille is farfetched, is like comparing an excellent paté de champagne and a sublime foie-gras… A good paté de champagne can be and often is a gastronomic creation in its own right and, of course, I can enjoy a wonderful Kentucky Bourbon. But it’s better to keep things (and tastes) in proportion. Paté won’t ever become foie and that belongs to the nature of things. The reposado Tequilas of the Pacult’s listing are probably very good (I haven’t had a hands on experience of them) but they will always be made from some metallic tasting cactus; it certainly is a remarkable professional success for a distiller to get a drinkable spirits out of a cactus, let alone a tasty, interesting liquor, but a cactus is a cactus and grapres are grapes, period. If I dare to give an advice to Spirit Journal regarding their ranking, I’d say that it would be sensible to split it into five or six specialized sub-rankings, one for Cognac, one for Scotch, one for white liquor (grappa, eaux-de-vie, Aquavit…) etc.