Courvoisier XO’s Robe
- Hue: Mahogany
- Transparency: Crisp
- Body: Oily
I’m looking at a very dark gold, almost mahogany color after pouring the first glass.
Thick oily legs keep running down the side of the snifter, indicating an abundance of character and thick viscosity. Consequently, one could already expect a certain depth and weight on the palate.
Courvoisier XO’s Nose
- Notes: Dried prunes, toasted almond, violet
- Nosefeel: Warming, rich
Rich, elegant, and floral is the first impression that tingles my nose. I sense hints of iris and violet, which usually can be attributed to the Borderies cru – the smallest of the six crus in the Cognac region. However Grande and Petite Champagne also have a floral elegance to them, particularly after a long period of aging.
The aromas are further enhanced by sensations of dried fruit, indicating dried figs, prunes, and, towards the back of the nasal impression, a very mellow, rich, and sweet raisin scent.
Besides these caramelized notes, I detect fresh grapes, highlighting the winey characteristics and primary essence of the liquor. As one would expect with such a luxurious spirit, Courvoisier XO offers intriguing depth and elegance. However, a distinct freshness keeps the overall aromatic profile very much in balance, graciously embracing the floral undertones.
Towards the end of the nasal perception, there’s creamy marzipan, a perfume-like orange peel aroma, elegantly rounded off by luscious vanilla.
Courvoisier XO’s Palate & Mouthfeel
- Primary Tastes: Raisin
- Mouthfeel: Luscious
- Opening: Raisin, apricot, brioche
- Heart: almond brittle, rich vanilla, rancio
- Finish: long [Nutmeg, dried prune, toasted almond]
The palette is charmed by a very soft and mellow opening. Despite being dry, a little whiff of sweetness carries the luscious body and mouthfeel with every sip. Crisp, mineral undertones reveal a lot of winey freshness, similar to the promise of the olfactory perception. This is a most elegant Cognac, offering freshness, depth and intriguing complexity of 20-plus years of aging, all the same time.
Freshly ground spices stimulate the taste buds: cinnamon and cloves are accompanied by earthy nutmeg and tonka bean. The primary taste components remind me of the prunes and particularly the raisins I had experienced in the nose.
A toasted, charred almond note gives way to a distinct woodiness, which translates into a spicy, astringent feel on the side of the tongue. This carries the overall impression into a very long, elegant, and perfectly refined finish.
The mouthfeel is particularly creamy, full-bodied, offering plenty of weight on the palate without being overly heavy or stuffy.
The alcohol is perfectly woven into the overall experience. Every minute, there’s a new aromatic quality, with every sip there’s a new flavor emerging.
You can go back to this cognac for an hour, an hour-30, two hours, and you will always find new layers. You will always find new little details in there that keep you excited and that keep you coming back for more, a very complex, very refined, and superbly balanced XO from Courvoisier.
How To Drink Courvoisier X.O.
You could certainly pour the Courvoisier XO into your favorite cocktails, even though most people would probably recommend sipping it neat when trying it for the first time. You could add a drop of water or a large, crystal-clear ice ball. Just beware of the fact that ice will take away some of the aromatic depth and hold back some of the flavors.
If you want a few cocktail ideas, check out our guide to the top 10 best cognac recipes.
Best Pairings With Courvoisier XO
A little finger food snack can go a long way with your preferred spirit. In this case, roasted almonds, slightly salted, or dried apricots make for an excellent flavor enhancer.
One particular, elegant French dessert would not only fit the overall theme but also make for an absolute match made in heaven: Crêpes Suzette. Since they offer a rich, caramelized orange note and zesty orange peel quality, they sit proudly next to the dried orange character of the XO. A piece of toasted brioche with a smear of foie gras and orange jelly would be just as heavenly.
Even though I’m not the biggest fan of pairing cigars with high alcoholic beverages and neat spirits, this is a Cognac that would perfectly accompany an elegant Ecuador Habano wrapped cigar.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
The overall presentation of Courvoisier XO is a perfect expression of the liquid’s grandesse and luxurious character.
The label is super elegant and slick, sitting on top of the ornately shaped bottle, which reminds me of a golden droplet. The gold and violet colors that Courvoisier proudly features in its branding is just as prominent as the emblem of Napoleon. Still to this day, Courvoisier is acknowledged to be the cognac of Napoleon.
XO Cognacs are always perfect partners for special occasions. The Courvoisier XO is no exception, offering an intriguing spirits experience, that will entertain you for many hours. Whether in good company or all by yourself, sitting in front of the fireplace with a delicious cigar in hand, this is the right beverage to have with you.