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B&B (Brandy and Benedictine): A Review

bb liqueur brandy bendictine 139x300 B&B (Brandy and Benedictine): A ReviewA History and Review of B&B

By Tim Rodgers

Last year marked the 500th anniversary that the French Benedictine Monk Dom Bernardo Vincelli concocted Benedictine.   It was lost over the annals of time before another French merchant discovered the Benedictine recipe that is is a subtle alchemy of 27 different plants and spices.  According to the producers of (B&B) Benedictine D.O.M. in 1863, in the process of sorting out some very old family papers, a wine merchant in Fécamp, with the evocative name of Alexandre Le Grand, came across an old recipe book that has been tucked away in his library for years.  Although he had extensive knowledge on how to produce wine and spirits, it took him years to unravel the secret recipe of the monk Vincelly. He also chose to keep the indication D.O.M.,  the motto of the Benedictines standing for Deo Optimo Maximo (God infinitely good, infinitely great). It also refers to the Latin word Dominus (Master) given to Benedictine abbots.

Even today, the recipe for Benedictine is a closely guarded secret.  On a side note, I think Benedictine is used to make a Singapore Sling.  But I prefer mixing it with Brandy.  Essentially, what we know as B&B today was invented in the 1930’s by a bartender in the famous Club Twenty One in New York who thought to mix this interesting Benedictine Liqueur with Brandy. Thus, B&B as we know it was invented.  It was originally 86 proof up until the late 1970’s and today it is an even 80 proof spirit.

I was first introduced to B&B some time ago amongst some family members with a slight dusting of alcoholism who sought to run up the bar tab at some function.  Not having much of a developed palate at the time and being relatively young, I still enjoyed the liqueur.  The sweet and spice of the Benedictine really enhanced the nice burn of the cognac.  Today, B&B is one of my favorite after dinner drinks.

If you are a beginner to the world of cognac, I would recommend starting out with some B&B to ween into the appreciation of good cognacs.  Also, I would also try making your own B&B by scoring a bottle of straight Benedictine and mixing it with your favorite cognac.   Cheers!

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The Eaux de Vie & Waters of Life: Cognac, Brandy & French Oak Barrels

bigstock Cognac 5875794 300x198 The Eaux de Vie & Waters of Life: Cognac, Brandy & French Oak BarrelsDouble Distilled White Wine Brandy Becomes Mixed, then Aged into Cognac 

By Matt Goldstein

Some Cognacs have up to 50 different types of eaux de vie, or waters of life.  The eaux de vie are white wine grapes that are harvested, crushed, fermented, and then distilled.  After the double distillation process in copper stills, a single eau de vie is clear and colorless.  This clear and colorless eau de vie is then mixed with sometimes 20 to 50 other different kinds of eaux de vie and aged in French Oak barrels for at least 2 years.  Prior to their use, these French Oak Barrels were glazed over a fire for color and flavor.  The clear eaux de vie then gets its light brown color and flavor while aging in the fire glazed French Oak.  All Cognacs must be aged in French Oak with eaux de vie from the Cognac region. 

Source:  Years of Reading Cognac Bottles.

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The Eaux de Vie Congac Trials: Hennessy Black, Hennessy VS, Remy Martin VSOP, Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif, Courvoisier VS, Martell VS and more…

Courvoisier Exclusif VSOP Cognac: A Review

Hennessy Black, Remy Martin VSOP and Martell VS: A Review

Courvoisier VS, Courvoisier Exclusif VSOP, Hennessy VS

Hennessy Privilege VSOP Cognac

Domaine de Canton Liqueur: A Review

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The Eaux de Vie Congac Trials: Hennessy Black, Hennessy VS, Remy Martin VSOP, Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif, Courvoisier VS, Martell VS and more…

hennessy black 279x300 The Eaux de Vie Congac Trials: Hennessy Black, Hennessy VS, Remy Martin VSOP, Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif, Courvoisier VS, Martell VS and more...The Modern Classic Hennessy Black Stands Up to the Grand Masters of Cognac 

By Matt Goldstein and D. Williams

The Eaux de Vie Congac Trials featured the most famous Cognacs in the world vs. some relative newbies, a virtual unknown and a cheap bottom shelf brandy.  Our completely blind tasting featured Courvoisier Exclusif, Remy Martin VSOP, Hennessey Black, Martell VS, Courvoisier VS, Hennessy VS, Conjure and Paul Mason brandy.  D. Williams proved himself an expert immediately when he picked out the Remy Martin VSOP right away.  That’s impressive, but he drinks that all the time.  It was outstanding when he knew he was also drinking the Hennessey Black, a drink which he only had once before and it was merely one glass, 3-4 weeks prior to the tasting.  D. Williams is truly a Cognac connoisseur.         

Hennessy Black: 

The newest Cognac from the Hennessy estate was the clear winner of the blind taste test.  It had the perfect smoothness with an excellent bite.   Made with at least 2800 grapes in each bottle and aged in 50 year old Oak tree casks, the Hennessy Black is a modern classic Cognac.  Twice distilled and made with 35 to 40 different types of eaux de vie, the Hennessy Black is our Cognac of Choice.        

Remy Martin VSOP: 

With a very good balance and smooth bite, the Remy Martin VSOP is a classic Cognac and one in which can never be a wrong choice.  Our number 2 Cognac of the trials, the Remy Martin VSOP Champagne Cognac, was founded in 1724 by a French wine maker of course named Remy Martin.  We would give you more information but their web site is downright un-searchable.  Wikipedia just can’t be trusted. 

martell vs 150x300 The Eaux de Vie Congac Trials: Hennessy Black, Hennessy VS, Remy Martin VSOP, Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif, Courvoisier VS, Martell VS and more...Martell VS: 

The number 3 Cognac of the trial, Martell VS, was simply excellent.  Aged for more than 2 years in fine grain Oak barrels, the Martell VS is possibly the best VS in the world.  For about $30.00, you can enjoy a Cognac that competes with bottles costing $60 or more. 

Courvoisier VS: 

The number 4 of our Cognac trial, the Courvoisier VS, was simply very good.  The VS has great bite, distinctive flavor but yet is still smooth like an exceptionally aged Cognac.  Also aged a little longer than the average VS, which is at least 2 years, the Courvoisier has a great aroma.  It’s a great buy for around $30. 

Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif: 

Although it’s an excellent Cognac, for around $50 per bottle, we expected a lot more out of the Courvoisier Exclusif.  It was very enjoyable, but all four Cognacs above are a better buy.  The Courvoisier web site claims that the Exclusif was designed to be mixed.  Mixed?  A mixer that costs $50?  Please.  You’re better off using a $15 brandy.  You won’t know the difference, trust us.  The Exclusif VSOP is also aged more than the average VSOP, hence the price.  But it is a good Cognac none the less. 

Hennessy VS: 

Although a little too smooth and lacking a little bite, the Hennessy VS was still pretty good.  It has a great nose and is just a solid Cognac.  A collection of over 40 eaux de vie, the Hennesy VS is made from a recipe that has been around for 145 years.  It’s a classic Cognac.     

Paul Mason VS Brandy: 

This was our control of the experiment.  We purchased the cheapest brandy we could find to see if it could beat out a much more expensive Cognac.  Guess what?  The competition wasn’t even close.  See below…

Conjure: 

WOW!  This is a bad Cognac.  It was downright horrible.  Mind you, we had no idea what we were drinking as the trial was completely blind.  It seemed too strong, kind of like turpentine, but was just plain weak in taste.  This Cognac seemed to be missing the Cognac.  What we didn’t realize until just now as we were writing the piece; is that this Cognac is made by rap artist Ludacris.  I never thought I’d say this, but Ludacris has finally made something worse than his music.  I mean, his music isn’t the worst thing on the radio, although that isn’t saying much, but the Conjure is no doubt the worst Cognac on the isle in the liquor store.    

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The Eaux de Vie & Waters of Life: Cognac, Brandy & French Oak Barrels

Courvoisier Exclusif VSOP Cognac: A Review

Hennessy Black, Remy Martin VSOP and Martell VS: A Review

Courvoisier VS, Courvoisier Exclusif VSOP, Hennessy VS

Hennessy Privilege VSOP Cognac

Domaine de Canton Liqueur: A Review

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