STN: Cognac Trés Glacé or May I freeze your cognac, sir?

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STN: Cognac Trés Glacé or May I freeze your cognac, sir?

Postby Hoke » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:06 pm

The purists will bleat, but here's a novel way to enjoy cognac. And it just might surprise you at how good---and interesting---it can be.

Here's the nub of the article:

Here’s a radical thought: unstopper a sleek crystal decanter of your finest cognac, pour a modest amount of the precious nectar into a glass…and serve it up at eighteen degrees below zero!

Sound a bit strange? That’s exactly what happened on a bright, sunny summer day at the Chateau du Plessis in Cognac. The House of Camus sponsored a lunch at the family chateau for a visiting group of Cognac educators. The room was lovely, the table was pristine and the menu promised a delightful meal.

An interesting contraption sat by each plate, composed of a fragile cone glass resting in another glass receptacle partially filled with rock salt. A server appeared and poured from an ice-frosted crystal decanter into each glass. Our gracious host jovially informed us we would begin our lunch with the “Eighteen Below,” a glass of Camus Extra Elegance frozen to -18°C, sometimes referred to as the Cognac Trés Glacé

Why serve a cognac---and especially an aged, subtle and delicately perfumed cognac---in this way? Wouldn’t the extreme cold depress the very aromatics that define the spirit? Wouldn’t cognac be more appropriate in the traditional small snifter, or perhaps a small tulip?

Ah, but we are told, here in the heartland, the epicenter of fine cognac, on a warm sunny day, when the dogs are sleeping in the shade and the workers avoid the heat of the mid-day sun, what could be a more pleasant and soothing way to begin an elegant lunch than this touch of elegance, a chilled glass of impeccable cognac warming ever-so-slowly in the warmth of the day, releasing its concealed aromatic essence more with each tiny, measured cool sip.

With almost imperceptible languor the waft of orchard fruit and honeysuckle lifts seductively in the air, both fruit and flower evoking summer, followed ever so gently by a wisp of caramel sweetness and the lilt of hovering vanilla, altering with time to a whisper of dried fruits, soft baking spices and toasted hazelnuts. On the palate, the Extra goes through a transformation, from chill and refreshing to warm and satisfying, from simple and satisfying to amazingly complex and fascinating.


And here's the link for the full article:
http://violentfermentation.blogspot.com/2014/08/cognac-glace-at-camus.html
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Re: STN: Cognac Trés Glacé or May I freeze your cognac, sir?

Postby Paul Winalski » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:21 pm

It's customary to store bottles of aquavit in the freezer, so why not Cognac?

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Re: STN: Cognac Tres Glace or May I freeze your cognac, sir?

Postby wnissen » Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:22 pm

Not saying this is necessarily the case here, but there's a tendency for familiarity to dull the specialness of a product, even when the cost is very high. Like Marcella Hazan's Beef in Barolo, from the outside it's impossible to pour precious Barolo into the pan and cook it, but if you live in northern Italy, it's not outrageous.
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Re: STN: Cognac Trés Glacé or May I freeze your cognac, sir?

Postby Hoke » Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:05 pm

Walt, I'm sure there is something to this theory of, to twist an old saying out of shape, "presence makes the heart less fond", or the search for something when the sublime becomes the usual ( :D ). I thought of the cognac glace as more of an extension of the pleasure, as the aromatics perfume the air more slowly but eventually as completely as serving it 'room temperature'.

And my reply to the purists who are shocked at the idea of serving cognac in this way is it's amusing that for so many years it was considered de rigeur to take your cognac in those grotesque ballon snifters---which is now considered the single worst way to appreciate a fine old cognac, as that concentrates and emphasizes the worst features of the brandy and focuses on the harshest aspects of the alcohol and age-induced characters.

I like my cognac and other brandies in lots of different ways. A rough, young VS is made considerably more tolerable when mixed with some things, or simply with ice and soda, or ginger ale. And even an XO grade can be used quite nicely for cocktails, depending on the XO, the source and style, and what sort of cocktail.

I've had older cognac glace---significantly old and high quality, mind you---on three separate occasions now, and each has been at the very least, delightful and interesting, and in at least one instance revelatory and thoroughly engaging (I love it when a novel approach causes me to re-assess a spirit I thought I knew so well.)
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Re: STN: Cognac Tres Glace or May I freeze your cognac, sir?

Postby Paul Winalski » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:17 pm

wnissen wrote:Not saying this is necessarily the case here, but there's a tendency for familiarity to dull the specialness of a product, even when the cost is very high. Like Marcella Hazan's Beef in Barolo, from the outside it's impossible to pour precious Barolo into the pan and cook it, but if you live in northern Italy, it's not outrageous.


In a similar vein, there is Coq au Chambertin in Gevrey-Chambertin. The catch is that they don't use the grand vin--they use the press wine, which is kept around for topping off casks but otherwise not blended into what is eventually bottled and sold as Chambertin.

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