My Wandering Eye is a series reacting to the crazy rising prices in the bourbon world. We’ve reached a place where even average products have hit the range where they compete price-wise with other types of aged spirits. If I’m going be asked to drop $40 to $70 on a mid-range bourbon, I might as well see what else I can get for that money. My hope is to see if another spirits category offers something that is downright tasty in that price range. The goal isn’t to find cheap spirits, but to maximize the quality, I’m getting at a particular price point. And one thing to remember is that these reviews will all be written from the perspective of a bourbon drinker.
I have a weird fascination with alcohol holiday gift sets. In December, I will happily buy spirits that I would have just walked past at any other time of year because they come with a glass. In other words, their marketing gambit works on me. This year I bought two Woodford Reserve Gift Sets because they came with a beautiful glass (even though I have so many glasses that I am considering donating some of mine to local charity thrift stores). I also bought the Gift Set for Hennessy V.S.O.P.
I normally have a bottle of Hennessy V.S. on hand for cocktails due to the fact that it is inexpensive, ubiquitous and plays well with others in a cocktail. But as I was walking through the liquor store looking for a Christmas gift for my father, I noticed the gift set for Hennessy V.S.O.P. Privilège Cognac. It had a cute Art Deco design and had the recipe for a Cognac Sazerac on the back of the box. Plus it came with a large cocktail mixing beaker. That sold me. I‘d been using a pint glass with a beer logo for years to mix our cocktails and the thought of having an actual dedicated mixing glass made me feel all fancy. Plus, it would give me the opportunity to try the next step up of my house cocktail cognac.
And yes, I am the kind of guy who goes shopping for a gift and makes sure to bring home a gift for me as well.
Hennessy V.S.O.P. Privilège Cognac
Purchase Info: ~$75 for a 750 mL bottle gift set at Lakeville Liquor, Lakeville, MN
Details: 40% ABV
Nose: Raisin, apple, cardamom, and a slight mint.
Mouth: Thin mouthfeel. Dried apple and a hint of mint.
Finish: Short and gentle with lingering dried fruit and cardamom.
Thoughts: This makes a good cocktail base. But as you can see above, I bought it in December and still haven’t finished the bottle so I am not reaching for it as a neat pour. It isn’t bad, but compared to the other brandies on my shelf, it is just a little meh.
I love the mixing glass though…
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