When it comes to Cognac, XO is the creme de la creme, and the Courvoisier XO is one of the finest expressions of this grade available on the mass market. It is a selection by the brand’s Master Blender of beautifully matured eaux de vie, aged from 11 to 25 years, to highlight the complexity and richness of cognac aromas. The style of the XO is enduring and it doesn’t just change every year with new bottles, the flavors and smells found here express what Courvoisier chooses as the taste of their maison.
Courvoisier XO is intensely aromatic and flavourful, with a velvety texture and aromatic bouquet, laced with hints of crème brûlée, candied orange and iris flowers. It is the careful hand toasting of their barrels that lends notes of vanilla and caramel that mature to evoke a warm crème brûlée aroma. Delicate aging in oak produces candied orange aromas that originate from the Grande Champagne crus. The sweet and powerful bouquet of irises, meanwhile, comes from matured Borderies cognac.
Courvoisier is owned by Beam Suntory and produces their Cognac in the town of Jarnac in the Charente region of France. Founded in the Paris suburb of Bercy in 1809 by Emmanuel Courvoisier and Louis Gallois, the partners initially acted as traders for the best Cognacs of the region. It wasn’t until 1843 that Felix Courvoisier and Jules Gallois, the sons of Emmanuel and Louis, moved the distillery to its current home.
Napoleon Bonaparte was a big fan of Courvoisier, having visited their warehouses in Bercy in 1811. Legend has it that Napoleon I later took several barrels of the cognac with him to St Helena, a treat much appreciated by the English officers on the ship who dubbed it “The Cognac of Napoleon”. That love was passed upon to his heir Napoleon III who, in 1869, personally requested Courvoisier and bestowed the honourable title of “Official Supplier to the Imperial Court” which is still displayed at the Courvoisier museum in Jarnac.