Courvoisier was originally founded as a wine and brandy company in 1809, in the midst of Napoleon Bonaparte’s reign in France. The company had strong connections with France’s first Emperor and, in his honour, still reflects his silhouette on its bottles. In 1828, they recognised the quality of the grapes growing in the Cognac region, and they moved their company from the outskirts of Paris to the Cognac region, where they still have their offices today. This Initiale Extra is a blend of eau-de-vies made from grapes from the Grande Champagne and Borderies crus, ranging from cognacs of 30 years, up to, and over 50 years of age.
Nose: At first, there is hardly anything to be found on the dense nose, she clearly needs some time to come to her (and my) senses. Then, sweet, juicy red apples and grapes and a mellow, creamy cheese made with basil and sage get uncovered.
Palate: Contrary to the nose, a firm palate is shown immediately on the first sip. Sweet and creamy with treacle and clover honey, a hint of vanilla, butterscotch and custard pudding, with a massive fruit basket filled with juicy apples, ripe grapes, yellow pears and mangoes. Then a layer of citrus-y thyme and basil, with a touch of sage take over.
Finish: More of the citrus theme immediately on the transfer, where a red grapefruit emerges. A long lasting and sweet fluffy marshmallow and custard pudding slowly diverge into a mouthful of woody herbs like bay leafs and rosemary, with a sage note lasting until your next meal.
Conclusion: I like sage, and there is a lot of it. What I like here, is that the sage has a quite dominant presence in every aspect of the tasting. A very long lasting tasting I might add, lasting a couple of hours where I enjoyed and tried to discover all layers of this exquisite cognac. Too bad it was only half of the 3cl sample, I would gladly dive in once more…
.out with a bang for the 24th cognac in the Drinks by the Dram Cognac Advent Calendar 2016.