Taking a liberty with a spirit what ain't whiskey

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Taking a liberty with a spirit what ain't whiskey

Unread postby Mike » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:00 pm

There are folks on BE who seem to have comtempt for Scotch and Cognac. I am not sure whether that is out of genuine dislike for those foreign spirits, a sense of loyalty to Bourbon, or something a bit less admirable, a deep seated bias.

I can understand, even sympathize with, all those reasons because I hold some dislikes, and more to the point, deep seated biases that God knows I would like to rise above, but that, I am genuinely ashamed to admit, still have their hooks in me. Maybe I will live to be so old that holding to that crap will finally appear to me as foolish as I somehow suspect it to be now. It is my fervent prayer that I slough off this mortal coil (thanks Shakespeare) with a soul at peace............and a sly grin on my face.

All this as a prelude to saying that I like both Scotch in its many varieties and Cognac in its several.

With very little knowledge of Cognac, aside from having tried many of the well known brands at several price points, I nevertheless settled on Pierre Ferrand Cognac as the best for the buck (and from what I have read he is a cranky, idiosyncratic, individualistic, ancient old man who, like some of our Master Distillers, marchs to his own drummer). My affection for the old fellow, whom I might well dislike in person, is one of those harmless biases..........like my bias in favor of Wild Turkey and Jimmy Russell. But, as we know, or should know, all biases are not so benign.

Back to the Cognac.

My favorite Cognac is Pierre Ferrand Selection des Anges.........which costs about $80 a bottle, but which will last me a good 6 or 8 months. If I sip Bourbon slowly, I sip Cognac even more slowly............it is so delicate that I fear breaking it.

But, for several months now I have been eyeing a Ferrand Cognac (cost is about $86 a bottle) called Cigare. It is supposed to be for Cigar smokers who also like Cognac. Well, I don't smoke cigars, but this Cognac is several degrees darker than Selection des Anges and although I am addicted to the sophisticated delicacy of S des A, I could not help but wonder if the Cigare might be slightly more robust.

So..........today I robbed my piggybank and bought Cigare. I couldn't wait to get it home to try it. The nose is not as mild, soft, or as precise as S des A. While still having the beautiful floral qualities, there is an off note that at first seems out of place. But like in a truly original musical piece that takes the expected sound and smudges it with something interestingly and beautifully discordant, a small slice of Creation is made anew.

Cigare is not S des A. It is drier, the oak sings a doleful background solo.........it is closer to the best of the older Bourbons........it is a relative..............it is why I love both Cognac and Bourbon............both represent the best that the human 'spirit' can distill and that the wood can give. Pierre Ferrand, Jimmy Russell, (and many others), like great composers, chefs, musicians, artists, writers, mathematicians, historians, scientists, philosophers, and others of genius, give to us the gift of being able to pass outside ourselves. We lesser mortals partake in their creations and are necessary and essential partners. They need us as we need them. 'Tis a devine marriage.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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