Gautier XO Pinar Del Rio Cigar Cognac

Highly Recommended 86 /100

see 3 reviews

Cognac age
XO
Growth area
Blend
Bottle size
700ml
ABV
41%

John s. G.

Reviews written: 8 (see reviews)

Average Score given: 88

Review Overview: Best & Most rated, All Reviewers & Reviews

Bio:

John S. Gray, born in Halifax in 1953, began improvising in 1957 and took piano lessons from 1959. By 1966 he was a chorister in J.D.Ford’s King’s College School Chapel Choir, singing in live-to-air sessions. At the Dalhousie Music Department in the 1970’s, Gray studied Music History (Byham); Theory (Tittle); Ethnomusicology (Sorenson); Related Arts (Farrell); 20th Century Music (Fletcher). Gray sang in Fletcher’s Dalhousie Chorale, performing in BELSHAZZAR’S FEAST (Walton) and TE DEUM (Kodaly). Gray’s 1973 quartet ELEGY was recorded at a reading session conducted by Fletcher*. Gray served Steve Tittle’s MURPHY’S LAW ensemble from 1975 to 1979, designing posters, singing, and playing keyboards, including premieres by Richard Gibson (GLISTENIN’ WHISTLE; IN MEMORIAM) and Steve Tittle (MEXICO CITY BLUES). The ensemble performed Gray’s octet RIEVAULX in 1978. Gray worked as sound engineer and synthesizer programmer at Dalhousie, including creation of the soundtrack to the award-winning animated short film PERSPECTIVES (Floyd Gillis) in 1980, leading to his first solo performance at the Centre for Art tapes in Halifax. From 1981 Gray had his own audiotape studio, first in a farmhouse near Campbellford ON, where he created soundtracks for Jim MacSwain’s film ATOMIC DRAGONS, Gillis’ TIME LINES and many electroacoustic works which became the basis of his CASSETTE OF MUSIC AND OTHER SOUNDS in late 1981. During 1982 and 1983 he embarked on a performance tour both with computer animator Floyd Gillis and as a solo act, with appearances at the Music Gallery, Galerie SAW, ArtSpace, and the Centre for Art Tapes, culmination in an appearance as featured soloist in the ALTERNATE MUSICS festival in Halifax, March 1983. In January 1984 Gray was part of the SIX SOLO PIANISTS benefit for Peterborough ArtSpace at Trent University with Lubomir Melnyk, Gordon Monohan and others. Fom 1983 to 1989 Gray’s studio was in a large warehouse loft in Toronto, where he hosted performances by Steve Tittle, Linda Shumas, Kevin Quain and others, and created the FLOWER soundtrack for MacSwain. Two more of Gray’s indie cassettes were released in 1986, and he made an appearance at NERVE AID in Halifax. From 1990 to 2000 Gray was in Nova Scotia with visual artist A. J. Gray, continuing with electroacoustic work. His wrote 4W-1 in 1993, LITTLE CANTATA in 1995, AUTUMN PRELUDE in 1996 and LENTEN PRELUDE in 1997. He was part of Tittle’s MURPHY’S LAW reunion at the Halifax Experimental Music Festival in 1999 and gave a solo performance (REMEMBERING, SEARCHING) at the 2000 HEMF event, where he also did an acoustic duo with percussionist Fenn Martin. Back in Toronto, Gray’s FANTASIE, MINUET AND TRIO was premiered by Simon Docking at the Music Gallery in 2001 and broadcast on TWO NEW HOURS. An October 2002 concert at the Music Gallery saw five of Gray’s works performed, including LE VERNISSAGE for chamber orchestra, and his compact disc FIVE PIANOS was released. EPISODES FOR ORCHESTRA was premiered in 2003 by the Cathedral Bluffs Symphony and Robert Raines. By 2004 Gray had become copyist to John Weinzweig, and was helping the Canadian Music Centre staff in the library and at the archiving station. INTRODUCTION AND AUTUMN PRELUDE with the Brampton Symphony and THREE OLD FRIENDS with the Canadian Electronic Ensemble were premiered in late 2004. In 2005 Gray was commissioned, and wrote SINFONIA D’ESPOIR for the Cathedral Bluffs, and also wrote CLARINET QUARTET and STEPS TO THE SETTING SUN for chamber groups. His string orchestra piece CHORDA CONCERTATIO was written in 2006 and premiered by Victor Feldbrill in Florida in 2008. TRIO NO. 2 was written in early 2009 and premiered at the Blue Bridge Festival, Jackson’s Point ON. SUITE FOR TEN and STRING QUARTET No.1 were written in 2011. EXPLORATIONS for piano and winds, was written in 2012. In 2013, there were five performances of Gray’s pieces (EXPLORATIONS, INTRODUCTION AND AUTUMN PRELUDE, SINFONIA D’ESPOIR, CRICKETS ENTR’ACTE for string quartet, CHORDA CONCERTATIO) In Toronto and Hamilton. In 2014 the Red Brass premiered RB5W-1 in Scarborough; the Kafka Quartet premiered STRING QUARTET No.1 in the Tenri Cultural Institute, Manhattan. The Junction Trio performed TRIO NO. 2 at St Anne’s, Toronto in May, and premiered the GLADSTONE FRAGMENTS, FIVE MEDITATIONS there in November. In January 2015 the Scarborough Philharmonic winds premiered Gray’s ALLEMANDE in Scarborough; the Junction Trio premiered the quintet HUMORESQUE in May. During the Summer of 2015 the Northern Lights String Quartet toured Gray’s CRICKETS ENTR’ACTE in several performances while on tour in France.

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Excellent XO

Exceptional 91 /100

Ordered this over a year ago, only got around to uncorking it for the first time tonight (10 October 2022). Well worth the wait. A particularly fine XO, mellowed considerably by a few minutes in the glass. An excellent value.

Flavour

Wood 5/10

Spice 6/10

Fruit 7/10

Flower 7/10

Bottle / Package Design 5/5

Where is the Love? Ordinary Nice Beautiful A sight to be seen!

Value for Money 5/5

Overpriced Low Average Bargain Steal

Tasting

Nose

What aromas do you get when you sniff the Cognac? Do you get hints of fruits or flowers - perhaps it's sweet? Is it intense or rather flat - and most importantly, is the nose coherent to taste and finish? The nose is the most important part when tasting Cognac.

22/25

Mouth

A small sip: Allow your taste buds in the various areas of your mouth to distinguish the different flavours. This part of cognac tasting is described as ‘the palate’. Don’t just swallow it down; allow the liquid to touch all the regions of the mouth. Doing this is necessary as the taste buds pick up contrasting flavours in the different areas of the mouth; on the tip of your tongue to the sides, for example. Take a tiny sip to prep your palate for the sensory experience to come. Take a second larger sip, and gently roll the cognac around, etting it come into contact with every corner of your mouth. Focus on the perceived textural sensations. Are the sensations round and rich or fresh and elegant? Is the overall mouthfeel intense, balanced, disjointed, or lacking presence? In short, how does the cognac feel in your mouth?

19/20

Taste

Quite simply, what do you taste as you gently roll the cognac around in your mouth? Pay close attention to any flavors of fruits, flowers, oak, and spices - or a complex combination of those elements. Are the flavors cohesive with the Nose and the Mouth, giving a sense of balance and complexity?

23/25

Finish

The ‘finish’ is the experience you get after you’ve swallowed the cognac. What flavours can you detect? Is it a flat or rough finish and rather sharp, or is it a slight 'punch' you like? How long does the finish last? Also think about overall balance: How does the finish compare to nose and taste?

18/20

Overall Impression

Consider the Nose, Mouth, Taste, and Finish simultaneously - the cognac as a whole. Is there cohesion between the four categories, or does the cognac shine in some areas and appear dull in others? Quite simply, is the memory from the tasting experience one that will last your lifetime; is the memory good but nothing extraordinary; or is the cognac’s impact entirely forgettable?

9/10

Total: 91/100

  • 80-84: Recommended
  • 85-89: Highly Recommended
  • 90-95: Exceptional
  • 96-100: Superlative
Flat Acceptable Fine Excellent Ethereal Thin & weak Disjointed Balanced Exquisite Bland Ordinary Good Excellent Spectacular Non-existent, or rough Acceptable Good Memorable Endless Uninspiring, or rough Ordinary Good Excellent Memorable
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