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Guy Pinard & Fils Napoléon 10 years Cognac

Recommended 82 /100

see 2 reviews

Cognac age
Napoléon
Growth area
Fins Bois
Bottle size
700ml
ABV
40%
Age (maximum)
10

Taylor C.

Reviews written: 35 (see reviews)

Average Score given: 86

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

Bio:

French wine, and the concept of terroir, captured my interest early on. Naturally, curiosity took me to spirits, in particular Cognac. Today I'm proud to be a member of the Cognac Expert team managing B2B projects, working on Cognac Expert Originals, and writing bottle reviews for the English Blog. I love to taste anything and everything - rum/rhum, whisky(ey), Armagnac, etc. - but no other spirit grabs my attention quite like Cognac, and all of its subtleties and nuance. Santé !

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Guy Pinard Napoleon 10 Year

Recommended 82 /100

The Cognac pours a deep yellow color, but stays short of the shades of gold seen with more mature Cognacs. It is not stated on the label if any coloring has been used, but the clarity and shade of yellow of this Cognac would suggest that very little, if any, coloring was added. We’re really in late harvest white wine territory as far as color goes; think Sauternes, Jurançon, or Vendages Tardives Pinot Gris from Alsace. Onwards to the nose.

Immediately after dipping my nose into the glass, I’m greeted to a slightly sharp spirit note – nothing harsh by any means, just energetic and youthful. It’s got something of a grassy character too. Perhaps I’m dreaming, but I smell whiffs of Rhum agricole. It blew off fairly quickly though. This is lightyears away from a mature rancio bomb. Vanilla notes are present but they are toned down and off from center stage. The faintness of the vanilla suggests to me that this ten year old was bottled just shy of its mid-maturity phase, after which the vanillas and baking spices tend to come out to play. In front of the vanilla is the fruit: yellow and green plums, citrus, and yellow peach and tangerines. The fruit smells juicy and fresh and seems to work well with the sharp youthfulness.

Additionally, there is an herbal rooty note somewhere between fresh cut fennel and fresh ginger. Could that be the grassy note mentioned above? To be sure, I’m not finding the nose to be overly seductive, but it is an honest earthy fruit-forward nose – challenging and a touch rustic, but honest. It is apparent to me that the producer has a sensible touch and is not overdoing things in the cellar. The eau-de-vie is left to speak for itself.

In the mouth the spirit nip on the nose is offset by the aforementioned syrupy fruits and a texture like that of melted butter. The vanilla smells do not show up as flavors in the mouth, instead leaving space for the fruit to shine. For the fruit, it’s all overripe white grapes, golden raisins (sultanas), mirabelle plums, greengage plums, dried yellow fruits, and yellow peach and tangerine.

It is a fresh Cognac with seamless transitions from the delivery to the finish and has an overall good density. The finish is cool and refreshing but with a dark streak, similar to the sensation from tasting anise or liquorice. I’m finding the flavors and overall mouthfeel sensations to hold my interest more than the nose. The freshness – we’d say “vif” in French – really picks it up for me. It’s quite a characterful Cognac, with one foot firmly in youthful spirit territory and one foot edging ahead to a more mature zone.

Each time tasting this Cognac I kept uttering to myself that it feels honest. The eau-de-vie has not been covered up by anything and is left to say what it has to say at its young ten years of age. And what this Cognac has to say is very different from what we find with mature Cognacs. Forget the baking spices and vanillas. Forget the rancio and the richness and the layers and layers of nuance. This is a youthful, fresh, and fruity spirit, if perhaps a touch challenging. If mature Cognac is a rich dessert, then this Cognac is a basket of golden and yellow fruits. It deserves to be sipped before dinner on a sunny summer day.

Later tastings have revealed a Cognac that has really settled in and opened up. The challenging, earthy, and sharp youthfulness has receded leaving bags and bags of yellow peach and tangerine fruit to shine. This has become an overwhelmingly fruity Cognac. A flavor bomb with a light footprint.

Tags

  • Butter
  • Floral
  • Ginger
  • Honey
  • Lemon
  • Peach
  • Raisin

Flavour

Wood 5/10

Spice 5/10

Fruit 8/10

Flower 7/10

Bottle / Package Design 3/5

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.

20/25

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?

16/20

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?

15/20

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?

8/10

Total: 82/100

  • 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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