We put two Cognac Sponge releases head-to-head. Both were selected from the cellars at Grosperrin.
The 1969 is a single cask cognac from the Petite Champagne zone, bottled at natural strength. The 1968 is marriage of spirit from five different casks of Fins Bois, also cask strength.
Grosperrin Heritage N.69 – Petite Champagne (48,8%, Cognac Sponge 2020, Edition No 2, 250 btl.)
Nose: so very aromatic, it really fills the room. That said, it’s the more delicate and fragile style of old cognac. A lot of polished oak up front, some sappy and minty notes, then baked apples, bergamots, stewed plums and preserved apricots. After some time the sourness of the wood comes out, together with wet tobacco leaves.
Mouth: a similar bright, but slightly thin fruitiness. Pink grapefruits, tangerines, orange peels and quinces. On the other hand there’s an oaky side, showing some black pepper and liquorice, as well as tobacco. Green tea with menthol. Whiffs of eucalyptus. More leafy and herbal than fruity as it evolves in the glass, but always really elegant.
Finish: long, more fresh mint, chocolate mints and tobacco.
Really good, showing the elegance and finesse of Petite Champagne, although I feel the bright fruits are slightly held back by the drier hints of tobacco and leaves. Now available from The Whisky Exchange.
Grosperrin Heritage N.68 – Fins Bois (55,4%, Cognac Sponge 2020, Edition No 3, 350 btl.)
Nose: more beeswax and honeycomb in this one, as well as apricot jam à la Caperdonich 1972. Quince jam, pineapple syrup. Artisan mead. Guava. Light camphory touches and verbena. Even a hint of molasses in the background. This is more juicy and jammy than the 1969, and it shows more body too.
Mouth: closer to whisky, perhaps because of the higher ABV. Much more oily notes compared to the 1969, like hardwood polish and something that reminds me of oil paint. Mint and mead, mirabelles and prunes. Mid-palate some earthy notes, liquorice and a lovely rancio element sets in. Less refined than the other one, but more interesting in my opinion. Some peppery honey in the end.
Finish: long, slightly earthy and resinous, spicy, but also nicely honeyed.
Pretty awesome. Of course there’s this gold standard among whisky lovers of tropical fruitiness (set by Vallein-Tercinier) which this one doesn’t have, but it has more body and a uniquely beehive-y, interesting profile that’s closer to whisky. My favourite in this session, and recommended. Still available from Decadent Drinks direct, or The Whisky Exchange.