7 Cognacs: WV Baker, Estève, Bertandeau, Salignac…

7 Cognacs: WV Baker, Estève, Bertandeau, Salignac…

This session of seven cognacs contains a few well-known names like Mauxion, JL Pasquet or Vallein Tercinier, but also a few new discoveries. Have you tried André Bertandeau, Estève or Domaine des Sorges before? Last but not least, there’s also a wonderful old Louis de Salignac bottled late 1950s and 75 years of age so probably late 19th century distillate.


Cognac Mauxion ‘Lot 45’ – Bons Bois (45,2%, OB +/- 2023)

Nose: very refined and vibrant. Nice freshness of lime, sour plums and passion fruits. Some white blossoms, jasmine tea and ginger. Then darker notes like moss and fallen autumn leaves, dark honey and hints of vanilla. Subtle hints of bergamot oil and furniture polish. Very aromatic.

Mouth: excellent mintiness, along with peach, tangrines and plums, honey and raisins. Spicy notes as well (cinnamon, clove) as well as hints of cigar boxes, but never tannic or frankly woody. Some floral touches again. Bergamot and cedar in the end.

Finish: quite long, developing a light bitter edge, but overall still fresh and citrusy, with mint, liquorice and some gentian.

Lovely cognac from a ‘lesser’ region. Very elegant and overall not far behind the Mauxion Sélection 1900 in fact.



Cognac Sponge – Vallein Tercinier Héritage N.88 – Fins Bois (48,8%, Decadent Drinks 2023, 250 btl.)

Vallein Tercinier Héritage 88 - Cognac Sponge Nose: vibrant, with juicy fruits, honey and the right amount of grassiness. Candied oranges, yellow plums and hints of nectarine. White flowers (jasmine). Then bergamots and lime. Drops of honey and just a light hint of cedar in the background.

Mouth: the same burst of juiciness. Unripe mango, more bergamots and tangerines, peaches and candied lemon zest. Now the spiciness is a little more prominent, with mild pepper and dried herbs along with crushed mint leaves and lightly earthy hints of cigar boxes.

Finish: really long, fruity, on apricot and orange, with honey and mild oak spice.

Perfect drinking strength and very vibrant fruity notes. Reminds me of the Lot 86 Fins Bois I had in my early days of cognac discovery. Out of stock as far as I can tell. Score: 90/100



André Bertandeau was deported to Buchenwald at the age of 20. He managed to survive until 1945 and returned to the family estate in France. After his death in 2016, all his assets (property, vineyards, stocks…) were auctioned and proceedings were donated to NGOs. A deeply moving story. Maltbarn managed to bottle the following Lot 71. I believe we’ve tried a similar release for Flickenschild already.


Cognac André Bertandeau 51 yo ‘Lot 71’ – Petite Champagne (52,9%, Maltbarn 2023, 50 btl.)

Maltbarn cognac Petite Champagne Lot 71 Nose: fruity core, on oranges, plums, mirabelles and raisins. Marmalade on toast. Hints of old roses, light cinnamon and a whiff of tobacco. Sour leaves and oak polish too.

Mouth: sweeter than expected. Apricots (fresh and dried) and nectarines in honey, more plums (or rather plum jam), citrus rind, mango and a hint of passion fruit cordial. Vanilla notes, halva and sweetened fruit tea. The candied character is really nice.

Finish: rather long, with more candied fruitiness and fruit syrups, with added herbal notes, lime and mint.

A really jammy and candied cognac. Sometimes cognac immediately resembles a handful of others, but here I had an ‘aha’ feeling. Excellent selection. Score: 91/100



Cognac Estève 33 yo ‘Lot 89’ – Petite Champagne (57,4%, Maltbarn 2023, 120 btl.)

Cognac Estève Lot 89 - Maltbarn Nose: fairly rich and sweet. Preserved apricots and mirabelles on syrup with floral honey. Then almond sweetness and some hints of brass polish, as well as pine needles and aniseed in the background.

Mouth: some sharpness of pine wood, tannic hints and mint at first. After this initial burn it settles on tangerines, quinces and yellow plums, with ginger and aniseed. Later also herbal liqueur. The roundness of the jammy fruits adds a nice weight but the wood is perhaps a little loud.

Finish: long, on warming oak spice, mixed with oranges and drops of herbal honey.

Jammy fruits but also a firm woody footprint. Nice to see a new house that hasn’t been picked up by other bottlers, but I prefer the Bertandeau by quite a margin. Score: 87/100


WV Baker & Cie is a small independent bottler of cognac, founded by Benjamin Baker (who used to work at Grosperrin and Bache-Gabrielsen). Single barrels from single grape varieties, single plots of land and single distilleries are the heart of the two ranges available: Rare Pale and Old Rare Old cognacs.

The Fins Bois 2006 15 Years was recently discovered in the small cellar of a passionate winegrower on the outskirts of Saintes. And that just so happens to be the hometown of Benjamin Baker.


Cognac WV Baker ‘Old Rare Old’ 15 yo 2006 – Domaine des Sorges – Fins Bois (58,7%, OB 2022, 480 btl.)

WV Baker Cognac - Old Rare Old - Fins Bois Nose: clearly much younger than the others in this session. Pears and oranges, with some resinous hints. Then plenty of stalks and stems, liquorice wood and mint. Light pencil shavings too.

Mouth: quite potent. There’s a grassy / eau-de-vie-ish side, a wee hint of Pineau, as well as hints of vanilla. Pears and apples again, with white grapes. Then a few raisins and a touch of muscat sweetness.

Finish: medium length, with peppered apple, cake and soft liquorice.

In a way this youngish cognac is the equivalent of a middle-aged Speysider from a middle-of-the-road distillery. Not a bad malternative, but not the kinda cognac we usually have on this blog. I got a sample from The Whisky Exchange. Score: 83/100



Cognac Sponge – Jean-Luc Pasquet Héritage N.10 & N.11 – Grande Champagne (49,6%, Decadent Drinks 2023, 120 btl.)

Cognac Sponge - JL Pasquet - Heritage 10 / 11 Nose: subtle metallic hints like I’m often getting in younger cognac. Then hints of aniseed, chamomile and dried wildflowers. Peanut oil, some hay and dusty apple. Gets increasingly honeyed over time.

Mouth: bright and impressively fruity. Mirabelles, peaches, actual grapes, as well as oranges and lime. Really beautiful and elegant. Subtle herbal touches and mild pepper. Not very complex, but really seductive. Just a light grassy note and juniper in the end.

Finish: quite long, minty, with anise, herbal notes and a lingering citrusy fruitiness.

Unexpectedly good. We’re spoilt by much older cognac, but this is a great selection which proves that it can be excellent at a young age. Sold out from Decadent Drinks but still available from The Whisky Exchange or Master of Malt for instance. Score: 89/100


Next up: a 75 year old assembled cognac (Fine Champagne) from the house Louis de Salignac (now owned by Courvoisier). It was bottled in the late 1950s so the grapes were harvested around 1885. Fine Champagne is a mix of the Grande and Petite Champagne terroirs, with at least 50% of Grande Champagne, if I’m not mistaken.


Cognac Louis de Salignac ’75 Years Old Fine Champagne’ (OB late 1950s)

Louis de Salignac - cognac Fine Champagne 75 Years Nose: not as ‘totally-different-era’ as I expected. I mean, the first impression is of a fairly robust cognac of today. Lots of tobacco leaves, walnuts, as well as some bitter caramel and dashes of high-end Oloroso. Oxidative, but quite some fresh and elegant notes too, like verbena, Darjeeling tea and subtle mint. Hints of old cellars too.

Mouth: pretty wonderful. Darker now, with hints of dark chocolate and herbal tea, even a little coffee and walnut liqueur. Reminds me of old quina from Jerez. Then dried mushrooms and other earthy notes. Also orange peels, hints of aniseed and clove, ending on nice cough candy. Flashes of fruity sourness (berry cordial) throughout, which lifts the otherwise rather rustic profile.

Finish: not the longest, still on herbal extracts, coffee and tobacco.

It’s quite stunning how this oozes vibrancy and provides plenty of depth as well. Darkness and even bitterness, but never bloated or tired. Wonderful. Many thanks for sharing, Angus! Score: 91/100