Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Cognac Review: Park VS

Cognac Park has something of a peculiar history. The distillery goes back to 1880 and has been in the hands of the Tessendier family ever since. However, the Park brand was developed as a collaboration between the distillery and Dominic Park, a Scotsman, in 1993. In 2008 the distillery purchased the brand and everything has been in house since then.

While the distillery is situation in the Borderies, Park gets wines from all over the Cognac region to ensure that they have a broad pallet with which to construct their expressions. With the exception of their single region releases, each will be a blend of spirits from 2-4 different regions.

The VS is built from 50% Fins Bois and 50% Petite Champagne, filled into 400 L fresh lightly toasted barrels for six months, transferred to used casks, then blended and bottled at 40%, probably with various adjustments and chill filtration. The L13 bottling code on the neck makes me assume that this was put together in 2013, which would be consistent with how slowly specialty bottles move in Oregon.

Cognac Park VS

Nose: rather faint - alcohol burn, some acetone, grape and barrel sweetness, maybe a touch of something floral and citrus. After adding a few drops of water the aromas shift significantly to vanilla, fresh apples, oak, bright caramel, and a stronger floral note.

Taste: rather sweet up front with caramel and grape carrying through to the back, some fresh apple around the middle, then a touch of oak tannins and some rounder marshmallow notes at the back. After dilution it becomes rounder up front and some more well-defined oak emerges at the back.

Finish: balanced caramel, grape, and oak plus lingering vanilla

This is honestly pretty forgettable at full strength. There's practically no complexity, even compared to stuff like Hennessy or Courvoisier. The only redeeming feature is that there are no overt flaws or off-putting flavors, though I wouldn't recommend spending too much time sniffing it. Water, oddly, pumps it up a bit and reduces the solvent notes in the aromas. Maybe a sign that this was built for mixed drinks? Unfortunately since I only have a miniature I won't be able to find out.

With that said, for the price I would still pick Hardy VS over this.

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