Earlier this summer, the folks at Flaviar asked if we were interested in reviewing a “crowdsourced” Cognac. Yep, you read that right. A “crowdsourced” Cognac. To understand what this really means, here’s what the bonnes gens (for you non-Français speakers, the English translation is “fine people”) at Flaviar have to say about this spirit and the whole “crowdsourcing” process:
Frérot XO Cognac Assemblage de Crus gives rise to a new order in the world of fine spirits –a Cognac created by the people. Flaviar, the membership only spirits club, not only offers unique spirits to members, but has now offered members the chance to co-create their own spirit for the first time. With the aim of bringing Cognac to new audiences Flaviar has democratized the spirits world and asked its members to help craft this release, with 800 involved in the crowdtasting. Introducing Frérot, the People’s Cognac.
“With ‘Flavor to the People’ being Flaviar’s mission from the start, we could hardly think of a better challenge to take on as we set out creating our next very own spirit,” said Grisa Soba, the co-Founder of Flaviar and spirits maverick. “We wanted to address this by including the people-our members-in the creation of Frérot.”
Working with several Cognac producers, the founder of Flaviar identified several of the best drops of Cognac that showcased a wide range of Cognac flavor. Three, high quality XO blends were then selected for the crowdtasting and shared with members in an exceptional tasting box delivered to members’ homes. With many in the crowdtasting being traditional whiskey drinkers, the feedback on flavor profile, alcohol level, blend of crus, sugar content and chill filtration reflected this palate. This is the Bourbon drinker’s Cognac.
The result? 2000 bottles of an exquisite assemblage de crus XO Cognac, non-chill filtered and bottled at 42% ABV, slightly higher than typical Cognacs. Aged in French oak barrels for a minimum of 20 and up to 35 years, Frérot is incredibly deep in flavor with a hint of spice, but also approachable – a structure slightly reminiscent of old Bourbon. At the core fo the Frérot’s ethos is full transparency on each of these elements – something less common in the world of Cognac. Translating in French as a term of endearment among friends, Frérot is the Cognac created with friends, for friends.
That’s quite the process! Let’s find out if this Cognac was worth all of that effort…
- Appearance: The color on this is everyone’s favorite Crayola, Burnt Sienna. Cause it’s just fun to say. (Hey G-LO, this isn’t my favorite Crayola. I think you may have smoked a few too many “Burnt Siennas” back in the day).
- ABV: 42%
- Limpd: Vapory with a good bit of alcohol, furniture polish, orange rinds and Necco wafers.
- G-LO: Quite herbally at the start with licorice and clove coming through. After that, dark dried fruit, brown sugar, some cinnamon, pipe tobacco, and leather which may or may not be Corinthian (Ricardo Montalban would have approved).
- Limpd: A little thin with some earthy notes, a bit of the wood and some sweetness (iced animal crackers) and fruit upfront. Then, a mild, lasting heat that leads into a longish finish.
- G-LO: Lightly oily mouthfeel. Good bit of herbs and cinnamon heat at the start. All the flavors are focused on the tip of my tongue with a good bit of astringency going on. Dark fruits and brown sugar in the middle. The heat and sweet converge at the finish with some of that tobacco and leather emerging in the aftertaste.
Limpd: My experience with Cognac has been limited to a few poor choices in a not too misspent youth. Recently, I have had the opportunity to try some whisky aged in Cognac barrels and some Armagnac and I have to say my opinion has changed. Apparently, when one upgrades the beverage choices the results are far more palatable. I really enjoyed the Frérot XO. Probably not something I would spend a session drinking, but if I was looking for a single nightcap, I might give this another try.
G-LO: I can’t say that I drink all that much Cognac. I like it, but since I prefer whisky, I have very little experience with it. What I do know is that whenever I do drink the stuff, I usually get a good bit of wine notes coming through. This time around, I’m not getting any of that. This Cognac seems to bridge the gap between a Sherried Single Malt Scotch, a Cognac, and a Bourbon, thanks to its wide array of flavors. This was quite a fun drink and pretty darn tasty! Only one issue. The cost is $130/bottle. It was good, but it wasn’t $130/bottle good.