Prunier suggests their VS Cognac is “ideal for cocktails, cooking and as a flavouring for fruit salads,” and it’s not that I disagree–it would be great for all of those things–but it also deserves to be sipped and savoured for the impressive amount of depth it delivers. VS is the youngest grade of Cognac and rarely gets the gums flapping around aficionados who drop hundreds, or thousands, of dollars for the extra old stuff. But the Prunier VS is of a higher caliber than almost any other Cognac fitting the youth category. If this is youth, it’s a young Zidane. And it’s under $40.
The fact that Prunier would say this VS is good for “cooking” and “cocktails,” shows a house that is only impressed by the finest quality. Nonetheless, there is grace and depth to be found throughout this tipple. On the nose, vanilla and white flowers mesh seamlessly with grape notes and tea. The palate is well balanced offering both freshness and depth along with flavors of cedar, vanilla, and citrus. The finish is long and spicy with more vanilla and citrus. Light on it’s feet, but with surprising depth, this is a young, elegant Cognac that is better than a variety of VSOP and XO expressions offered by houses better known on this side of the Atlantic.
Prunier VS Cognac is the type of drink that should be sipped outside on a cool fall day, preferably with sweeping views around you. If there’s a ledge you can hang your legs over, that might be something worth trying (though we would never condone such blatantly dangerous behavior) to give yourself a sense of the excitement and youthful vigour found within the dram.
If you’re dead set on making a cocktail with this delicious Cognac, we recommend stirring up a French Manhattan. With the Prunier VS, it’s one of the best mixed drinks we’ve sipped in recent memory:
- 1 1/2 ounces Prunier VS cognac
- 1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
- 1/4 ounce orange liqueur, we used Cointreau
- 1 dash orange or aromatic bitters
- 1 candied or Maraschino cherry, for garnish
Add the Cognac, vermouth, orange liqueur, and bitters to a cocktail mixing glass. Fill the mixing glass two-thirds full with ice and stir briskly until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Frankly, Prunier VS is just really good Cognac, and for its price, it may be the best around.