The Ultimate Cognac Shopping Guide

The Ultimate Cognac Shopping Guide

Are you a cognac enthusiast looking to expand your collection or a curious newcomer wondering where to start? 

Cognac shopping can be overwhelming, with countless brands, varieties, and price points. How do you know which bottle will suit your taste and budget?

Imagine confidently walking into a liquor store or browsing online, armed with the knowledge to pick the perfect cognac every time.

Keep reading to discover the secrets of cognac shopping and elevate your enjoyment of this timeless spirit.

Your journey to becoming a cognac connoisseur starts now!

What is Cognac?

What is Cognac?

Cognac is a special brandy from the charming town of Cognac in France. It was born in the 17th century. Cognac is crafted from specific grape varieties and follows a strict making process set by French law.

Key Characteristics

  • Flavor Profile: Cognac is loved for its rich and complex tastes, including hints of fruits, flowers, spices, and wood.
  • Production Process: It is distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged in French oak barrels for at least two years.

Top Online Retailers for Buying Cognac

1. Reserve Bar

Specializes in premium and luxury spirits.

Reserve Bar


  • Exclusive and limited-edition products
  • Gift packaging options
  • Reliable shipping


  • Higher price range
  • Some products may have longer shipping times

2. Wine.com

Extensive wine selection with a notable range of cognac.



  • Detailed product descriptions
  • Customer reviews and ratings
  • Membership benefits


  • More focus on wine than spirits
  • A limited selection of certain cognac brands

3. Flaviar

Operates as both a retailer and a subscription service.



  • Tasting boxes and subscriptions
  • Access to rare and unique cognacs
  • Educational content


  • Membership fee required for full benefits
  • Limited immediate purchase options

4. Caskers

Caskers handpicks a selection of fine spirits, including exclusive and limited-edition cognacs.



  • Curated selections
  • Detailed tasting notes
  • Frequent special offers


  •  Limited stock on some items
  • Some regions may have longer delivery times

5. Total Wine & More

A well-known retailer with a vast selection of wines and spirits, including cognac.

Total Wine & More


  • Large Inventory
  • Competitive prices
  • In-store pickup available


  • Availability may vary by location
  • The website can be overwhelming due to the large selection

6. Cognac Expert

Comprehensive range of cognac brands and exclusive editions.

Cognac Expert


  • Detailed product information and reviews
  • Exclusive and limited-edition cognacs
  • Educational resources about cognacs


  • Higher prices for exclusive items
  • Limited stock on rare editions

7. Keg N Bottle

Wide range of spirits and craft beers, including cognacs.

Keg N Bottle


  • Competitive prices
  • Good selection of popular brands
  • Convenient online ordering


  • A limited selection of rare cognacs
  • Shipping costs can vary

8. Liquor Stars

It specializes in spirits, wine, and beer, with a notable selection of cognacs.

Liquor Stars


  • Detailed descriptions and customer reviews
  • Regular promotions and discounts
  • Fast shipping options


  • Availability may vary
  • Focus on broader alcohol selection, not exclusively cognac.

9. Del Mesa Liquor

It specializes in premium spirits with a strong focus on customer service.

Del Mesa Liquor

  • Personalized recommendations
  • Exclusive cognac offerings
  • Efficient shipping and delivery


  • Higher shipping costs for some areas
  • Limited stock on some premium products

10. Nationwide Liquor

It specializes in a broad selection of liquors, including many cognac brands.

Nationwide Liquor


  • Wide variety of products
  • Competitive Pricing
  • Frequent deals and promotions


  • Website navigation can be challenging
  • Customer service may vary

11. Country Wine and Spirits

It specializes in an extensive range of wines and spirits, including cognacs.

Country Wine and Spirits


  • Large Inventory
  • Good customer service
  • Regular deals and offers


  • Some products may have limited availability
  • Shipping times can vary

Advantages of Online Shopping

1. Convenience

  • 24/7 Access: Shop anytime from the comfort of your home.
  • No Geographical Limitations: Access stores and products from around the world.

2. Wider Selection

  • Variety of Brands: Larger inventory than local stores, including rare and limited-edition cognacs.
  • Detailed Product Information: Comprehensive descriptions, user reviews, and expert ratings.

3. Competitive Pricing

  • Price Comparisons: Easily compare prices across different retailers.
  • Special Offers: Take advantage of discounts, promotions, and loyalty programs.

Best Local Retailers for Buying Cognac

1. Local Liquor Store Chains: Known for a wide selection of spirits and convenient locations.

2. Specialty Wine and Spirits Shops: Offer curated selections and expert staff for a more personalized experience.

3. Gourmet Grocery Stores: Often carry high-quality and rare bottles in their specialty sections.

What to Look for in a Good Retailer

  1. Selection and Variety: A diverse range of cognac brands and types.
  2. Knowledgeable Staff: Employees who can provide expert advice and recommendations.
  3. Customer Service: Friendly and helpful service that enhances the shopping experience.
  4. Tasting Events: Opportunities to sample different cognacs before purchasing.

Advantages of Buying Locally

1. Immediate Availability

  • Instant Gratification: No waiting for shipping; take your purchase home immediately.
  • Emergency Needs: Perfect for last-minute gifts or events.

2. Personal Interaction

  • Expert Advice: Get personalized recommendations from knowledgeable staff.
  • Tasting Opportunities: Try before you buy at in-store tastings.

3. Supporting Local Businesses

  • Community Support: Contribute to the local economy and small businesses.
  • Building Relationships: Develop connections with local retailers for better service and perks.

Factors to Consider When Buying Cognac

1. Age and Quality

Understanding Aging Labels

  • VS (Very Special): Aged for at least two years. Suitable for mixing and casual drinking.
  • VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale): Aged for at least four years. It offers a more balanced and complex flavor suitable for sipping and cocktails.
  • XO (Extra Old): Aged for at least ten years. It is known for its rich, deep flavors and is best enjoyed neat.

Recognizing Quality Indicators

  • Color and Clarity: High-quality cognac should have a clear, rich color without impurities.
  • Aroma and Flavor: Look for complex, well-balanced aromas and flavors, indicators of a well-aged cognac.
  • Reputation and Awards: Brands with a strong reputation and industry awards often indicate consistent quality.

2. Price Range

How Price Reflects Quality

  • Entry-Level Cognacs: Typically priced lower, offering good quality for casual drinking and mixing.
  • Mid-Range Cognacs: Offer a balance between price and quality, suitable for more discerning palates and occasional sipping.
  • Premium Cognacs: Higher-priced, often reflecting superior aging, rare ingredients, and meticulous craftsmanship. Best for special occasions and gifting.

Finding the Best Value for Your Budget

  • Compare Brands: Look for lesser-known brands that offer high quality at a lower price.
  • Read Reviews: Check customer reviews and expert opinions for the best value options.
  • Special Offers: Take advantage of retailers’ promotions, discounts, and membership benefits.

3. Personal Preferences

Flavor Profiles

  • Fruity: Notes of apple, pear, and citrus are common in younger cognacs.
  • Floral: Older cognacs often exhibit floral notes like jasmine and iris.
  • Spicy and Woody: XO and older cognacs may have spicy and woody notes due to longer aging in oak barrels.

Pairing with Food and Occasions

  • Food Pairings: Cognac pairs well with various foods, including cheese, chocolate, and savory dishes. VS is great for cocktails, VSOP for dining, and XO for after-dinner drinks.
  • Occasions: Choose cognac based on the occasion – casual gatherings, special celebrations, or as a thoughtful gift.


Congratulations! You now have the knowledge and tools to shop for cognac online or at your local retailer confidently.

When selecting, consider factors like age, quality, price, and personal preferences.

VS cognac is perfect for mixing and casual drinking, while VSOP offers a more complex flavor suitable for sipping.

For a truly special experience, opt for an XO cognac with rich, deep flavors.

Don’t be afraid to explore lesser-known brands that offer excellent value; take advantage of expert recommendations and tasting events.

Cheers to your next cognac-shopping adventure!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Considered the Best Cognac in The World?

The best cognac is subjective, but some renowned brands include Rémy Martin Louis XIII, Hennessy Paradis Imperial, and Courvoisier L’Esprit. Ultimately, it depends on personal taste preferences.

How Do I Choose the Best Cognac?

Consider your budget, the occasion, and your taste preferences. Look for age statements (VS, VSOP, XO), read reviews, and try different brands to find your favorite.

What is the Number 1 Cognac?

Hennessy is the world’s best-selling cognac brand, but the “number 1” cognac is subjective and depends on individual taste preferences and criteria.

What is the Order of Quality of Cognac?

The quality of cognac, from youngest to oldest, is as follows: VS (Very Special), VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale), Napoléon, XO (Extra Old), and Hors d’âge.

What is the Smoothest Cognac?

The smoothest cognac is often considered from the XO (Extra Old) or Hors d’âge categories, as they are aged longer, resulting in a more mellow and refined flavor profile. However, smoothness can vary depending on the brand and individual taste preferences.

Viktor Edwards
Viktor Edwards

Viktor Edwards brings over a decade of experience to his craft, having honed his skills in some of the most renowned establishments. A graduate with a degree in Culinary Arts from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Viktor's journey into the world of fine drinks began shortly after completing his education. His career took off when he joined our website's team in 2021, bringing with him a passion for creating innovative beverages that tantalize the palate while offering a nod to classic flavors. Beyond his professional pursuits, Viktor is an avid cyclist and enjoys exploring the great outdoors, believing that inspiration can be found in the natural world around us.

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