Courvoisier Price, Sizes & Buying Guide

Courvoisier is a cognac that is produced in the town of Jarnac in the Charente region of France.

Courvoisier is the youngest of the “big four” cognac houses having been founded in 1828 by Felix Courvoisier. The other cognac houses are Hennessy, Remy Martin, and Martell.

Courvoisier differs from the other big cognac houses as its distilling operation is a small part of its production. Courvoisier has contracts with over a thousand wine-making families and distillers.

The product received from these distillers all has different qualities and styles due to the variety of soils, stills, and cellars of the contracted distillers.

Courvoisier considers this to be their strength as it leads to a broad range of tastes and styles from which to blend.

History of Courvoisier

Emmanuel Courvoisier and Louis Gallois started a wine and spirit distribution company in the Parisian suburb of Bercy and were traders for the best cognacs of the region.

They decided to become cognac producers to ensure they were selling high-quality cognac.

IN 1828 Felix Courvoisier and Jules Gallios took over the company from their respective fathers and in addition to retaining their Headquarters in Bercy established a new company in Jarnac in the heart of the Cognac region to focus solely on cognac.

Felix Courvoisier died in 1866 with no male heir leaving the management to his nephews the Curlier brothers who ran the business as Currlier Brothers & Cie. In 1869 NapoleonIII granted Courvoisier the title of “Official Supplier to the Imperial Court”

Two Anglo-French brothers the Simons bought the company in 1909. They operated a major wine distribution in Paris and another in London which was already Courvoisier’s main distributor in the UK.

The Simons brothers adopted the slogan “the Brandy of Napoleon” and introduced the silhouette of the emperor’s crest which In 1950 was applied to the distinctively shaped Josephine bottle. This packaging helped establish Courvoisier as an internationally recognized brand.

Courvoisier expanded rapidly but the Simons were forced to obtain financial backing. In 1964 the Simons family sold the business to Hiram Walker, who was the US distributor of Courvoisier.

There were several changes of ownership and Courvoisier is now owned by Beam Global, part of Fortune Brands.

How is Courvoisier Cognac Made?

The cognac region has 6 sub-regions (crus) with variations in soil and climate. Courvoisier uses only grapes from four of these crus. Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, and Fins Bois to produce their cognac.

There are 3 types of grapes grown in the cognac region. Ugni Blanc, FolleBlanche, and Colombard. 95% of the grapes grown in the region are Ugni Blanc due to its resistance to frost. pests and ‘grey mold. It produces a wine with high acidity and fairly low alcohol content.

The Cognac region is a controlled designation of origin or AOC (Appellationd’OrigineControlee) with many regulations controlling the quality of all styles of Cognac within the region.

These regulations forbid Cognac producers from adding sugar or sulfur to their wines

Harvesting of the grapes begins in October. The grapes are pressed and allowed to ferment naturally for approximately seven days transforming the grape sugars into wine.

Distillation then commences and must be completed by the 31st of March.

Distillation

Cognac must be distilled twice. For many of the crus, Courvoisier distills the first still on lees (dead yeasts cells) which adds complexity. The ideal strength of the wine to be distilled is 8.5-9% ABV.

The copper pot still used for the first distillation must contain a maximum of 140 hectoliters of wine and is distilled for twelve hours resulting in a final ‘cut’ distillate with a strength of 28-30% ABV.

The second distillation occurs in a smaller still that must contain a maximum of 25 hectoliters of the first distillate. The final product is separated into 3 parts. The head, the heart, and the tails.

The clear, pure liquid from the heart known as Eaux-de-vie is now ready for aging.

Aging and Blending

The Eaux-de-vie of approximately 70% ABV is aged in barrels handcrafted from two varieties of oak. The Troncais isfine-grained and the Limousin is a medium-grain oak. Courvoisier uses both to extract its aromatic style.

According to the AOC, an Eaux-de-vie must spend a minimum of two years aging in oak barrels The Eaux-de-vie for Courvoisier is aged in newly filled barrels for a period and then transferred to older casks for the long aging process.

Blending is the heart of cognac. As many as 100 different Eaux-de-vie can be blended to create a  Courvoisier cognac and can be from numerous vintages across many different vineyards and crus.

Courvoisier Price, Variations and Sizes

Courvoisier was granted the ‘Prestige de la France’ in 1984 for providing quality products in France and remains the only Cognac house to have received the award. The following are blends and Flavour Editions offered by Courvoisier.

Courvoisier VS

courvoisier vs

The VS in Courvoisier VS stands for Very Special. It is a blend where the youngest Eaux-de-vie in production has been in a cask for at least two years.

The mix of young and older cognacs gives VS a subtle fresh fruit and woody flavor.

Courvoisier VOSP

courvoisier vsop

VSOP stands for Very Special Old Pale. The youngest cognac in this blend must have matured in casks for a minimum of four years and is blended with casks up to 12 years old.

It is a blend of several crus with a perfect balance between Fins Bois, Grande, and Petit Champagnes.

Courvoisier VOSP is a well-balanced cognac with notes of peach and toasted almond with a gentle hint of vanilla and jasmine.

Courvoisier XO

courvoisier xo

Courvoisier XO is a blend of Eaux-de-vie that has matured from 11 to 25 years. It is a complex cognac with a velvety texture and aromatic bouquet, laced with hints of crème Brulee, candied orange, and iris flower.

Courvoisier 21 Year Old Cognac

Courvoisier’s 21-Year-Old marks the first time that a cognac from a Top house has been released with an age statement.

This cognac is blended from Eaux-de-vie which has matured for no less than 21 years allowing the maturing cognac to achieve its full aroma and flavor potential that is fruity and rich.

Courvoisier L’Esprit de Courvoisier

L’Esprit de Courvoisier is one of the world’s most highly regarded Cognacs made from 200-year-old Eaux-de-vie and has a serious status symbol.

Average Retail Prices for Courvoisier Cognac

Type

Size

Price

Courvoisier VS

375 ml

$18

Courvoisier VS

750 ml

$20

Courvoisier VS

1000 ml

$38

Courvoisier VS

1750 ml

$50

Courvoisier VSOP

750 ml

$30

Courvoisier XO

750 ml

$100

Courvoisier L’Esprit de Courvoisier

750 ml

$4 500

Other Editions released by Courvoisier were:

  • Courvoisier Succession J.S. is an exclusive and limited edition created for the bi-centenary of Napoleon’s coronation. It is now a coveted collector’s item.
  • L’Essence de Courvoisier du Dragonwasreleased in 2012 to celebrate the Chinese year of the Dragon and comes in a Baccarat crystal bottle engraved with a golden dragon.

Alternatives/Comparisons of Courvoisier Cognac

Cognac is a specialized product that can only be produced in the Cognac area. There are four producers of Cognac of which Courvoisier is the youngest producer established in 1828. The other three are:

  • Hennessy – established in 1765 by Richard Hennessy
  • Martell – established in 1715 by Jean Martell
  • Remy Martin – established in 1724 by Remy Martin

How to Drink Courvoisier

how to drink courvoisier

Courvoisier should be drunk straight without any mix and at room temperature. The best glass for sipping Courvoisier cognac is a tulip glass sniffer that has a wide bowl that narrows toward the top.

Should ice or Mixes be added to your Courvoisier Cognac?

Despite the purist’s plea to drink cognac straight, Courvoisier is drunk with water by many people and is becoming popular in a wide variety of cocktails.

If you want to drink it with a mix then it is advisable to use the younger, less pricey Courvoisier VO.

FAQ’s

1. Will the quality of my Courvoisier Cognac remain the same from a bottle that I have owned for some time?

If your bottle has been stored in the correct conditions then the quality of your Courvoisier Cognac should have remained intact. The bottle should be stored upright, out of direct sunlight, and at room temperature.

2. How long may I keep an opened bottle of Courvoisier Cognac?

If it is stored in the right conditions it is recommended that you enjoy your Courvoisier within one year of opening. This will ensure you obtain the full benefit of its rich aromas and flavors.

3. How long does an unopened bottle of Courvoisier last?

When properly stored in a cool dry area away from direct sunlight a bottle of unopened Courvoisier Cognac has an indefinite shelf life.

Interesting Facts and Myths

Legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte visited the Courvoisier cellars in 1811 after enjoying what he tasted. There is however no documented proof of this.

Courvoisier features often in popular culture.

  • Cognac began enjoying a revival after a mention in Busta Rhyme’s 2002 song “ Pass the Courvoisier”, Part II.
  • American Rapper Eminem released the song “Godzilla (feat. Juice WRLD) in 2020 in which references are made to Courvoisier in the first verse.
  • Courvoisier is referenced often in the album Bam Bam by German hip-hop band Seeed.
  • During the infamous incident where Ozzy Osbourne urinated on the Alamo Cenotaph, it is on record that he had been drinking Courvoisier.
  • Stevie Nicks, while recording the Fleetwood Mac album rumors, claimed that Courvoisier made for an “excellent singing potion” and that she used it regularly to prepare her voice for studio recordings.