Founded in 1853 along the Charentes River in Jarnac, France, Louis Royer is among the oldest and most famous of the Cognac houses. The craftsmen at Louis Royer hardly need to rely on innovation to make the spirit world stand up and take notice. Nevertheless that's the effect the release of Louis Royer V.S.O.P. Force 53 Fine Champagne Cognac has had on Cognac aficionados and enthusiasts alike.
The brandy is made from grapes cultivated in the two most prestigious appellations in France— the Petite Champagne and Grande Champagne crus, or growing regions. After the harvested grapes have been fermented, they are double-distilled on the lees in traditional copper alembic stills. The resulting eaux-de-vie is aged in select French Limousin oak barrels a minimum of 4 years, after which it is blended to achieve the desired taste profile.
The creative twist behind the release is that instead of being bottled at the standard 40% alcohol (80 proof), the creative artisans at Louis Royer decided to bottle this Fine Champagne Cognac at a lip-tingling 53% alcohol (106 proof). The reason is simple—the higher the alcohol content means that it is less diluted and therefore more flavorful.
A few sips are enough to make you wonder why more Cognac producers don't follow suit. It has a brilliant and vivacious character that's quite unlike any other expression from the famed Cognac house. Alone in the glass, Louis Royer V.S.O.P. Force 53 has a dark golden/amber hue, a satiny textured, medium-weight body and a wafting floral and fruit bouquet. Its generous aromatics are well worth the price of admission. The warm, slightly spicy entry quickly bathes the palate with the flavors of vanilla, fresh berries, zesty citrus and black plums with light floral notes. The finish is long, warm and satisfying.
This V.S.O.P. is a sophisticated treat. Its elevated strength affords consumers a Fine Champagne Cognac with more pronounced character. Allowing the spirit to breathe a little longer than usual will be well rewarded. Some may want to add a few drops of spring water to tame some of the Cognac's natural exuberance and help draw out its outgoing personality.
The V.S.O.P. is also an ideal choice to feature in a cocktail. It excels where other more reserved offerings might fail. It's hard to imagine this Cognac being upstaged by the other ingredients in a mixed drink.
À Votre Santé!