Cognac Aroma Wheel

The Cognac Aroma Wheel is the result of 4 days of intensive tasting and discussion by 50 top international sommeliers, Cognac cellar masters together with spirits specialists and writers on wine and spirits from all over the world…

Over 100 fine and rare Cognacs were tasted by the ‘noses’, using the tulip shaped glass they had elected to be the best for tasting Cognac VSOP and XO in its pure form. Once the resulting 5,000 tasting notes were compiled and analysed, the final list revealed 63 aromas. Of these, the five principle aromas that characterise Cognac were found to be: vanilla, prune, caramel, orange and apricot.
Reinventing the wheel?

The format of the Cognac Aroma Wheel differs from other versions in that it categorises aromas by seasons.

Cognac’s subtle floral notes recall spring, while its headier notes of apricots, citrus and exotic fruit conjure up a warm summer’s day.

Autumn’s ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ are reflected in the spicier notes of ginger, liquorice, vanilla and caramel followed by the powerful wintry scents of coffee, tobacco, toast, cedar and sandalwood…

Cognac now has its own Aroma Wheel. Developed during the second International Cognac Summit, organised by the Bureau National Interprofesionel du Cognac (BNIC) and held earlier this year under the theme ‘Aromas at the Heart of Cognac’, the Cognac Aroma Wheel is the result of 4 days of intensive tasting and discussion by 50 top international sommeliers, Cognac cellar masters together with spirits specialists and writers on wine and spirits from all over the world…

Reinventing the wheel: Cognac aromas unveiled

Jean Lenoir, who created ‘Le Nez du Vin’, led the daily workshops that were designed to research and describe the aromatic make up, of what Isa Bal, Head Sommelier of the Fat Duck restaurant in Bray and current holder of the Best Sommelier of Europe title described as, “… one of those noble spirits of fantastic quality with brilliant complexity of aromas.”

Over 100 fine and rare Cognacs were tasted by the ‘noses’, using the tulip shaped glass they had elected to be the best for tasting Cognac VSOP and XO in its pure form. Once the resulting 5,000 tasting notes were compiled and analysed, the final list revealed 63 aromas. Of these, the five principle aromas that characterise Cognac were found to be: vanilla, prune, caramel, orange and apricot.

Reinventing the wheel? The format of the Cognac Aroma Wheel differs from other versions in that it categorises aromas by seasons.

Cognac’s subtle floral notes recall spring, while its headier notes of apricots, citrus and exotic fruit conjure up a warm summer’s day.
Autumn’s’mists and mellow fruitfulness’ are reflected in the spicier notes of ginger, liquorice, vanilla and caramel followed by the powerful wintry scents of coffee, tobacco, toast, cedar and sandalwood..

As Jérôme Durand, Director of Marketing and Communications at the BNIC, explains, “Not only do Cognac styles range from fresh and light to rich and deep, one’s appreciation of any Cognac will be different in different circumstances. It seemed to us that as the Aroma Wheel is designed to help consumers better understand and appreciate Cognac’s complex flavours and aromas, and help professional such as sommeliers and educators guide the public in this, it would be a good idea to link it to something like the seasons, which everybody can relate to. Cognac’s palette of flavours fits the seasonal cycle perfectly, reflecting its aromatic richness.”

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