As with many luxury products, there’s Cognac and then, sir, there is Cognac.

By Ray Isle
Updated May 24, 2017

As with many luxury products, there’s Cognac and then, sir, there is Cognac. The Tesseron family has been in the Cognac business for over a hundred years, but they’ve stayed under the radar in the past, as their focus has been supplying the major houses with aged Cognacs to be used in top bottlings (their family cellar contains glass demijohns of spirits going back to the 1880s). They finally launched their own brand in 2003, and just have released a new “Signature Collection,” which I recently had the opportunity to taste. Admittedly, these Cognacs don’t come cheap. On the other hand, they are also extraordinarily good. Put it this way: If Bill Gates wanted to buy me a bottle, I’d say, “Gee, Bill, that’s a mighty generous gesture.” And then I’d drink it, happily.

Tesseron XO Passion ($300). Aged an average of 15 years, this elegant, light-bodied blend of Cognacs from various parts of the region—about 30 different components are used—has delicate aromas of toffee, candied orange peel and spice.

Tesseron Extra Légende ($500). Solely sourced from Cognac’s Grand Champagne region, this amber-gold hued Cognac carries a little more wood spice than the Passion, with deeper fruit notes as well. It’s aged, as Albert Tesseron puts it, “for one generation,” meaning 25-plus years.

Tesseron Trésor ($1200). The pinnacle of the collection (only three thousand bottles were made), Trésor is a blend of Cognacs aged for 50-plus years. Its aroma has a distinctive rancio note, a kind of buttery/nut character that as Tesseron says, “You never find in Cognacs less than two generations old.” More viscous and dense in the mouth than the Légende, it’s still remarkably elegant and complex, with a flavor that lasts for minutes.