Review: Cognac Pitaud (Basic Range) vs. Remy Martin XO Excellence, or: 1914 wasn’t so bad after all

Cognac Pitaud

As I love to sip a fine cognac from time to time, I would like to tell you about this discovery: the Pitaud Cognac range. These bottles (basic range: V.S., V.S.O.P., X.O., Extra, but there are three others: Borderies, Petite Champagne and the oldest one, the Albert Pitaud) mostly outrank their famous rivals within the same price category, and from younger makes I only remember the cask-strength BACHE Gabrielsen Pure & Rustic (~ 30 y.o.)  that can compete. Many connoisseurs claim, the EXTRA would rule the price category below 1000 Euro at a price of about 300 Euro. I wanted to check this out.

The founder Albert Pitaud (1882 – 1968) was called to serve in WWI. in 1914. Before he went he made made sure that his dear Cognacs were safe and sound: he filled them into oak casks and dug them in the ground. And until today, some Cognac still matures in these casks that were put into the family vaults after the war. Actually, even today every Pitaud Cognac contains parts of the 1914 Eaux-de-Vies! So 1914 wasn’t only bad after all… . The producers explain that their success stems from a rigorous selection of grape types and grapes and the use of smaller stills, which helps the character of the „bonne chauffée“ at the second distillation.

Tasting the Range

I am going to taste the V.S. (at least 4  y.o., Limousin Oak), the V.S.O.P. (at least 6 y.o.), the XO (average age of 22 years recently, now raised to 35 y., much longer than other X.O. Cognacs) and the sought-after Extra (50 y.o. Cognacs as an average, many parts were distilled by Albert Pitaud himself prior to 1968, multi-award-winner), which is actually said to be better than the oldest Pitaud Cognac called ‚Albert Pitaud‘ (1914, Petite Champagne, unblended). To have a reference, I also reviewed a renowned benchmark Cognac, the Remy Martin XO Excellence. This was still done in German, but soon, all reviews will be in English only.

Pitaud Cognac V.S. 40%

Angenehm rund, viel Kraft, Zigarrenkiste, Orangenzesten, Petrolnoten (altes Autan Mückenspray), Datteln, Kirschen,Rosinen, rote Trauben, Vanille, Mentholrauch, Piniennadeln, Edelholz, grüne Bananenschale, Blüten und Rumanklänge.

Score: 87


Pitaud Cognac V.S.O.P. 40%

Tiefer und dunkler, ja geheimnisvoller als sein jüngerer Bruder, insgesamt auch balancierter: Maraschinokirschen, Edelholz, Waldboden, Vanille, Zigarrenschachtel, Orangenzesten, Rosinen, grüne Bananenschale, Honig, Petrolnote, Demerara-Zucker, Zimthauch und Lebkuchen.

Score: 89


Pitaud XO 40%

Das Konzentrat des VSOP, Aromen hier wesentlich dichter verschmolzen, schöne Reife; auch hier die Petrolnote, jedoch dezenter, Waldbeeren und Waldhonig, Kirschen, Datteln, dunkles Edelholz, Piniennadeln, Orangenzesten, dunkle trockene Erde, Mentholrauch, Vanille, Demerara-Zucker; Persipanspur; Im Geschmack mit dichter Viskosität kommt noch eine feine Nuance Trüffelpraline mit dunkler Schokolade hinzu.

Score: 90+

Pitaud Extra 40% (limited to 300 bottles per year, mostly 1955, 1956 and 1957 distillation), version before 2011

Ein wenig  anders als die jüngeren Pitauds, wie ein feiner alter Speyside-Whisky, keine Offnotes, kristallin-dextroseartige Fruchtpalette mit viel Honig, Capuccino-Keksen, Passionsfrucht, Pfirsich, Cassis, Orangenzeste, Trauben, Rosinen, Vanille, Nüssen, Rancio, dezentes Holz und Süßholz, Toffeekaramell, Marzipan, edle Gewürze; Komplexer geht es kaum! Alte Bowmore und Lochside Whiskys lassen im Geschmack grüßen bei kristalliner Dextrosefrucht, natürlichem Karamell, Beeren, Trauben und Cassis ohne Ende, dazu eine edle zurückhaltende Balance. Wow! Und außerdem auch noch endlos im Abgang. Der kann es mit den besten Whiskys und R(h)ums aufnehmen!

Score: 94 (!!!) for the version before 2011, after: 92+;

Remy Martin XO Excellence

Heller in Farbe und Charakter als die Pitauds, eher Zitronenzesten, weniger Holzeinfluss, was ihn weniger reif wirken lässt; Pfirsich, Petrolnoten, Piniennadeln, Rhum Agricole-Hauch, Zimt, Asche, Toffee, Vanille, eher gefällig denn komplex, aber doch gut; Grapefruitsaft leitet den Geschmack über in den traubenbetonten Abgang.

Score: 87-


In my tasting session the Pitauds really convinced me. Especially the XO and the Extra proved that Cognac isn’t dead. If you want to know more about this brand and their products, please click the following picture of Cognac vinyards – it might change your perspective on the ‚unsexy‘ French spirit.


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