Cognac VS tasting notes 2

Cognac vs V.S, the Big Match

Five classic V.S : Camus, Courvoisier, Frapin, Hennessy and Martell. Let’s go into this big cognac VS match !
Cognac VS tasting notes



Among the best sellers in the cognac world on the table. Young products, 3 out of 5 from the Big Four (Hennessy, Martell, Courvoisier, and R√©my Martin). All listed for sale on various websites around 35‚ā¨ for 70cl. Well, I don’t know if it’s a good idea, but I hardly think it needs to be done as I aim to review every kind of cognac for, from the youngest to…well, the paradise! So here we go for this crucial comparison.


  • Camus VS: Gold with olive lights. Small irregular tears
  • Courvoisier VS: Gold, olive lights. Small regular tears
  • Frapin VS: Old Gold. Medium tears
  • Hennessy VS: Orange, olive lights. Heavy irregular tears
  • Martell VS: Gold with brown light. Medium irregular tears

Well, VS is supposed to mean 2yo at least. So these five cognacs are way older or it isn’t their natural color? I think you probably know the answer.¬†


  • Camus VS: Very citrusy and acidic. Dusty nuts. A little of hazelnut cream. Freshly cut wood. Maple syrup and cider apple on final notes.
  • Courvoisier VS: Focused on the caramel. Salted butter caramel/caramel syrup. Light touch of cider apple.¬†Alcohol on final smells.
  • Frapin VS: Hazelnut cream. Old cardboard. Then more pleasant with young pears. A very little of honey. Peach syrup and few pastry scents for final notes.¬†
  • Hennessy VS: Fresh lemon juice. Very sugary apricot jam. Hints of honey and hazelnuts. Apple crumble. Syrupy scents. Little pastry notes. Alcohol on final smells. ¬†
  • Martell VS: Dry chestnut. Overripe apple. A little acidic. Cider apple. Acacia honey. Linseed oil.¬†

The Frapin VS is maybe the more¬†convincing for the nose part. The others aren’t very appealing. Let’s give them a chance with the palate.¬†¬†


  • Camus VS: Light texture (watery). Cardboard. Sanded wood. Pinesap. Simple syrup. Very acidic aromas. It ends very quickly. A little of apple juice on final notes.¬†
  • Courvoisier VS: Light texture, a bit syrupy. Simple Syrup. Tinned pears. Caramel syrup. It ends very quickly.¬†
  • Frapin VS: Light texture (watery). Fresh lemon juice. Chestnut dust. A little gluey and cardboard-y. A tad of roundness on final notes, something like apple syrup.¬†
  • Hennessy VS: Sweet texture. Candied lemon. Maple syrup. Maybe too sugary to be appreciated to its fullest.
  • Martell VS: Watery texture. ¬†Slight notes of apple crumble. A dash of white pepper and…nothing. As short as its age statement.

Some fake beauties, some almost tasteless eaux-de-vie. But this is my duty, I have to do this cognac VS match. Last chance with the last notes. 

Last Notes

  • Camus VS: Almond paste. Sanded wood. Grape juice. Green lemon zest. That’s all.
  • Courvoisier VS: Apple syrup. Caramel syrup. Licorice. Sugar and sugar again. A little of hazelnuts and bread dough. It ends on acidic notes with fresh lemon juice.¬†
  • Frapin VS: Chestnut cream. A great dash of vanilla. Orange zest. Ending on maple syrup and prunes juice. ¬†
  • Hennessy VS: Apple syrup. Cinnamon. Vanilla cream. Candied lemon. Very citrusy aftertaste.¬†
  • Martell VS: Cider apple. Caramelized nuts. Cardboard and cellulose. And…nothing.¬†

The Frapin VS is still the more¬†convincing after the whole tasting session. The Hennessy VS and the Courvoisier VS are¬†surprisingly almost acceptable on the palate,¬†even if they’re not very natural as their sugariness tends to¬†prove. Concerning the Camus VS and the Martell VS, my¬†opinion is that they have the name cognac, they taste a little like cognac and that’s all.¬†

My very subjective notes (/100):

  • Camus VS: 71
  • Courvoisier VS: 72
  • Frapin VS: 73+
  • Hennessy VS: 72+
  • Martell VS: 71

I could have stopped my comparative tasting session here, but I came up with an interesting idea. As it’s one of the most widespread ways of drinking cognac (especially for a cognac VS), I thought about adding tonic to these. Just 1,5cl for each (as I poured 2cl of each VS), the right amount of dilution to exhaust all the flavors and keep the original DNA of each cognac. I used the most common and one the less aromatic¬†tonic for this test (as you’ll see with¬†the picture below the following tasting notes).

With 1,5cl of tonic

  • Camus VS: Walnuts, vanilla cream, and earl grey tea for the nose. The palate now. Orange zest, tinned pears. Simple syrup. Fresh lemon juice. It’s better than neat. Acceptable.¬†
  • Courvoisier VS: Still on the caramel. Honey too. Few floral notes and almond pear complete the nose. Vanilla sweet, orange juice, and almond paste for the palate. A pleasant bitterness with orange zest on the aftertaste. A good one for cocktails, maybe less efficient than a¬†Vallein Tercinier VS.¬†
  • Frapin VS: Roasted almonds. Pistachio. Chestnuts. Caramel. An enthusiast nose. Let’s see the palate’s answer. Dry chestnuts. Grapefruit juice. Dry prunes. Hints of fruits to finish. Very efficient. It works.¬†
  • Hennessy VS: Raisins, quinces, caramel. Pleasant nose. Hints of apple syrup too. The palate now. Prunes cake. Raisins again. Green lemon juice. A little of pastry notes. Well, it’s as if this cognac was made to be diluted with tonic. Way more convincing than the neat tasting part. Like the Courvoisier, maybe a little less efficient than the Vallein Tercinier VS, but it does the job for sure.¬†
  • Martell VS: Apple cake, vanilla stick. A little of pastry notes. Green lemon zest. A shy nose. Cider apple. Cardboard. A little too acidic. The palate is on the same level. It’s weak. I know, it’s a cognac VS. But comparing to the others, it’s clearly the less interesting.
Cognac VS notes (very subjective and just for fun) with 1,5cl of tonic (/100): 
  • Camus VS:¬†74+
  • Courvoisier VS:¬†77+
  • Frapin VS:¬†77
  • Hennessy VS:¬†78+
  • Martell VS:¬†73

If you want to try this “cognac VS” experience by yourself

Next round: the VSOP big match!


Cognac VS schweppes tasting notes
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