Rémy Martin XO brandy (40% ABV) summary

Rémy Martin XO is a spirit that demands to be enjoyed in company (and in a tuxedo if you have one to hand). This classy cognac has been refined over decades, culminating in a buttery combination of fresh orange marmalade and warm spices that's as smooth as it is biting – though it bites in all the right places.


Who makes Rémy Martin XO cognac?

The history of this cognac house dates back to the 18th century. Rémy Martin, a young winemaker, started selling cognac under his own name in 1724, and by 1738, even King Louis XV was a fan, with the monarch recognising the quality of the cognacs with a royal decree.

When Paul-Emile-Rémy Martin took over in 1841, the business finally began growing into the globally renowned cognac house we know and love today.

Paul-Emile was responsible for introducing the centaur emblem to the company’s branding – the new logo was in an effort to develop the brand identity for growth abroad, which proved a resounding success.

What is the difference between cognac and brandy?

Whilst all cognacs are a brandy, not all brandies are a cognac. To be sold as a cognac the spirit must be made using specific grapes grown in the Cognac region, it must be twice distilled in copper pot stills and it must be aged at least two years.

What is a cru, and why is it important to this brandy?

To fully understand Rémy Martin cognac, one must understand what a cru is. A cru is a region – within Cognac there are six crus. A local authority ranks the crus by quality, with Grande Champagne being the most superior, and Petite Champagne being second.

In 1948, Rémy Martin decided that all its cognacs would be made from Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne crus. The decision was taken by André Renaud, the cellar master, but the move to luxury was cemented by his son-in-law, André Hériard Dubreuil, when he formed the Alliance Fine Champagne partnership with local winegrowers to guarantee the quality the house was striving towards.

What does Rémy Martin XO taste like?

Rémy Martin XO is an elegant cognac that wouldn’t feel out of place in a James Bond film. The nose is warm and buttery, evoking fresh brioche slathered in orange marmalade and served on a bed of jasmine. Mellow is the word often used to describe the XO’s palate, and it couldn’t be more apt – your tongue is enveloped by orange, vanilla, butter and pear, but it's kept interesting thanks to a biting spice. Clove and cinnamon charge ahead of hazelnut and pepper.

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This review was last updated in September 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.