The Extra offers a wonderful mahogany colour with warm copper highlights. The bouquet is very smooth, complex, developed aromas of aged port mixed with the scent of wooden cigar boxes, typical of old Grande Champagne cognacs, which appear after a very long ageing. Concentrated candied fruit aromas like apricot. The palate is supple, smooth, rich and luxurious, with an exceptionally long finish in which all the flavours combine in a subtle and complex harmony. Notes on the bouquet include the famous ‘rancio’ found in Grande Champagne cognacs distilled over lees and aged for several decades. To be enjoyed on its own or as an accompaniment for a special tasting experience beloved of both amateurs and the most experienced enthusiasts. An exceptional after-dinner drink thanks to its fruitiness and finesse.
'Cocoa-brown color; completely sediment-free. Initial whiffs detect mature, oaky, rancio-driven aromas of mushrooms, old leather books, walnut butter, Parmigiano Reggiano, milk chocolate, and carob; secondary inhalations discover deeper scents of black raisins, dates, figs, and candied almond. Entry impressions are highlighted by the creamy texture that supports the integrated flavors of dried fruits, nuts, clove, nutmeg, and quince; midpalate mirrors the entry, featuring deeper, more ponderous flavors of baked ham, jasmine, cake batter, gingerbread, and berry compote. Concludes lengthy, silky, and a touch smoky. Magnificent.’ 2019 Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆/Highest Recommendation, F. Paul Pacult, The New Kindred Spirits, August 2021. Inaugural Hall of Fame, F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal, 2011.
F. Paul Pacult is the pre-eminent spirit writer on the planet, having established Spirit Journal 30 years ago in 1991. And for his 20th anniversary in 2011, he created the Spirit Journal Hall of Fame and inducted five spirits: one Scotch, one Irish Whiskey, one Liqueur, one Grappa and one Brandy. So, after 20 years of tasting he selected just one Brandy, a Cognac, the incomparable Frapin Extra.
'Few houses in Cognac have the hallowed history of Frapin, still owned by the original family, who can trace their winegrowing and distilling back to 1270 (the current CEO is the 21st generation). Consider: The family’s coat of arms was bestowed by Louis XIV; the quill logo was designed in honor of famed author François Rabelais, whose mother was a Frapin; Gustave Eiffel constructed the building where the blending is carried out. On a tour, as we passed some cobwebbed old demijohns, I was casually told, ‘Here is the harvest of 1870.’ Jason Wilson, Vinous, September 2019.
Frapin is located in the centre of the Grande Champagne, Premier Cru du Cognac region in the sleepy little town of Segonzac, the finest designated region in Cognac. It is the only merchant located in the town and only sells Cognacs produced from grapes sourced from its own 240ha estate in the heart of the Grande Champagne region. The Frapin family have been wine growers since 1270, but until the 1980s the family’s primary business was as a distiller and supplier of mature Cognacs to Remy Martin, Hennessy and Courvoisier.
In 1984 the Cointreau family (direct descendants of the Frapins) ascended to the management of the company with Beatrice Cointreau at the helm. Since then Cognac Frapin has been re-invigorated and re-positioned as a producer of the very finest Cognacs in its own right, marketed under its own name.
At Frapin all the fruit for the Cognacs is grown on the estate and is usually harvested 2-3 degrees riper than the regional norm to bring extra flavour to the base wine. Distillation always takes place with the lees from fermentation, adding texture and length as well as extra dimensions of flavour complexity. The young Cognacs are aged for a good 2 years or more in new Limousin oak (much more than is typical), before being transferred to older barrels for the long haul. And whilst the average stockholding in the Cognac region is just on 7 years, Frapin currently holds 16 years in stock, highlighting the extra complexity that age brings to its range of Cognacs.
The ageing of the Cognacs at Frapin is further distinguished, with maturation taking place in one of two distinctly different environments. Long ageing in the humid cellars underground makes for a rich and powerful style, whereas the drier attics emphasise fruit and bring a finer and more elegant finish to the Cognac.