A Complete Guide to Courvoisier

Everything you need to know about this iconic cognac brand

Courvoisier is a well-known brand of cognac produced in the town of Jarnac, situated in the Charente region of France.

As the youngest and smallest among the “big four” cognac houses, which include Hennessy, Rémy Martin, and Martell, it has managed to establish a prominent presence in the industry.

Often referred to as “the Cognac of Napoleon,” Courvoisier’s connection to the famed French emperor has been a significant point of pride for the brand, and Napoleon’s image has even been used on limited editions.

The company continues to impress connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike with its innovation and craftsmanship in the art of cognac production.

What is Courvoisier?

Courvoisier is a renowned brand of cognac, with its production based in the town of Jarnac, situated in the Charente region of France.

It is the youngest and smallest member of the prestigious “big four” cognac houses, which also include Hennessy, Rémy Martin, and Martell.

Founded in 1828, Courvoisier has established itself as a producer of high-quality cognac, attracting recognition and appreciation worldwide. The brand offers a variety of cognacs, ranging from younger blends such as the Very Special (VS) to more prestigious and aged options like the Very Special Old Pale (VSOP).

The process of creating Courvoisier cognac involves the careful selection and blending of eaux-de-vie, a clear fruit brandy distilled from grapes.

These eaux-de-vie are then aged in oak barrels for a specified time, depending on the desired final product. This meticulous aging process results in the rich, complex flavors and aromas that Courvoisier is known for.

Both connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike can enjoy Courvoisier in different ways, from savoring it neat or on the rocks to incorporating it into classic and contemporary cocktails.

With its storied history and dedication to quality, Courvoisier continues to be a distinguished choice for those seeking a refined and flavorful cognac experience.

History of Courvoisier


The Courvoisier brand was officially founded in 1828 in Jarnac by Felix Courvoisier and Jules Gallois.

Its roots can be traced back to the suburbs of Paris, and it is attributed to French origin. The founders were inspired by the refined architectural style of Paris and built Maison Courvoisier as the focal point of the brand.

Growth and Expansion

Over the past two centuries, Courvoisier has established itself as one of the few household names in the cognac market.

The company has prospered, with its popularity steadily increasing over time. The Josephine bottle, launched in 1951, became synonymous with the brand and its distinct shape is still being used today.

Courvoisier’s presence in the international market has been strong, and its cognac has been appreciated globally. The brand has been committed to maintaining its tradition while still embracing modern techniques and innovation.

In its journey, Courvoisier has successfully enlarged its product range, going beyond its origins to create remarkable cognacs that have been loved by many.

Courvoisier Varieties

Courvoisier is a prestigious brand of cognac produced in the town of Jarnac in the Charente region of France.

There are several varieties of Courvoisier that differ in their aging process, quality, and flavor, including VS (Very Special), VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale), XO (Extra Old), and limited editions.


Courvoisier VS (Very Special) is a young and vibrant blend of cognac.

It features a fruity, delicate taste and a bouquet filled with ripe fruit and spring flowers. Aged for a minimum of two years in French oak barrels, this youthful cognac has a rich, fresh, and oaky aroma balanced with the vigor of its age.


The Courvoisier VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) variety is aged for a longer period than the VS, resulting in a more mature and complex flavor profile.

As the cognac matures, it develops a deeper and more refined taste with subtler notes of fruit and flowers. This well-balanced cognac is perfect for those who appreciate a drink with additional depth and character.


Courvoisier XO (Extra Old) represents the brand’s most luxurious and refined offering.

Aged for an extended period of time, this exquisite cognac features a rich, full-bodied flavor with hints of chocolate, caramel, and floral undertones. The aging process allows the cognac to develop a velvety texture and a sophisticated aroma, making it a favorite among connoisseurs.

Limited Editions

In addition to the main varieties, Courvoisier also produces limited edition cognacs to celebrate special occasions or to showcase unique blends.

These limited editions often feature rare eaux-de-vie sourced from specific terroirs and offer a distinct flavor profile. These special releases are sought after by collectors and enthusiasts for their unique qualities and exceptional taste.

Tasting Courvoisier

Serving Styles

Courvoisier can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, depending on personal preferences.

two glasses of cognac with ice next to a barrel

Here are a few serving suggestions:

  • Neat: Serve it at room temperature in a small snifter or tulip glass, giving it time to breathe and release its aromas.
  • On the Rocks: Pour over ice for a refreshing, chilled experience, allowing the flavors to slowly evolve as the ice melts.
  • Cocktails: Courvoisier can be the base for many sophisticated cocktails, such as the classic Sidecar, French 75, or Brandy Alexander.

Flavor Profile

The flavor of Courvoisier, a well-respected cognac, is rich and full-bodied.

man smelling a glass of cognac at a tasting

It typically exhibits the following tasting notes:

  • Stone fruit: A primary characteristic, with hints of peach, apricot, or plum mingling to create a subtle, fruity sweetness.
  • Almonds: A delicate nutty presence that adds complexity and depth to the palate.
  • Raisins: A trace of dried fruit, contributing to the rich flavor profile.
  • Sweet spice: A final touch that balances the overall taste, with hints of vanilla, cinnamon, or nutmeg.

Pairing Suggestions

When enjoying Courvoisier, consider the following pairing options to complement and enhance its flavors.

These foods will accentuate the flavor of Courvoisier:

  • Chocolate: The rich, dark flavors of quality chocolate can accentuate the sweetness and depth of the cognac.
  • Cheeses: Opt for aged, full-flavored varieties, such as Gouda, Comté, or Roquefort, which can stand up to the robust character of Courvoisier.
  • Fruit: Fresh fruit, particularly those with a light tartness like green apples or berries, can counterbalance the sweetness of the cognac and refresh the palate.


In summary, Courvoisier is a renowned cognac brand with a rich history and a strong connection to Napoleon Bonaparte.

The cognac produced by Courvoisier is unique due to its atypical production process, as the company controls every step but does not distill its own eaux-de-vie or own vineyards.

Although a proper understanding of Courvoisier’s unique production process is crucial for appreciating its character and complexity, the ultimate test lies in the tasting experience itself.

Courvoisier’s cognacs offer a range of flavors and aromas, allowing consumers to savor different vintages and regional variations.

Overall, Courvoisier remains a significant player in the cognac world, and its contributions to the industry are a testament to the brand’s commitment to quality and tradition.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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