If the Best Way to Learn About Cognac Is to Drink It, This Event Will Be a Delicious Education

The Curve is dedicated to exploring and feeling out the corners of complex, multi-dimensional, often hierarchical and always completely random subjects. The aim is to inform readers – in progressive, graduating fashion – on everything from gin and poems to cheeseburgers and trees.

Photo credit: Alexis Berg (supplied)


For this special GOODS edition of The Curve in anticipation of EAT! Vancouver’s new Signature Fine Cognac event, we reached out to Legacy Liquor‘s Brand Manager, Darryl Lamb, for a cognac primer. As a co-host of TSN’s Hand Crafted Spirits show, Lamb is a wealth of knowledge on all things spirit-related, cognac included, and we couldn’t think of a better person to pour us this particular learning curve…


A good place to start your cognac journey is at the free counter tastings at your local liquor store. Importers will often pour a single brand and all three levels of their house style (VS, VSOP, and XO). You’ll get a free sample with a 5 minute overview of the basics of cognac and the house. Join the Legacy Liquor Store email list because we usually have one free cognac tasting a month.

Suggested reading:

“Cognac: The Story of the World’s Greatest Brandy”, by Nicholas Faith.


Readers at this level will now want to identify the style of cognac that they enjoy. I use a scale of the big three (Hennessey, Remy Martin, and Courvoisier) because they are ubiquitous. Hennessey is the driest, Remy Martin is in the middle, and Courvoisier is the richest. I recommend tasting each of those house’s VSOP together. A flight of Hennessy VSOP, a Remy Martin VSOP, and a Courvoisier VSOP is a great way to find your comfort level. If the Hennessey sings to you, look for cognacs that have more dry fruits, but if the Courvoisier is more your speed then look for the cognac houses that go more for flavours of raisins, toffee, and stone fruit. The Parq Hotel has a fantastic selection of Cognac at most of their bars. You should be able to get a pour of the big three there quite easily.

This is also the perfect level to explore the EAT! Vancouver Fine Cognac event. You know you like it and you want to learn more, you won’t find a better place in Vancouver to do it.

Further reading:

Nicholas Faith’s “Cognac”. Originally published in 1987, it is constantly being updated as new houses and styles emerge. It also gives you advice on glassware and even which styles rock with Cigars.


While there is no exclusive certification program in cognac yet (Legacy is launching one in 2019) there are excellent spirit-focused education programs within the WSET program. Cognac is heavily focused upon and students emerge with a very good understanding of production methods, farming techniques, quality control regions, and the history of Cognac. If you want to make Cognac a career, it is a very good idea to get WSET Spirit certification or the Certified Specialist of Spirits program.


Get on a plane! It is time to visit Cognac which is a small town just one hour south of Bordeaux. Explore the various houses (there are over 200 producers of cognac) and immerse yourself in the culture of this incredible single region spirit. Most of the houses are so small that they only service regional markets in France or Europe, so the only way to get to taste those unicorns is at the cellar door.


EAT! Fine Cognac is Vancouver’s new luxurious cognac tasting event. For more than 400 years, Cognac stands as one of the world’s greatest spirits. Centuries of experience of the growers and the meticulous attention to detail from the producers, with only the finest ingredients, has made Cognac perfection in a glass.

The world’s finest Cognacs convene in one room for your hedonistic enjoyment. To heighten the experience, delight in food pairings to complement the tasting.

Guests will have the rare opportunity to experience more than 35 of the world’s most exclusive Cognacs, many currently unavailable in BC, but during the event all Cognacs presented will be available for purchase on site from Legacy Liquor.

Limited to 200 guests. TICKETS HERE.