This bottle cost £5.
This one £6.25.
Which one to purchase exercises many a customer.
Do you go for the big brand Cognac?
Or the lottery of a supermarket own label Brandy?
Being a blogger I purchased both – with the express intention of doing a back-to-back taste comparison.
Honouring accepted practice I started with the lowest ABV first.
Sainsbury’s Napoleon Brandy VSOP, 36%
Now it doesn’t state Sainsbury’s on the front of the rather plain label – but it’s clearly displayed on the rear.
There’s a confusing trio of terms giving mixed messages.
‘Napoleon’ denotes aged in oak & ‘Aged 3 Years’ is the youngest of the blending components – but ‘VSOP’ suggests 4 years in Cognac terms. Perhaps it doesn’t mean the same for Brandy?
Presented in a plastic bottle at 36% & labelled as Brandy clearly reduces the costs – but does it impact on the flavour?
Golden brown in colour. Soft nose of gentle sweet dark plums follows through into a mild – yet rich & warming – palate. Develops a slightly prickly finish fading slowly away.
An attractive easy going brandy with a touch of flair on the rear.
Courvoisier VSOP Cognac, 40%
Courvoisier pours an identical colour to Napoleon. The nose is rather shy too – but lifted by hints of woodiness. A similar mild palate grows with tannic spiciness on the rear.
The woody oakiness lifts this Cognac’s appeal.
For such a large price difference I was expecting a lot more from Courvoisier.
What I experienced were 2 very similarly tasting brandies with only the extra ageing giving an oaky lift to the cognac.
Given Sainsbury’s lists the 70cl bottles at £11.50 for Napoleon & £38 for Courvoisier – I’d rather spend my money exploring other brandy varieties before choosing the big brand again.
Prices listed March 2023 on Sainsbury’s webpage here.
Courvoisier website here.