Frérot Cognac XO Assemblage de Crus Header

Frérot Cognac XO Assemblage de Crus Review

In Cognac Reviews by Lee Stang1 Comment


Frérot is the people’s Cognac, co-created by hundreds of Flaviar members whose voices guided us through a crowdtasting. It is a sublime and wonderfully complex Spirit blended from several batches of very old Eaux-de-vie originating from all 6 Cognac regions (Crus): an “Assemblage de Crus.” Non-chill filtered and slightly higher in alcohol, Frérot could be dubbed a Cognac for Whiskey lovers. We simply call it “the people’s Cognac.”Flaviar
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Frérot Cognac XO Assemblage de Crus


  • DISTILLER: Various, Cognac, France. Released by Flaviar.
  • MASH BILL: Blended from several batches of very old Eaux-de-vie originating from all 6 Cognac regions (Crus): an “Assemblage de Crus.”
  • AGE: A blend of 20 year to 35-year Cognacs. Aged in French Oak barrels
  • YEAR: 2018
  • PROOF: 84 (42% ABV) Non-Chill Filtered
  • MSRP: $130 non-member cost at Flaviar
  • BUY ONLINE: Flaviar.com
NOSE: Honey | Raspberry | Hints of Pepper and Smoke

TASTE: Thin mouth feel | Smokey Pepper | Raspberry | Tobacco | Hint of spice

FINISH: A short finish with some tobacco left on the tongue. Spicy pepper builds over time.

SHARE WITH: I would share this with Cognac fans who want to try something new.

WORTH THE PRICE: Compared to other XO Cognacs, the price is very reasonable.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: At this price for a bottle I always say try before you buy. In this case that may be somewhat difficult unless you join Flaviar or know someone who is a member and has a bottle or might be able to get a sample.

OVERALL: I like an occasional XO Cognac. In my opinion, the opportunity to sit and sip a Louis XIII Cognac is one of the most incredible spirits experiences one can have. Of course, Louis is far above a XO Cognac. After reading the story of how the Frérot XO Cognac came to be (see the Brand Notes), I was very excited to try this. The nose on this Cognac is fabulous with a mixture of sweet, smoke and spice. It says this is one great pour. The taste however destroys that notion. It does no justice to the nose. I found it to be very thin with very little flavor. It was difficult to pull out a lot of tasting notes. It did leave a tongue coating that reminded me of tobacco smoke. Not completely unpleasant but it did not do the trick for me. Given that every one’s palate is different others may have a different experience.

The whole crowd-tasting experiment is very interesting to me and it is obvious that Flaviar put a lot of time and effort in producing this Cognac. Also, there are numerous favorable quotes about Frérot on the Flaviar website. I also find the concept of Flaviar very interesting as well. For me, however, this bottle is a pass.

You can find a very good primer on Cognac here and Cognac for bourbon drinker tips here.

Learn more about Lee’s whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

The Making of Frérot XO Cognac

The journey began in 2016, when a small Flaviar expedition, myself included, took off on a road trip to the southwest of France—the Cognac region, to be exact. Our mission was simple and a not-so-unpleasant one: meet with a list of Cognac producers on their home turf, discuss juice, taste their drops and identify several contenders for Flaviar’s first Cognac.

Along the way, we enjoyed some of the finest scenery and delicacies the French countryside has to offer. Purely for research purposes, of course.

Together with the Cognac masters of the Universe, we worked our way through an extensive range of Cognacs aging in their cellars. No, no—not all in one sitting. The matter took a few decadently delicious days.

Year 2018: The Crowdtasting

After the epic trip was over, we knew we were still far from done. We’ve been exchanging, tasting and debating various samples of Cognac blends for almost 2 years. Our goal was to find three fairly different high quality XO blends showcasing a wide range of flavor Cognac has to offer and that would be tasted and judged by the people – the members of our community.

Finally, in the beginning of this year, everything and everyone was ready to bring in the most important crowd; the Members. It was time to conduct our first ever crowdtasting!

This was the most important part of the process; putting three exemplary XO Cognacs with their variety of characteristics in front of our Members and asking them what they think. We really wanted to make sure Flaviar Members’ voices got heard and were reflected in the final expression of Frérot. Responsible, but fulfilling task we gladly took on.

A total of 800 Tasting Boxes were sent to our Members, along with a few spirits writers and bloggers. Each Tasting Box included three XO Cognacs—but very little information on them, so as not to influence the tasters in any way.

There was also an accompanying questionnaire to fill out. While the questionnaire asked our Members for their favorite expression, we also wanted to get some more complex/qualitative feedback on the flavor profiles and their preferences, the level of sweetness, and alcohol level they preferred the most. Data? Lots of data. Yes!

The result? What is the people’s Cognac like?

Combing through the votes and reviews gave us a very clear idea of the sort of Cognac our members would appreciate, so we were pretty confident and ready to bring Frérot to life. Magnifique!

Frérot XO is an ‘Assemblage de Crus’, a blend where the Eaux-de-vie from all 6 Crus come together to create a beautifully multi-layered Cognac. I guess we could even count the fact that every Cru is represented, as yet another example of the Cognac democratization. Wow, people opted-in for the ‘all Crus’ Cognac and not just simply going for the Grande Champagne Cru? (Is it because they didn’t know which one is which? Perhaps.)

Shameless plug: Frérot is a rather rare example of small production XO Cognac—a blend of Eaux-de-vie that’ve been aged for a minimum of 20 and up to 35 years in French oak barrels. Produced using centuries-old tradition, but with one important twist: the input of Flaviar Members as co-creators.

TASTING NOTES

This blend offers a rich profile, with delicious hints of candied fruits, fresh raspberry, blond tobacco, spices (cinnamon, timut pepper, cardamom), marzipan and dried Iris flower. It is finished with elegant, smokey hints and the infamous “rancio”.



Frérot Cognac XO Assemblage de Crus Background Info

Flaviar introduces Frérot XO Cognac: the first ever Cognac created through crowdtasting

Spirits Club Brings Flavor to the People by Involving 800 Members in the Crowdtasting for the Creation of its Private Label Cognac

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(New York, May 8th) Launching this Spring, Frérot XO Cognac Assemblage de Crus gives rise to a new order in the world of fine spirits –a Cognac created by the people. Flaviar, the membership only spirits club, not only offers unique spirits to members, but has now offered members the chance to co-create their own spirit for the first time. With the aim of bringing Cognac to new audiences Flaviar has democratized the spirits world and asked its members to help craft this release, with 800 involved in the crowdtasting. Introducing Frérot, the People’s Cognac.

“With ‘Flavor to the People’ being Flaviar’s mission from the start, we could hardly think of a better challenge to take on as we set out creating our next very own spirit,” said Grisa Soba, the co-Founder of Flaviar and spirits maverick. “We wanted to address this by including the people-our members-in the creation of Frérot.”

Working with several Cognac producers, the founder of Flaviar identified several of the best drops of Cognac that showcased a wide range of Cognac flavor. Three, high quality XO blends were then selected for the crowdtasting and shared with members in an exceptional tasting box delivered to members’ homes.  With many the crowdtasting being traditional whiskey drinkers, the feedback on flavor profile, alcohol level, blend of crus, sugar content and chill filtration reflected this palate. This is the Bourbon drinker’s Cognac.

The result? 2000 bottles of an exquisite assemblage de crus XO Cognac, non-chill filtered and bottled at 42% ABV, slightly higher than typical Cognacs. Aged in French oak barrels for a minimum of 20 and up to 35 years, Frérot is incredibly deep in flavor with a hint of spice, but also approachable – a structure slightly reminiscent of old Bourbon. At the core fo the Frérot’s ethos is full transparency on each of these elements – something less common in the world of Cognac. Translating in French as a term of endearment among friends, Frérot is the Cognac created with friends, for friends.


Disclaimer: Flaviar provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.


About the Author
Lee Stang

Lee Stang

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Lee’s bourbon journey started with one mistaken gulp of bourbon and coke as an eight-year-old. While bourbon was always part of his life, Lee followed a beer, wine path for the most part until a bartender poured him a taste of Buffalo Trace about ten years ago. It was at that point Lee’s love of bourbon really took off. Not only does Lee enjoy a good pour of bourbon but he is more than willing and excited to talk about it. Lee believes that bourbon, and for that matter all spirits, is enhanced by the experience of good company, good conversation and good bars. The combination leads to great stories. Say hi to him when you see him. Lee lives in Leesburg, VA, with his wife, best friend, and drinking partner, Patti. You might find her having a bourbon as well. Both Lee and Patti like to read mystery thrillers and travel. Most likely the travel leads to visits to new bars.

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