I’ve long been a fan of cognac even before Busta Rhymes and P. Diddy’s hit 2002 song, “Pass the Courvoisier” which is practically an alternative national anthem in France and definitely a favorite tune of the very few who read this silly dog blog.
The problem is that I have Hors d’Age taste but a VS budget. That probably needs a little explanation.
Cognac is brandy sourced from the 190,000 acres Cognac region of France. It’s made by twice distilling various white wines to create spirits called l’eau de vie.
One of the white wines used is known as Ugni Blanc, pronounced “ooo-nee blonk” which makes me laugh every time.
Anyway, a variety of l’eau de vie are subsequently blended and aged to make cognac.
Cognac comes in different grades and as one ascends the quality scale, each grade is significantly more costly than the former because of a) the price of ingredients, b) the time spent aging and c) because the French are well known to be as avaricious as Scrooge McDuck on Black Friday.
Just in case you are naïve (French again, Evian backwards!) about this subject, here are the most common grades of cognac:
VS – Very Superior – aged at least two years and useful for making cocktails, de-greasing your Chevy’s engine block, removing tar from shoes and igniting as part of fancy desserts you ordered at an expensive restaurant in the hope you might later get past second base with Molly Kurtz back in 1973. Never mind that last part.
VSOP – Very Superior Old Pale – aged at least four years and useful for mixed drinks or sipping neat while looking like an Ervard Munch painting because of the burn as it excoriates one’s throat. Tasty over ice cream and makes a bitchin’ (hello 1970s adjective!) eggnog mixer. Righteous!
Extra – Extra, duh – aged at least 10 years. The yum-yum stuff you want to put in a snifter, warm in your palm and sip while discussing the pros and cons of Corinthian leather and pretending to be the Most Interesting Person in the World.
Hors d’Age – Beyond Age – Extraordinary product. A top hors d’age cognac like Remy Martin Louis XIII goes for $3,500 a bottle – at Costco. Now, before you start saying “oh, quality beyond age sounds like a description of me” remember that some of the l’eau de vie used in this cognac are over 100 years old. Come to think of it, that does sound just like you, and you, and you, too. You know who you are.
So, anyway, I was in my usual reclining chair. The chair that looks at a distance like an Eames original but up close screams pleather from Bob’s Discount Furniture and Taco Emporium. Maxwell was burrowed by my leg.
I was nipping on a cognac of such poor quality that le chateau on the bottle’s label had screen doors and its residents all wore wife beaters. French designer wife beaters. Monsieur Batteur de Femme so to speak.
Max was absorbed in his private reflections about whether Milk Bones were really made from milk.
I was pondering, as did Spinoza, Plato and Al Yankovitch before me, the essential tensions among compatibilism, free will and determinism.
Nah, nah, nah…you guys know that’s not even remotely true. I only get philosophical when trying to explain why anyone would remain loyal to the Denver Buncos after the dreadful season they have had so far.
Actually, I was just drinking my lesser known brand of cognac – “Saveur de Vieilles Chaussettes” – and recalling why the French language deserves to be mocked:
Consider the French word “oiseaux.”
– It means “birds.”
– It has seven letters. Not a single one is pronounced the way it should.
– Not a single, solitary, stinkin’ one.
– It is pronounced “WAZO” as in “I took it right up the old Wazo.”
– This is absolutely ridiculous and deserves mocking. Fight me.
Max wasn’t making much progress with his deliberations about the ingredients of Milk Bones and we both attributed our lack of deep thoughts to the swill in my balloon glass.
The little chien lunatique felt the fumes were having a deleterious effect on his mental acuity which, being a Maltese didn’t even begin to place him on the Mt. Rushmore of giant brains.
About this time, the Alpha Japanese Female passed by and announced she was compiling her holiday shopping plan. She coyly inquired if either of us “had any special requests to make of Santa this year.” I understood that to be a metaphor. I knew what she was up to; can’t fool me.
Having just imbibed a touch of my cognac, I could hardly speak but finally managed to gasp, “Hors d’age, hors d’age, hors d’age.”
“Don’t be silly,” she said. “You don’t know anything about horses.” She walked off.
Max just stared at me while shaking his confounded little Maltese head. “Vous êtes plus bête qu’une boîte de marteaux,” he mumbled, albeit with an excellent accent.
Indeed, sometimes I am dumber than a box of hammers.
Categories: The Dog From Rancho Cucaracha