Whilst these four dominate the market, there are more than 300 smaller brands that sell Cognacs produced from grapes often grown from their own family owned vineyards, although these products are often hard to find outside of France.
This site showcases some of the rarer Cognac-producing distilleries and producers available today.
Looking at the four major Cognac producers, each of them produce bottles made in their own particular house style, so it is worth considering the tasting notes of each bottle before purchasing.
For those looking to begin their tasting journey, it is recommended that you start with the Courvoisier V.S. Cognac, as this is an example of one of the sweetest and therefore more approachable Cognacs, whilst bottles such as Martell V.S. Cognac and Remy Martin X.O. Cognac are drier, more balanced, and far more complex.
How to Drink Cognac
Although Cognac may be similar in definition to other grape or fruit brandies, it has a remarkably different and unique taste profile due, in part, to the strict rules regulating its production.
When looking at what flavours and sensations you should expect when trying Cognac, there are a number of common flavours used to describe the tasting experience by the experts.
One can expect of almost any Cognac, regardless of age, to contain flavours of vine flowers, fresh fruits, sweet spices, such as vanilla and cinnamon, dried fruits, such as apricots or peaches, and candied fruits.
Beyond these, Cognac can develop flavours of chocolate, leather, Port or Sherry wine, toffee, and exotic spice the longer it is aged, explaining why well-aged Cognacs are so prized.