Meukow’s story began in the mid-19th century when the Russian tsar wanted to ensure the availability of good quality cognac. Two of Meukow’s brothers were sent to France and after several trips the brothers set up the company in the province of Cognac. However, the company did not remain in Russian ownership for very long, when a French gentleman was included to the shareholders, who anyway soon sold his ownership to Thomas Shepherd of Scotland. After the death of the Meukow brothers, Shepher became the sole owner. Before the First World War, the company was owned by the German Gustav Klaebich. However, during the war the company was taken over by the French state. The company remained active thanks to the company’s manager Harold Butler, who also became the company’s next owner for more than 50 years. The company then went to another owner until it was bought in 1979 by the French family business Compagnie de Guyenne, which is still owner of the Meukow today. The iconic panther bottle was formulated in 1995 and has been one of the reasons why Meukow has achieved its well-known position.
Meukow VS is blended from distillates produced in all six production areas in the cognac province. It is mid-priced, in about the same category as Martell and Courvoisier. In Estonia, a 50cl bottle is about € 20. Meukow cognacs are sold in more than 80 countries.
The aroma has apricot-like fruit, with a little raisin, leather and oak. The mouthfeel is rather oily and creamy. The flavors include honey, orange peel, vanilla, nutmeg and allspice. The taste is smooth and a little sweet, not as young and burning as many other VS cognacs. The taste is not particularly strong or complex, but very well balanced. Meukow is a few VS cognacs that can be easily sipped neat. It doesn’t feel as young as what VSs usually are. There might also be less added sugar than in the cheapest cognacs. A couple of ice cubes in a glass will soften the taste further and eliminate the alcohol burn almost completely. Meukow VS is such a valuable product that buying it for cocktail use feels a bit of a waste. It also doesn’t taste so strong, so at least in long drinks, the taste might stay quite lean.