Renault Carte Noire XO Cognac (40%)

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Renault Cognac House is a creation of Jean Anton Renault. It was founded in 1835 in the town of Cognac. Jean is said to be a great traveler and innovator, bringing new ideas of cognac making from his travels. Renault was the first manufacturer to bottle cognac before export, instead of transporting it in barrels. Bottling retained the aromas of cognac much better, so soon this practice became common in all cognac houses.

Over the years, Renault experienced many acquisitions and mergers, until in 1991 it was acquired by Pernod Ricard. In 2010, it was resold to the Finnish company Altia, which is also the current owner. Renault has a long tradition in Finland, it was imported to Scandinavia as early as 1855. Renault XO is one of the cheapest XO cognacs, a 35 cl bottle costing only € 20 in Estonia. While the same size bottle of Martell or Hennessy may cost more than 100 euros.

The aroma is soft and pleasant. Dried fruit, raisins and oak. The taste is smooth with quite decent alcohol burn. It has marmalade-like sweetness, with raisins and prunes. The alcohol bites surprisingly strongly, although the cognac is said to be blended from distillates matured for an average of 12 years. The aftertaste has dried fruit and a slight peppery burn. The taste is short and quite mediocre. Mostly it is sweet and sharp, fairly fruity, but leaves a bitter tinge in the mouth.

Renault has the dignity and maturity that age brings, but also the burning and pepperiness of youth. Cognac can be easily recognized as XO, but it is not so high-quality blend. It is comparable to other manufacturers’ VSOP categories, as is also the price of the product. Because of the low price, it’s just worth it, but by no means memorable and one I would like to buy again.


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