As temperatures begin to cool around the U.S., thoughts turn to dark spirits, roaring fires and comforting fall pastimes. Cigars. Introspection. Cardigan wearing. Are we suggesting you grow a beard, rent a cabin and get your Bon Iver on? Not exactly. But you should begin making your autumn drinking plans now, especially if your itinerary includes Las Vegas, where overwhelming options is the norm. Pull up a wingback chair, grab a snifter and check out these cozy Cognac hotspots.
At this high-limit gaming lounge at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Bellagio, assistant beverage director Ricardo Murcia maintains a tightly focused list of 19 labels. Top-of-the-line items include Hardy Perfection ($988 per serving or $20,000 a bottle), Hennessy Timeless ($875 per serving) and Courvoisier L’Esprit ($600 per serving). But the Louis XIII service is nonpareil. Prized for its individually numbered Baccarat crystal decanters, Remy Martin Louis XIII is now an attainable luxury as Club Privé recently began offering it in three sizes: ¾ ounce ($195), 1 ounce ($260) or 1½ ounce ($395). The Cognac is measured at the bar in a special Louis XIII shot glass, then transferred to a Louis XIII snifter and served on a silver tray along with an iPad that plays a short presentation covering the spirit’s history and development while also sharing proper tasting technique and detailed notes. And no, it would not be too pretentious to show up in a smoking jacket and cravat.
There’s little question that good things are going on at the newish spot at Five-Star Restaurant Guy Savoy in Caesars Palace, where sommelier Phil Park curates a collection of 32 Cognacs, the most recent additions being De Luze XO and De Luze Extra. For those nights when money is no object, Park offers Hine Talent at $700 per 1-ounce serving. But there is value to be found in the $18 Frapin XO Château Fontpoint, a rare single-vineyard Grand Champagne XO that Park says is worth every dollar. With just 10 seats, the fireside lounge is the ideal place for a nightcap, but guests may also request to dine in the sleek, modern space, or — better yet — have the magnificent mignardise cart rolled in to ease your sweet tooth. Man can’t live on Cognac alone.
That French chef André Rochat is a huge Cognac fan is evident; his exhaustive personal collection in this lounge at Andre’s in the Monte Carlo boasts 36 Armagnacs and 103 Cognacs, including Privilege Caryota, a new release from Hardy of which there are only 340 bottles in the world. Beverage director Patrick Trundle has set the bar high with Hardy Private Collection Vintage 1777, available only by the bottle for $35,000. Far more reasonable is the Hardy Noces d’Or, which, at $45 per glass, gives the biggest bang for your buck considering that the youngest brandy in the blend is 50 years old. (For the sake of comparison, the aforementioned Louis XIII is a blend of 40 to 100-year-old Cognacs. The Noces d’Or has 10 years more maturity as a starting point and costs about one tenth the price of Louis XIII.) The lounge offers a boutique cigar menu as well as small plates for enjoying by the fireplace, which would be a great spot to finally get that oil painting done of you as Louis XIV, the Sun King.
Photos Courtesy of Andres Restaurant and Caesars Palace