Hardy Legend 1863 Cognac
Anthony Hardy was a British wine merchant who loved France enough to move to the Cognac Region and establish his distillery in 1863. Today, Hardy is carefully managed by the family’s fifth generation, and its pinnacle Cognac, Perfection, retails for $8,500 —if you can locate one of the rare, elegant bottles. Hardy Legend 1863 is much more approachable (it’s about $60) and just as elegant with its haute couture bottle that contains lovely floral scents with suggestions of chocolate and citrus. On the palate, hints of chocolate continue, joined by vanilla and Meyer lemon. If that suggests a pairing with dessert, you’re on the right track.
Ardbeg Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Every serious review of Ardbeg includes “smoke” and “peat” in describing this robust single malt from the southernmost island off the Scottish coast. I would add “acquired taste” from my own experience, since this is a big, peaty Scotch that can easily overwhelm the nose and palate. For some, a pinch of water or adding the newly fashionable colossal ice cube may moderate the punch a bit, but if you want a taste of the Scottish Isles, give Islay a try. About $50.