Drink Review: Pierre Ferrand Ambre 1er Cru Grande Champagne Cognac

September 13, 2020
3 mins read

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A top-quality golden Grande Champagne Cognac from distinguished boutique producer Pierre Ferrand. A lively, expressive style with fresh fruit flavours and good depth from this award-winning house.

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Pierre Ferrand Cognac Review

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In the bottle

Perfect clarity — this Cognac is the golden yellow of pure sunshine in the glass, although it’s also surprisingly dark for a Grande Champagne. The nose is definitely more floral than fruity, a sense of fresh lavender among a backdrop of almonds, walnuts, and leaves. Vanilla and cloves hint at the ageing, too. Gives a lovely, expressive bouquet despite the strength, perhaps the best initial impression here of any CdN I’ve ever tried.


Sweet and peppery aperitif, rather elegant. Dry yellow apples with a touch of citrus zest, hints of pepper and peppermint tea, and a golden zing. It’s surprisingly fruity for a maturity that’s into double figures, sweetly balanced by crushed white pepper and a delicate peppery finish.


Warm almost minty aftertaste filled with the golden flavour of freshly baked cakes. (I’m in love…)

The fact that this was only a 1er Cru apparently had no bearing on the quality, a complete stunner. It was sweet, but not so much so as to be sickly – I could have absorbed several glasses and still been perfectly fine. I’m a big fan of the use of pepper, which adds a degree of depth and complexity that’s really quite different to what might be expected. My only criticism is that perhaps it wasn’t quite oak-aged enough – I’m a fan of the occasional woodiness, and it just seemed rather lighter than I expected. Perhaps it was because it was a young bottle, or perhaps a bottle that had been overly moved around an airport before I bought it.

The nose is just breathtakingly sharp, keen, and expressive – I could almost smell detailed floral details within the bouquet here. Perfect open structure and a bouquet that lasts long after drinking, this is an awesome product. I can’t imagine being disappointed with it.

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An Excellent Quality top-end Grande Champagne Cognac from a highly-regarded producer

The nose is a wonder. Sheer golden grass, a hint of wood and raisins. Vanilla and cardamom hint at ageing. The taste is the same, but less expressive. Evocative of golden grass, fresh fruit – white peach, grapefruit, banana, and sugar. The finish is the same, with just a trace of long-term wood.

Very smooth. Just like the golden-yellow sand grouse of Scotland.

Need another definition for perfect? The density, the plethora of flavours and the encapsulating appeal? How about this: there is a pike that keeps jumping out of the still water and back in again. Or perhaps the perfect cognac would be one that tastes like an apricot. Then again, this is indeed perfect. Perfect cognac.

On the palate

A little touch of sweetness. In the mouth it’s quite velvety, with a hint of orange. It’s rather mild. Longer in the mouth. This is a bit too soft.

As it opens for about a minute, those dense pear, apricot and peach notes begin to develop. At the same time, the vanilla and caramel notes are starting to emerge. This is always an amazing moment for me, when a cognac addresses my aromatic sense, and the apricot note emerges in a very soft and delicate way. It’s not as if it was hidden, it was just at the back. This is a very soft cognac.

This is a bit too soft. There is some length, yet this too soft in mouth feel.

It’s very warm in the mouth. Something strange here. The taste is always short, as if this CdN is over-aged. This has some warmth, but doesn’t do much on my palate.

On the nose

Nose is weak and thin. Light on the nose after 30 seconds. Light at 40 sec. Light and delicate at one minute. I’m starting to like this a lot after 10 minutes. But I definitely have to wait a long time.

This CdN is not too complex, with mostly fruity aromas here (peach, apricot, quince). Also a gentle floral note, and then just a touch of lemon note here in the nose. It’s very soft, rather sweet. At the back, there are some touches of toasted oak. It’s quite delicate, but delicious.

After a few minutes: the fruitiness has this peach note (as opposed to it being apricot). Pear, quinces. Apricot. It’s very soft. The nose is not so deep, but I’m getting more and more depth here, with subtle apricot/peach notes that would not have come out 1-2 minutes ago.

Some toasted oak at the back. Softer and gentler.

The nose has a slightly weak start, with very little complexity. The middle is soft and delicate, without much intensity. But the longer the nose develops, the more peach I get!

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