One of the many perks of this job is that I often get a chance to drink things that I could never afford in real life.


A perfect example is brandy: A category of booze that covers any spirit made by distilling wine. Though brandy can be made anywhere, only those from the Cognac region in France get to use that famous geographical identifier.


Because its output is considered the benchmark for brandy, even entry level Cognac isn't cheap. Getting a chance to try the big guns is rare, so the opportunity to sip on Rémy Martin's Louis XIII ($1,903.10 - $2,800.00) at a recent tasting was, again, just one of those perks.


Made from a blend of more than 1,200 different individual spirits, some of which are more than 100 years old, Louis XIII is a rich, rounded brandy with sophisticated fruit overtones that really explode from the glass.


If Louis is a bit rich for your blood, Rémy Martin's V.S.O.P Cognac ($73.98 - $89.95) is equally impressive though not as old. The average age of the blend is between four and 15 years.

Classically served sans ice, modern mixologists have taken to serving brandy ice cold.

Prices reflect the range across the country. Some products may not be available in all provinces.

Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and traveling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.