The phylloxera epidemic that destroyed France’s vineyards in the 19th century also knee-capped the brandy trade; whiskey stepped in, and brandies have never fully reclaimed the after-dinner tipplers. But fine Cognac remains an exquisite treat, as demonstrated in innovative fashion by Camus Borderies XO. Borderies (boor-duh-rees) is the smallest of Cognac’s six regions, known for bright, floral brandies. And Camus has—in a risky move—doubled down on that perky style with this single-growth XO (meaning all the eaux-de-vie comes from one region, rather than a blend). But middle age (an XO must be at least 6 years old, and the average age of the juice here is 35) suits the Borderies. After an initial sting of floral perfume, a warm, buttery, pound-cake character emerges in the glass. Camus (an independent, family-owned brand) is the world’s fifth largest Cognac company, but only returned to us—after a couple false starts—last summer. We’re of the opinion that a few more famous names could use the competition. At $150, Borderies XO ain’t a bargain, but think of a 35-year whiskey that sells for less. Yeah, we can’t either.