Hi, I'm looking for a bit of help selecting a couple of bottles of brandy, one for a gift and one for me to try. Does anyone have a recommendation for a special, but still reasonably-priced cognac for the gift? Reasonably-priced is relative here; I'm willing to splurge for the gift it's really stellar. I'd prefer the real French cognac, but I'll consider cognac-style (if that's even a thing) American brandies if you all have recommendations.
For myself, I've never had the chance to really get into brandy, so I'm looking for a good "starter" brandy to see if I can really appreciate it. So are there any recommendations for any good brandies or cognacs for under $35, or maybe just a bit more if it makes significant difference? Or maybe a couple of recommendations for a value, under $20 bottle and a really good one for a bit more?