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Brandy Bottle Reviews

  • Nusbaumer Eaux de Vie and Liqueurs

    NusbaumerWe are very pleased to announce a new addition to our stocks: liqueurs and eaux de vie from Nusbaumer, an independent, family-owned artisanal distillery in the heart of the Alsace.  Founded by Jos Nusbaumer in 1947, the distillery is located in Stiege, a small town in the Vosge valleys, to the south-west of Strasbourg.  There are several factors that make Stiege the ideal place to distil fruit spirits; there’s exceptional mountain spring water, an altitude allowing lower distillation pressure leading to richer aromas and a microclimate with significant temperature variations.  All of these factors have a positive impact on fermentation, maceration and aging.

     

    The eaux de vie include Poire William Rouge which is made exclusively from small red Williams Pears native to the Hautes-Alpes and grown on hillsides with exceptional aspect. The crushed pears are fermented for four weeks and distilled in a small copper-pot still. The eau de vie is then rested for twenty years then reduced with mountain spring water prior to bottling.

    We also have Vieille Prune which is made from wild plums sourced in the Fouchy valley, the crushed fruit is fermented for four weeks prior to small copper-pot distillation. The eau de vie is then aged for seven years in chestnut barrels to create a unique roundness and intensity.Nusbaumer

     

     

     

     

    Nusbaumer’s liqueurs are the best of their type that we’ve come across. Unlike most liqueurs that are made from neutral spirit, these are made from the eau de vie of the particular fruit.  For example, cassis is made using blackcurrant eau de vie.  As a consequence, the delivery of flavour and balance is exceptional. These are luxurious and distinguished by their quality.

  • Hermitage 50 Year Old Wins The Cognac Trophy 2021

    Cognac Trophy 2021Following our unprecedented tally of medals at the International Wines and Spirits Competition (IWSC) 2021 we are delighted to announce that the Hermitage 50 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac has also been awarded the overall Cognac Trophy 2021.  it was the best cognac in the competition with a Gold Outstanding Award and a combined judges’ score of 99 points out of 100.

    Our MD, who is one of the UK’s leading authorities on the subject, spoke as results were announced.

    “We work tirelessly to find the very best that the region has to offer, from family growers who have these precious cognacs stashed away. Being awarded results like these is a welcome vindication of our standards and the outstanding quality which is available if you know where to look.”

    Panel Chairman at the IWSC Joel Harrison praised the levels of quality in this round of judging.

    “Given the history and heritage in Cognac, as well as the undoubted consistency of the major houses, it is a real joy through the IWSC judging to discover unique and individual bottlings such as these, packed with personality and flavour, that often defy their age. In a category with such high standards, it must be recognised how much of an achievement attaining medals and accolades of this standard is.”

    The judges described our 50 Year Old (Grande Champagne) thus:

    “Like opening an old leather-bound book or antique oak armoire. Figgy pudding and rich dark chocolate; wonderful rich spices and the bitterness of orange zest come through on the palate. Spicy but gentle and supremely dry.”

    It is a magnificent cognac that will also make a wonderfully special 50th birthday or anniversary gift.

     

  • IWSC 2021 - Excellent Results for Hermitage Cognacs

    IWSC 2021Hot off the press, we are delighted to share with you our results from the International Wines & Spirits Competition - IWSC 2021.

    GOLD OUTSTANDING Medal was awarded to:

    Hermitage 50 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac and the judges commented "Like opening an old leather-bound book or antique oak armoire.  Figgy pudding and rich dark chocolate; wonderful rich spices and the bitterness of orange zest come through on the palate. Spicy but gentle and supremely dry."

    And GOLD Medals were awarded to:

    Hermitage 1952 Grande Champagne Cognac  "With heavy, rum-like caramel and treacle aromas, this cognac has a big palate offering flavours of peach melba, butterscotch and creamy coffee. The quality and intensity of fruit is simply excellent."

    Hermitage 1955 Grande Champagne Cognac  "Forest floor, freshly cut grass and citrusy notes on the nose. A silky palate of orchard florals, lemon rind and a final hint of rose jelly to finish. Wonderfully complex and hugely commendable."

    Hermitage Paradis 1890 Grande Champagne Cognac  "A tropical note behind the oaky, polished wood and roasted coffee aromas. Black tea on the palate is balanced with spice and creamy caramel. Dry, nuanced, refined and elegant."

  • Hermitage 1890 Grande Champagne Cognac

    18901890We are always excited by a new arrival, especially when it is one from the nineteenth century!  Our Hermitage Paradis1890 Grande Champagne Cognac is the fourth addition to our Paradis range and has just taken pride of place on our shelves.  To add some historical context, 1890 was the year that England witnessed the first official County Cricket match when Yorkshire beat Gloucestershire by 8 wickets.

    This remarkable cognac has spent more than 80 years in its oak cask slowly developing its rich aromas and complex flavours. There are aromas of marmalade, thyme, banana and spices with a rich and lovely complexity of flavours including mandarin, toffee brittle, allspice, marmalade, gingerbread and roasted nut flavours.  Beautifully balanced, the flavours surround the tongue with a rich velvet softness which enhances the intense ‘rancio’.

    And you can hear our MD, David Baker, talking about this cognac and the history of Hermitage as a brand on Food FM's The Drinking Hour with David Kermode.  Select Episode 8 and tune in at 38 minutes, it's very educational!

     

  • IWSC - Six of the World's Best Cognacs

    Best Cognacs"There can be few spirits with such an illustrious pedigree and premium connotations as Cognac."  Following the last International Wine and Spirit's Competition (IWSC) a list of the world's six best cognacs was compiled.  How very pleasing it was to read that our Hermitage 2008 Grande Champagne Cognac was listed as one of them.  We have always known that this is a very special cognac.  Relatively youthful for one from the premier cru, it is just 10 years old, single-cask, single-estate and very expensive, but it is also one in a million.  The IWSC described it as "Fresh and powerful with a wealth of flavours delivered through a very expressive and complex set of aromas on the palate. Luscious leather, ginger and rancio notes are boldly evident and intricately balanced with cherry stones and warming spice."  Being single-cask, availability is diminishing fast so if you would like to taste it for yourself, don't hang about.  If you are interested in finding out more about single-cask cognacs take a look at our latest Technical Topic here.

  • The Wine Merchant & The Cognac Hunter

    wine merchantThe Wine Merchant is the first trade magazine aimed solely at independent wine retailers and has been around for nearly 10 years.  This month it published a double page spread featuring the founder of Hermitage Cognac, David Baker, and some of Hermitage's finest cognacs.  Dubbed 'The Cognac Hunter', his story is summed up in the introduction:

    David Baker uses his network of connections in the Grande Champagne region and beyond to seek out the kinds of long-aged, single estate cognacs that tell the story of this classic brandy in a far more evocative and compelling way than the big brands ever could.  You can read the full article here on pages 52 & 53.

    Also in the press this week, Will Lyons of The Sunday Times wrote about 'Special Drinks for Special Birthdays' and concluded that "David Baker at Brandyclassics has assembled an impressive array of old spirits to choose from".   The 'Best bottles to give as gifts' is something we know all about at Brandyclassics.

  • Hermitage 1990 GC Cognac Wins Masters Medal

    masterThe Cognac Masters 2021 results have just been announced and we are thrilled to report that our new Hermitage 1990 Grande Champagne Cognac, presented at 47% abv, received a Masters Medal.  Only 9 of these, the highest possible medal, were awarded in the entire competition so this is particularly pleasing.  You can read about all the results here, in the May 2021 edition of The Spirits Business  magazine starting on page 49.

    Judges' comments include:

    Complex and superbly balanced ~~~ Silky smooth texture ~~~ Really long and expressive

    In other news, we have recently added Hermitage 10 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac to our portfolio and it will replace the Provenance 10 Grande Champagne Cognac in the range.

  • The Bottle Story - Frapin 750 How Much?

    FrapinFrapin has just released a limited edition run of this unique presentation to celebrate 750 years since the family’s oldest member was born in Cognac in 1270.  We do applaud these small family firms who have passed on their skills from generation to generation and not taken the easy route of selling to the ‘big four’.  The Frapin 750 contains some very old Grande Champagne eau de vie, albeit blended, and is presented in a Baccarat crystal carafe decorated with Belle Epoch-like grapevine etchings.  Just 21 of these presentations have been produced - to represent the 21 generations of the Frapin family - now that really is history in a bottle.  It oozes quality and style but so does the price tag.  One of these will set you back an astounding £43,956.  That’s equivalent to 25 of our Hermitage Marie Louise Cognacs in crystal decanters!

    Hefty price tags like this are, however, quite common-place in the world of whisky.  Two recent releases demonstrate that, even without 750 years of family firm history, large sums of money can be charged.  Glengoyne and Glenfarcas have just released limited-edition whiskies, in engraved crystal decanters and luxury presentation boxes.  The Glengoyne 50 yo single malt costs £22,500 and the Glenfarcas 60 yo single cask, £19,500.  Compare these prices to equivalent cognacs (Hermitage 50 yo @ £400 and Hermitage 60 yo @ £530) and it is difficult to see where they come from.  Market forces must play their part but demand for old cognacs is on the rise so perhaps soon, their prices will too.

  • Hermitage Paradis 1885 GC Cognac - A Masterpiece

    MasterpieceOur range of Hermitage Paradis Cognacs continues to expand with this stunning arrival from 1885.  Perhaps the best cognac we have ever tasted, this masterpiece will never be repeated.

    Distilled in the year that the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York, a gift from the French people, it has been aged for a staggering 110 years.  The much sought after ‘rancio’ in this cognac is incredibly intense and rich.  It was brought about by long barrel ageing, in two different barrels, which has created an unbelievable 'double rancio' effect.  The aroma is remarkable and the flavour, sensational. Many of the aromas are also found in the flavours. The molasses, cherry and roasted walnut are all there but also turmeric and black truffle, medlar, allspice, fig, cocoa and almond.

    Released with very limited supply, there are only a few bottles remaining already .....

  • Hermitage 1960 Wins The Cognac Trophy At IWSC 2020

    Cognac TrophyHaving received news that Hermitage Single Estate Cognacs won three Gold Medals or better at IWSC 2020, we have just found out that Hermitage 1960 Grande Champagne Cognac won The Cognac Trophy.

    Scoring 98 points the judges commented:

    "Exceedingly complex and broad in its depth of aromas and flavours.  Prominent notes of refreshing and zingy sherbet are united with red berries and smooth hints of fine leather for a seamlessly crafted and decadently elegant enjoyable palate."

    In celebration of this fantastic news we are offering 10% Off this magnificent cognac throughout October.  Distilled 60 years ago, it is the perfect gift for anyone born in 1960.

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