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Hermitage Pre 1900 Cognacs


There are hundreds of small cognac houses, most sell their young brandies to the big houses, but a few keep their special treasures tucked away for those who appreciate the golden nectar. 

Hermitage Cognac Limited has, for decades, sourced cognacs from the very finest producers in the Premier Cru of cognac, known as Grande Champagne.  Perhaps because of our exposure to many small family creators of fine brandies, we occasionally find cognacs hidden away in family cellars, often referred to as ‘Paradis’.   These innermost chambers house small batches of cognac in glass bonbonnes and sometimes contain cognacs that were made more than one hundred years ago.  These cognacs may have lived in their barrels for decades, and some, because of how they were made and aged, will be the perfect nectars that we are proud to call Hermitage.

Old cognacs are rare, and cognacs made before 1900 are exceptionally rare.  Cognacs are produced in France.  Nowhere else in the world is allowed to call their brandy ‘cognac’. The available quantity of cognac made before 1900 is miniscule and consequently, the value of these old vintages is increasing. We do not know how many more old and desirable cognacs we will find. But what we do know is that when they are all sold, the value of those still in circulation will rise alarmingly.

Hermitage pre 1900 Cognacs

Vintage Cognac Values

During the 1990s individual bottles of vintage cognac, from as early as 1790, were available in the marketplace for between £1500 to £2000.  Cognacs from 1800 – 1860 could be purchased for between £1200 – £1700.

By 2015, very early bottles from before 1800, were being sold for £27,000 and cognacs from 1800 to 1860 for £12,000 to £19,000.

Within the last 5 years, two imperial three quarter gallon bottles of Massougnes, which in 2000 sold for £7000, sold in London for £246,000 each.

The acceleration of cognac values since 2015 leaves us in little doubt that by the end of the decade, prices will have doubled again.

Our Offering

In addition to purchasing our Hermitage Pre 1900 Cognacs in bottles, we also offer the range in glass bonbonnes.  Each vintage can be purchased in either 10 litre or 30 litre bonbonnes.

Our Latest 2004 Vintage Cognac

2004 Vintage Cognac

We always like to introduce new vintages into our Hermitage Cognac range. The MD spends many hours visiting some of the many distillers, usually situated in Grande Champagne, looking for our next cognac masterpiece. Our latest find is a 2004 Vintage Cognac and for a cognac that is not yet 20 years old, it is sensational.

This Hermitage 2004 Grande Champagne Cognac comes from the gentle slopes around the town of Segonzac, in the centre of the premier cru.  A truly amazing cognac it has a complexity of flavours that would enhance many, much older spirits.

Aromas of cocoa, walnuts, dark toffee and truffle are followed by the rich and complex charecteristic flavours of the Hermitage style. These include dark toffee and cocoa which are followed by delicious bouts of clove, almond, damson and candied fruits.

Retailing at just under £130, this would make a magnificent present for the cognac lover in your life!

Montal 1962 Bas Armagnac

Montal 1962 Bas Armagnac

A one off addition to our Montal range has just arrived; the Montal 1962 Bas Armagnac. The grapes for this armagnac were harvested in 1962. What a wonderful year of birth, but then we are rather biased at Brandyclassics Headquarters! It is rare to find these old bottles of Montal Armagnac so this is another gem.  It comes from the top cru, is presented in a very attractive bottle and has fruity flavours with toffee and coffee on the tail.

So, what else happened in 1962?

It certainly found its place in history as the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis but many other events occurred also. In the US / Russian space race, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7 and a UK / US team won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their work in determining the structure of DNA. There were lots of firsts in the music world too; the Beatles signed their first contract and released their first single ‘Love Me Do’ and The Rolling Stones gave their first performance at the Marquee Club in London. The first James Bond film ‘Dr No’ premiered in London and on the golf course, Jack Nicholas won his first major after a play off with Arnold Palmer. It really was an exciting year to be born, and those who were, share their birth year with Tom Cruise.

If you are thinking of buying a vintage from 1962, take a look at our other offerings:

Castarede 1962 Bas Armagnac

Delord 1962 Bas Armagnac

Hermitage Cognacs Offer Excellent Value

cognacs offer excellent value

In the latest edition of ‘The Spirits Business’ we read that “Despite global inflation causing the price of spirits to rise, research shows that consumers are still more willing to purchase higher end products ….. Specifically Cognac, which remains the most expensive category of all spirits, is up by 132%”. Hermitage Cognacs has always been positioned at the very top end of the category but how does it compare to the competition? Many high end cognacs are sold in fancy presentations, often made from embellished crystal, and sold as rare, limited editions. But what about the liquid inside? The cognac may come from the top cru, Grande Champagne, but no information is given about the age of the cognac in the barrel or whether it comes from a particular vintage. One must conclude it is a blend of cognacs that are slightly different from previously released ones. Rarity always comes at a cost but prices in excess of £40,000 seem astounding.

Let’s make some comparisons with the Hermitage range. Our vintages come from 1 or 2 barrels of cognac that were distilled in a particular year and have never been blended. They can often be likened to the well known phrase used in whisky circles, ‘Single Cask’. Also, by definition, they are limited editions as once the vintage has been drunk it can never be replaced. For example, we sell a top cru vintage from 1923, where the grapes were harvested 100 years ago. It was left untouched and aged in a cellar for about 70 years before bottling at 43% abv. Although presented in a traditional cognac bottle, it is a huge contrast in quality and price. This Hermitage 1923 Grande Champagne Cognac retails for just under £2100.

If it is the quality of the presentation that attracts you, do take a look at our Hermitage Marie Louise Cognac. The cognac has been aged in oak barrels for 70 years and is sold by the litre, rather than 70cl. It is presented in crystal decanters produced by Cumbria Crystal, the last producer of completely hand-blown and hand-cut, full-lead luxury English crystal in the UK and retails at £2220. We have to conclude that Hermitage Cognacs offer excellent value in the premium cognac market.

Toutain Calvados – Apple Harvest Time

Toutain Calvados

October always denotes the start of the apple harvest which, for us, means Calvados.  A French brandy made from apples, Calvados can only be made in a specified area of Normandy.  One of our favourite suppliers, Toutain, have their orchards in the top cru, Pays d’Auge.  The ‘cidre’ they produce is then distilled on column stills to enhance the fruity flavours.  This year we have extended our range of Toutain Calvados to include:

Toutain Reserve 3 Year Old – Fresh with a strong palate, full of taste. A lingering flavour of cooked apples.

Toutain XO 8 Year Old – Smooth, a mix of apple and wood. It is fresh with minerals and a slightly peppery taste.

Toutain Hors d’Age 15 Year Old  – Well balanced with flavours of green apples, dried fruit and vanilla.

Toutain Vieille Reserve 30 Year Old – Intense and round with flavours of vanilla, wood and hints of fruit on the tail.

Toutain Cuveé Ancestrale 45 Year Old – Intense and elegant with a long finish, reminiscent of ‘Tarte Tatin’.

Toutain Reserve Odile 60 Year Old – Apples and candied fruits (apricots, orange & ginger) with a spicy finish.

Our Latest Montanaro Grappa Di Arneis

Montanaro Grappa

Our whole range of products from Montanaro, including grappas, vermouths and bitters, has been exceptionally well received by our customers. In fact, it was they that asked us to expand our offering of grappas to include the Montanaro Grappa Di Arneis. So, here it is! Marked by the floral and herbaceous fragrance, typical of the original vine of the Arneis grape, it is a wonderful Montanaro Grappa which explodes in the mouth with the very first sip and is so easy to drink.

Montanaro is one of the oldest distilleries in Langa established by Master of the Still, Francesco Trussoni in 1885. He established the first single vineyard Grappa using Nebbiolo grapes for Barolo. In 1922 Mario Montanaro, together with his wife Angela Trussoni and son Giuseppi, refined the product using the first alembic steam stills. At the end of 2000 Giuseppe Montanaro, aged almost eighty and without direct heirs, decided to sell the Montanaro Distillery to a group of “Albese “ businessmen. Today, Monatanaro is known worldwide as an excellent artisanal and prestigious distillery.

Magnum of Calvados Toutain 8 Year Old

Magnum of calvados

We have a very special treat for the calvados lover ….. a magnum of 8 Year Old from the top cru. Calvados is usually sold in 70 cl bottles but this one is 150 cl and perfect for a gathering or celebration. This Toutain magnum of calvados comes in a traditionally shaped bottle and really does look the part. It would certainly be a talking point for its rarity, presence and wonderful flavour.

The Toutain family has been developing calvados in Normandy for 5 generations, while respecting family customs and ancestral traditions that give big names to small houses. It has been located at the Domaine de la Couterie since 1971, which is located at the gateway to the Pays d’Auge from Paris, in the small town of Beuzeville. The family business was created more than 95 years ago and today extends over an estate of 25 hectares of traditional ‘high-stem’ plants. These orchards consist of 35 varieties of cider apples, spread over two farms, both located in the AOC Calvados Pays d’Auge Geographical Area. Almost all of their calvados is distilled on a column type alembic still because this technique gives a more fruity flavour, which deepens with age.

This XO calvados has been aged for at least 8 years, initially in 30 – 40 hl oak barrels but subsequently in smaller, 15 – 20 hl ones. It has a wonderful appley flavour and can be drunk as an aperitif (straight on ice or in a cocktail) or as a digestif served at room temperature to allow enough time to air.

New 60 Year Old Cognac From Hermitage

We are delighted to announce that we have a new Hermitage 60 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac on our shelves. It is the third cognac of this ageing to have made it into the Hermitage range. The previous two were great successes and all the stock available sold out. It has not been easy finding a suitable 60 Year Old Cognac replacement, though. David rejected many before finding this superb example of a top cru cognac, aged to perfection in oak barrels, for at least 60 years.

Its long ageing in wood has given such a depth of flavour and smoothness that it has been bottled at the slightly higher strength of 47% abv. This incredible cognac has been aged in damp cellars in the Premier Cru of cognac.  Aromas and flavours of plum, dark chocolate, liquorice, spices, toffee, almonds and dried fruits enhance this rich and beautifully matured cognac.  A long and glorious tail of citrus fruits, almonds and Marsala wine only add to the long complexity of flavours.

A perfect treat for the cognac connoisseur or as a 60th Birthday Gift.

Hermitage Cognac Marie Louise is 70 Years Old

Hermitage Cognac Marie Louise is a Grande Champagne cognac from one of the region’s top artisan producers. Still in cask, it is now a magnificent 70 years old.

Some of the finest cognacs ever made were produced in the early twentieth century as, by this time, knowledge of distillation and the ageing process had been significantly refined. Cognac Marie Louise is one of the few remaining cognacs produced during this period. It is from the top cru, Grande Champagne and has matured for more than 70 years in oak casks.

This truly great cognac is named after Marie Louise, the second wife of Napoleon Boneparte. She bore his son who was given the title ‘Roi de Rome’ and who later became Napoleon II.

One litre of this glorious cognac is offered in crystal decanters produced by Cumbria Crystal, the last producer of completely hand-blown and hand-cut, full-lead luxury English crystal in the UK.

The complex aromas, intensity and depth of flavours created by its careful distillation and ageing have created a masterpiece of smoothness. The initial sensation is akin to lining one’s mouth with velvet. The rich and complex flavours of coffee, sultanas, toffee brittle, truffle, dried fig, cinnamon, hazelnut and clove are all wrapped up in an intensely rich rancio found only in the rarest of cognacs.

Only a few people will be privileged to taste this exceptional and rare cognac. Those that do will be delighted by the charm and elegance of Hermitage Cognac Marie Louise, made all those years ago.

“Likely to be one of the finest cognacs you have tasted.”  Victoria Moore, The Saturday Telegraph Luxury Supplement

Evening Standard Brandy Recommendations

Evening StandardThe Evening Standard has been reviewing much of the golden nectar recently.  In Nicky Rampley-Clarke’s article ‘Best Digestifs To Sip On Post Dinner’ he includes:

Hermitage 1995 Grande Champagne Cognac

‘A bottle to bring out for special occasions – and, indeed, the guests you really, really like – the Hermitage 1995 Grande Champagne Cognac is remarkably mature with flavours of butterscotch, walnuts, biscuits, baked apple peel, mandarin peel and damson. Rich and complex, this is an investment digestif.’

In another of his articles, ‘Best Armagnacs to Buy in 2023’ Nicky describes armagnac as ‘a distinctive type of brandy that’s made from grapes.  Produced in the Gascony region south-west of Bordeaux in France, it is a sweet spirit that makes for a lip-smacking digestif.  Think of it as a rustic rendition of brandy – fuller-bodied when compared to Cognac, perhaps.’  Two of our favourite armagnacs make his list:

Delord 25 Year Old Bas Armagnac

An Armagnac matured in oak barrels for 25 years and made from Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Bacco 22A and Folle Blanche grapes. Caramel, cocoa butter and vanilla make this a sweet sip indeed, alongside distinctive woody tannins, with the bottle itself presented in a beautiful wooden box. Great for a gift.

Baron de Saint-Fauste 10 Year Old Bas Armagnac

Soft and round with dried fruit and sweet nut flavours, this Armagnac delivers excellent value for money, while packaged up in a traditional bottle with curves in all the right places. Inhale those toffee, baked pear and almond aromas before drinking up that sweet, spicy liquid.