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Duret 1810 features in World’s Most Precious Christmas Pudding

Luxury website ‘VeryFirstTo’ chose our Duret 1810 Cognac as the key ingredient in their luxurious Christmas Pudding offer last month.  The creator was famous chef Martin Chiffers, recently Executive Pastry Chef of The Savoy Hotel and now with his own premises in Tokyo.  Comprising the finest organic ingredients, including Agawa dates and rare Mamra almonds from Iran, the pudding also included a highly collectible, gold, Henry VI Salut d’Or coin which depicts the Virgin Mary and our Duret 1810, a supreme example of pre-phylloxera cognac originating from the firm of James Duret over 200 years ago.  Retailing at £23,500 this exclusive Christmas pudding was intended for the most sumptuous of Christmas banquets which, it has to be said, is where our prestigious selection of Very Old Cognacs belong.

Olly Smith Reviews Hermitage Cognacs

An insightful article about choosing your cognac by Olly Smith, journalist & TV Presenter in The Mail On Sunday this weekend:

You can buy his Hermitage personal preferences below:

International Wines and Spirits Competition Acclaims Hermitage Cognacs

Hermitage Cognacs were on top of the podium again in July 2013, this time at the highly prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition.  Recognising the wonderful quality of carefully aged, single estate cognacs, the judges placed both the Hermitage Segonzac 25 year Old Grande Champagne Cognac and the Hermitage Chez Richon 2000 Grande Champagne Cognac at the top of their respective classes and awarded them each a Gold Medal.  These latest awards add to Hermitage Cognac’s vast medal haul to date which surely makes it one of the most successful Cognac Houses in existence.

Frapin Cognac’s ‘Plume’

Frapin has launched a new cognac called ‘Plume’ which refers to the symbol of the Frapin Cognac house – the quill.  Housed in a decanter featuring a stopper topped by two rose gold feathers, only 500 have been produced.  The cognac comes from the Grande Champagne cru and has been aged for over 60 years in 100 year old barrels but whether it  is worth the price tag of €2500 is debatable.  We cannot comment on its quality but Frapin Cognac has never been quite the same since their cellar master, Olivier Paultes, left to work for Hennessey.  During his time with Frapin, Olivier produced many supreme cognacs including the 1991 Trésor du Château which recently won a gold medal and the Best Cognac Trophy at the 2013 International Spirits Challenge.  Try comparing these Frapin gems with our own Hermitage 60 year  old and 1991 vintage where quality speaks for itself.

Hardy’s Printemps

The award for the Best Bottle Design at this year’s VINEXPO went to Hardy’s ‘Printemps’ which was made in collaboration with crystal manufacturer Lalique.  The Jade coloured ornamental glass top, which is actually the stopper for the bottle, reminds one of ancient Samurai legends There are intricate drawings carved into the glass which give the bottle a playful touch and a hint of the exotic.  A limited edition of 400 pieces, it is certainly destined to be reused once the blended cognac contents have been consumed.  Hardy are well known for their audacious creations.  Not to everyone’s taste perhaps, many prefer sleeker, understated, traditional bottles, such as those supplied by Hermitage Cognacs, but it is eye catching nevertheless.  The price has yet to be released.

Cognac and Whisky Joint Venture

Hine Cognac and Glenfarcas whisky have launched a joint, 1953, limited edition, vintage release.  The two houses have collaborated to offer 125 pairs of their respective spirits, available for £14,000 each. Both the Hine and Glenfarcas have been bottled at cask strength and are housed in separate wooden obelisks which incorporate wood from the original cask of the spirit inside.  Eric Forget from Hine Cognac described the 1953 as “one of the best of the last century”, but it is of course in limited supply.  Though an ideal gift for a 60th Anniversary or Birthday this year, they are a little pricey, so if you’re shopping for a special cognac or armagnac, at a more affordable price, take a look at our Occasion Gifts page.

New Stocks of Vintage Armagnacs

We are continually adding to our extensive range of vintage brandies and our armagnac stocks are no exception.  Recently in receipt of scarce vintages from the 1960s, we now boast an exclusive selection of every vintage from that decade.  Our complete range of vintage armagnacs extends from 1914 to 1990 providing a wealth of individually aged and rapidly dwindling vintages, ideal for celebrating any occasion.  Created in the rural idyll of Gascony, their fruitiness and rich pruny flavours have become increasingly popular in recent years causing their rarity and value to soar.

Hine Early Landed & Jarnac 1983 Cognac

Hine Limited Edition 1983 cognac may well  be very good but there are serious doubts about it since the Early Landed version is kept in a cask in a UK cellar.  The Jarnac version, on the other hand, is allowed to mature naturally in permanently damp cellars next to the Charente River.  This tends to keep the barrels damp and the spirit in the barrel for far longer, providing a greater reaction between the spirit and the wood.  But whichever storage method is used, £285 or £360 is a lot of money to pay for a 1983 cognac when you can buy a Beaulon 1983 (cellar aged), for a little over £100.  Probably the low availability of vintage cognac contributes to the very high cost!

New stock – Old Spanish Brandies

Our newly acquired Gran Duque d’Alba Spanish brandies have a fascinating history which explains their superior quality.  They were made by the Diez-Merito distillery and later sold to José-Maria Ruiz Mateos, having been kept untouched in casks for many years.  Unfortunately the company was eventually dissolved for failing to pay millions of dollars in taxes to the Spanish government, but not before these bottles had been sold to an Italian.  Both the Gran Reserva and the De Luxe Gran Reserva are therefore understood to be from around the turn of the 20th century, probably bottled in the 1960s giving them a barrel age of about 50 years.  These wonderful old brandies are not to be confused with later, much more unremarkable brandies bottled after 1983, although much of the packaging is similar.

Remy Martin Louis XIII Rare Cask

The newly released Remy Martin Louis XIII Rare Cask is so named because it has an unusual strength of 42.6%.  This may be unusual for Remy Martin but many cognacs have an abv of over 40% as the distillation strength of cognac is between 67 – 72%.  Whilst some cognacs will benefit from a higher strength it is usually only those, such as the Hermitage 1975 or 1989, which are single estate and where a smaller still, which will provide less rectification, has been used.  The Rare Cask Louis XIII is a blend of 1200 different cognacs so it is highly doubtful that such a blend will benefit from being a higher strength. Only the cask the cognac is stored in is a hundred years old so it would be interesting to find out just how old the cognac is!