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Bonbonne of 1889 Cognac Sells for £68K

1889 CognacA very exciting Christmas present for someone perhaps?  This 8 litre bonbonne of Hermitage 1889 Paradis Cognac was sold last week, the asking price was £68,300.  A one-off presentation of this superb 1889 cognac is a very rare offering by Hermitage Cognacs and was snapped up at Hedonism Wines in Mayfair.

It was distilled in the late nineteenth century (1889) when Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) in Paris opened with the recently completed Eiffel Tower serving as the entrance arch.  At 300m high it retained the record for the tallest man-made structure for 41 years.

The cognac comes from the southeast part of the region, now known as Grande Champagne, around the charming little village of Bouteville.  It was made on a small wood fired still and is a glorious example of some of the finest Premier Cru craftmanship of the era, when the understanding of cognac production methods was at its best.  Aged for more than 70 years in oak casks, which has optimized its key qualities of balance and rancio, this cognac is completely natural, with no reduction.  Such a long time in wood has produced an even distribution of flavours including cocoa, walnut kernels and coffee with a final and delicious long rancio, the much favoured richness, so highly desirable in these fine old cognacs.


Christmas Hermitage Reviews

Hermitage ReviewsHermitage ReviewsSome wonderful Hermitage Reviews this Christmas:

The new edition of Club Oenologique has just been published, with a fabulous review and picture of the Hermitage 1972 Cognac by Joel Harrison.

“Curator of some of the oldest single vintage and single vineyard Cognacs around, Hermitage is run from a small village in Wiltshire.  Cognac expert David Baker has built unrivalled relationships with some of the more boutique distillers in the region, allowing him to bottle extremely old and rare cognacs.  This 1972 vintage is drawn from grapes grown in the Petite Champagne region and has a sensationally aromatic nose, with balanced sweetness and acidity.  The cigar-hungry finish gives integrated wood and a spicy concentration as well as mildly drying tannins.”

Olly Smith, well known TV personality, has also been posting about our Hermitage 40 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac.  Aged with great care and expertise, this wonderful Grande Champagne cognac has been in an oak barrel for 40 years slowly maturing to its optimum condition. Flavours of plum and vanilla expand into lychee, pear, hay, plum and dried mandarin demonstrating complexity and individuality.  Winner of The Cognac Masters 2020, Masters Award.


New Vintage Armagnacs – Castarede 1983, 1986 & 1987

Vintage ArmagnacsAll from the top cru, Bas Armagnac, we have another three wonderful vintage armagnacs from one of the very best producers, Castarede.   Said to be the oldest business in Armagnac, having been founded in 1832, they own the Chateau de Maniban estate and supply armagnacs grown on their 16 hectares of vineyards.  Four main armagnac grape varieties of Ugni Blanc, Baco, Folle Blanche and Colombard are grown.  All vintages, distilled in 1983, 1986 and 1987 respectively, have been aged for over 35 years.  Take a look at the delicious tasting notes below.

Castarede 1983

Aroma: Guava, passion fruit and cedar.

Flavour: Light and mellow. Flavours of angelica and elderberry with sour apple.

Castarede 1986

Aroma: Celery, palm leaves and a hint of cedar.

Flavour: Dried apples and angelica with a long finish of dried apricot.

Castarede 1987

Aroma: Unusual aromas of pineapple leaves and green tea.

Flavour: Delightful flavours of dried greengage, sage and crystalised mandarin.

Hermitage 1900 Cognac Gift Set, Ideal For Christmas

1900 CognacHow many people can claim to have tasted a cognac distilled at the turn of the last century?  Well, this is your chance!  Our extra special Gift Set comprises a 20Cl bottle of 1900 cognac from the top cru and one of our exclusive Hermitage Cognacs tulip-shaped tasting glasses.  The Hermitage 1900 Grande Champagne was found in an old cellar, the owners of which ceased making cognac many years ago, so it really was a rare and exclusive find.

Although presented at the higher strength of 47.5 % abv, its long ageing in oak barrels has produced an exceptionally well-balanced cognac.  A hint of tobacco with almond, medlar, mangosteen and dry spice aromas lead to a powerful attack on the palate of dry fruit and spices.   There are also many other complex flavours being experienced at the same time including green walnuts, mangosteen, mace and cucumber.


This really is a once in a lifetime experience!

Hermitage Paradis 1875 Cognac

1875 cognacWe are very excited to introduce a new cognac to our shelves, and our Hermitage Paradis range, the 1875 vintage.  Only a few bottles remain of this old 1875 cognac which originally came from a cellar near Bouteville, in the cru now known as Grande Champagne.  It was distilled on a very small still and then aged for more than 75 years in a cellar built against a limestone cutting.  The cellar floor and walls were natural, with no cement or concrete, which made it ideal for ageing old cognacs.

The production of cognacs in the 18th and 19th centuries was a way of farming the land that growers owned. At the time these cognacs were made, there were perhaps more than 1500 different growers in the region, each making their wines, distilling them and putting them into cellars to age in oak casks. The skills employed had been handed down from generations before them.  Not every brandy which the growers produced was of a quality that stood out as being truly exceptional but now and again a cognac would be sufficiently good to be kept to one side and stored for the future. The year that the cognac was made was always recorded with a chalk mark on the barrel.


We understand that this cognac was removed from cask and placed in bonbonnes between 1950 and 1955, making it 75 – 80 years old.  Our tasting notes confirm that the cognac has developed a significant rancio consistent with very long cask ageing.  Specific tasting notes can be found here.

The Drinks Business – Boutique Cognac Houses

Boutique Cognac HousesRichard Woodward writing in The Drinks Business last week, about Boutique Cognac Houses, names Hermitage Cognac as an independent bottler focused on the highest quality:

“Cognac has close to 80,000 hectares of vineyard … cultivated by some 4,000 growers …  . Twenty years ago, there were 8,000 vignerons in Cognac, illustrating a growing professionalism as small landowners exit the industry.

That picture of consolidation extends to brand owners, with Cognac’s “big four” – Hennessy, Martell, Rémy Martin and Courvoisier – accounting for more than 80% of global consumption. That leaves little space for smaller operations, but a number of boutique houses still carve out a niche for themselves, pitching their artisanal credentials against the might of that dominant quartet.

Most growers sell the vast majority of their production to big houses, but many still bottle their own Cognac as well. The best of these are the hidden gems of the region – growers such as Château Montifaud, Jean Fillioux and Michel Forgeron, or David Baker’s Hermitage Cognacs – an independent bottler focused on the highest quality.”

Read the complete article here.

Cognacs With Age Statements

Age StatementsCognac house Maison Bache Gabrielsen has released a new series of cognacs with age statements called Years in Cask.  Good to see them following in our footsteps!  These cognacs are also vintages so by definition they must be single estate and cannot be blended.  Once vintage cognacs have reached their optimum maturity they are transferred to glass bonbonnes where they will mature no further.

Bache Gabrielsen have released 4 new cognacs aged from 19 to 37 years.  The younger two come from Grande Champagne, the top cru, where cognacs take the longest to mature whilst the older two come from Fin Bois, a lesser known cru.  Their prices range from £163 to £344 for a 70cl bottle with abvs being between 40 and 47 percent.  It is great to see another cognac house heralding the benefits of age statement and vintage cognac but before you part with your hard earned cash to try them out, take a look at the quality and price of the following, produced by Hermitage:

Brandyclassics’ Massougnes 1802 Cognac Re-emerges At Auction

Massougnes 1802We were delighted to welcome Paddy Shave from Brightwells Auction House to our offices a few weeks ago.  He brought with him an imperial half gallon (2.27 litres) bottle of Massougnes 1802 Cognac which had passed through our hands almost thirty years ago.  We are fortunate to have acquired a number of these large bottles over the years from the owner of the Massougnes Estate, the Comtesse de la Bourdeliere, Marie-Antoinette Pintaurd des Allees – a direct descendant of Henry II and Eleanor of Acquitaine.  This particular bottle from 1802 in the Napoleonic era, was originally sold by us to the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, where is was on display for many years.  Still unopened, it was fascinating to see it turn up for sale once more and although the estimated price of £100,000+ was not reached, it still sold for an impressive £52,000.  We have sold one or two of these oversized bottles of Massougnes over the years (vintages range from 1800 to 1812) and still have two for sale on our website.  For those who may wish to try before they buy, one of our Massougnes vintages is still being sold by the measure at The Lanesbrough Hotel in London.


Hermitage Cognacs toast four Master awards at Global Cognac Masters 2022

Cognac Masters 2022We are thrilled to announce that the Cognac Masters 2022 results have just been released and it was an exceptional medal haul for Hermitage.

A Master Medal was awarded to all four entrants, providing the best set of results for Hermitage ever.  These latest winners are:

Hermitage 10 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac.  Judge’s comments: Candied orange aromas. Really nice texture to this Cognac, hints of spice and rich fruitiness. Very sippable actually, would also be ideal for mixing.

Hermitage 25 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac.  Judges’ comments: Superbly expressive nose with rancio, cedar wood and sandalwood, followed by deep dark dried fruits – raisins, prunes, sultanas – milk choc, vanilla, delicious juicy peach and plump sultana, deep woody spices add wonderful earthy notes, long finish that keeps going.

Hermitage 1975 Grande Champagne Cognac.   Judges’ comments: Very resinous palate, dry tannins, slightly saline. Hint of bitterness, stone fruits.

Hermitage 1972 Petite Champagne Cognac  Judges’ comments: Well-rounded palate- some citrus mid-palate, lifts everything. Nice combo of fruit, sweetness and spice – higher ABV holds well. Complex and well balanced.

The MD, David Baker, said

“We are really thrilled by this unprecedented recognition for our brandies. We work incredibly hard to source the very best cognacs we can find in the region, always from single estates and with age statements attached to them, and this is a tremendous reward for our efforts.  It also demonstrates that it’s possible to have exceptional quality, even in the more modest ranges such as with our 10 year old Grande Champagne (which won Master in the the VSOP – single estate flight).”

Read more about the competition results here:    The Cognac Masters 2022 results – The Spirits Business

Hermitage 1972 on The Drinking Hour

Hermitage 1972Another mention for David Baker and Hermitage Cognacs, including Hermitage 1972, on David Kermode’s podcast, The Drinking Hour.  In Episode 54 David interviews Joel Harrison, IWSC judge and writer, about cognac, how it’s made and the production situation.  About 35 minutes in, Joel refers to our very own David Baker as “the Indiana Jones of Cognac” and of Hermitage Cognacs as being “ridiculously well-priced”.  He goes on to say that “anything that David Baker is bottling is great” and when asked for his favourite cognacs he describes Hermitage as “Brilliant stuff at fantastic value”.

Towards the end of the podcast (at 49 mins) David Kermode recommends some of the IWSC winners.  Talking about our Hermitage 1972 Petite Champagne Cognac the judges described it as having “a sensationally aromatic nose with a balance of sweetness and acidity noteworthy of its age, integrated wood, spicy concentration and mildly drying tanins on the cigar hungry finish”. And David commented that in a terrible year for wine this would make the perfect 50th present for someone.  Too true!

Listen to the podcast here:

The Drinking Hour: With David Kermode – FoodFM: Episode 54 – Cognac on Apple Podcasts