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News

  • Father's Day Gift Ideas - Sunday 16th June 2019

    Father's DayLooking for inspiration for Father's Day gifts?  Look no further - we have a vast range of French and Spanish brandies to suit every taste.

    Cognac, armagnac, calvados, pineau, liqueur and eau de vie fill our shelves with lots of individual, exciting flavours to satisfy every palate.  If you are not sure which one to buy, just give us a ring and a member of the small, Brandyclassics team will be delighted to help – 01225 863988.

    We have vintages from every year of birth from 1928 to 2002 and a few more besides.  There is no better way to say “thank you “ than with a Father’s Day present from Brandyclassics.

  • Championing Small Cognac Producers

    Small Cognac ProducersThe whole cognac industry began with the little guy, tending his vines and creating outstanding eau-de-vie. Today these small cognac producers, often family run houses, struggle to remain in business, such is the competition they face from the ‘Big 4’.  These 4 companies are now so large that each has a brand ambassador, presumably to reflect their core values.  Interestingly, Hennessy, Courvoisier and Remy Martin have all chosen a trendy rap star, clearly trying to appeal to the younger market.  Martell, on the other hand, has gone for a more stylish, feminine image by choosing Diane Kruger.  But what about the smaller cognac producers who use their generations of knowledge to produce the very best, single estate, vintage cognacs – who should they choose?  Surely it must be royalty – rare, elegantly presented and steeped in history.  Or do you have a better idea?

  • The Australian Connection with Prunier

    Prunier posterDuring the years after the gold rush in the 1850s, brandy became the most popular spirit in Australia. French companies were quick to seize the opportunity and in 1870 Prunier opened a branch there.   A loyal following for the brand was built by their salesman, Émigré Ambroise Lamande.  He lived in Melbourne with his pet kangaroo and it is this marsupial that is thought to have been the inspiration behind Maresté's poster and 1929 advertising film.  Reputed to be the first cinema advertisement for cognac ever made, it featured a cartoon kangaroo discovering cases of cognac washed up on a beach and gleefully stuffing her pouch with the bottles! However, the global economic depression of the time and rising tensions in Europe led to a dramatic decline in demand for cognac in Australia. In 1938 Prunier closed its Melbourne branch and within a decade or so the brand had all but disappeared.  That is, until very recently, when a customer walked into a new wine & spirits shop and enquired about Prunier cognacs. The owner had never heard of them, so he did some research.  Impressed by the brandies and the historical connection he decided to start stocking the range.  The reaction has been overwhelming, and he now sells more of Prunier's rare and very expensive vintage cognacs than any other outlet in the world.   Another good example of how superior quality and historical knowledge increases the value and pleasure derived from your cognac.

  • For those turning 50, 70 or 80 years of age in 2020

    50, 70 & 80 years old in 2020Across our website we have very special gifts and present ideas for all years of birth but these latest vintage cognacs to arrive in the Hermitage range will be perfect for those celebrating 50, 70 or 80 years in 2020.

    From the top cru, Grande Champagne, comes Hermitage 1940 Cognac.  A beautifully balanced amber nectar, with aromas of chestnuts and truffles, it was produced in the year Winston Churchill became British Prime Minister and ordered the Dunkirk Evacuation.  Also from Grande Champagne comes Hermitage 1950 Cognac - a real joy to taste with flavours including plum crumble with a blood orange peel finish.

    Hermitage 1970 Fins Bois Cognac was harvested in the year Concorde made its first supersonic flight.  It is rare to find cognacs from the Fins Bois in the Hermitage range but this one is really very special.

  • Spirits Ingredients and Nutritional Information

    Spirits IngredientsThe trade association Spirits Europe has launched a new website giving consumers access to nutrition and spirits ingredients information on all spirit drinks legally sold in the EU.  The new site provides information on all of the EU’s 47 spirit drinks categories including cognac, armagnac and calvados  and can be found at www.responsibledrinking.eu .  Calorie information per 100ml and per serving size for each spirit is listed.  The ingredients, a full nutrition declaration (including allergens) and additional information on the production process are also included.  The website comes as part of the spirits industry’s endeavours to increase availability of nutrition and ingredients information and so deliver on the commitment submitted to the European Commission in 2018. This commitment to update Spirit Drinks Regulations aims to bring the industry in line with the 2009 Lisbon Treaty and with the developments in managing geographic indicators (GIs) for food products.  It also includes a pledge by the sector to make consumer information directly available from bottles via smartphone QR codes by 2022.  These European directives are far more progressive than those in the US where the Alcohol & Tobacco Trade & Tax Bureau is being heavily criticised for not making the display of nutritional information, including alcohol content, mandatory in its recent modernisation of alcohol labels.

  • The Charente Scene - Spring 2019

    Charente 2019Whilst in France recently, I found an air of wellbeing amongst the cognac producers of the Charente.  Last year’s super harvest, coupled with the current demand for cognac, means that their pockets are rather fuller than is usual for the season. That said, this year the harvest could already be in trouble as the region is experiencing some very hot weather. The grapes may have to be harvested early and their sugar content may also become too high.  In the town of Cognac I also found a new 5-star hotel with 2 restaurants and all the perks that go with 5-star luxury. The Chais Monnet Hotel is named after the ex-mayor of Cognac and founder of Monnet Cognac.  It will no doubt be popular with many visitors, but I will continue to stay at the Chateau L’Yeuse.   It is less than half the price of Chais Monnet and I enjoy the warmth and personality of its more intimate and peaceful surroundings.

  • Brandyclassics News - Spring 2019

    Brandyclassics NewsThe first quarter of 2019 has continued the way 2018 finished with press coverage in both The Spectator and The Sunday Times magazine, heralding the quality of the Hermitage Cognacs range.  Henry Jeffreys of the former, particularly enjoyed the Hermitage 45 Year Old and Will Lyons of the latter, was advocating our very special Hermitage 1893.  Both are superb examples from the top cru, Grande Champagne.  Exciting times reporting Brandyclassics News.

    We are constantly striving to improve our range of single estate Hermitage Cognacs and the service which we offer. If you feel that we are fulfilling our aim, we would love to hear from you. Please leave us a Review on the Google Business page (Brandyclassics), Facebook page (Brandyclassics or Hermitage Cognacs) or tag a photo on Instagram.  We are also looking to post links on our website for suppliers and customers who would like to benefit from a two-way promotional initiative.  Please get in touch for more information.

  • New Hermitage Cognac Vintages

    Hermitage Cognac VintagesWe are always looking for more fantastic, single estate cognacs with age-statements to add to our Hermitage Cognac Vintages range and these latest three are really amazing:

    Hermitage 1923 was produced in a year when Warner Brothers was established, Insulin was first used to treat Diabetes and the refrigerator became available to buy in Sweden.  This wonderful cognac is from Grande Champagne and has a fine and intense rancio, the result of more than 60 years in an oak barrel.

    Hermitage 1945 was harvested the year that marked the end of the second World War.  It is beautifully balanced with flavours of lychee, passion fruit, rosemary, cocoa and a long grapefruit tail.

    And finally we also have a new vintage from Petite Champagne; Hermitage 1969 is an unusually fine, balanced and well-aged cognac from the heart of this amazing, but lesser known cru.

  • Cognac Changes - it's Moving with the Times

    Cognac ChangesThe very strict regulations surrounding the production of cognac have been in place since the BNIC’s inception at the end of WWII.  However, recent changes in the economic and geographic environments are forcing these age-old practices to be reviewed.  Burgeoning exports have seen cognac sales increase for the last 4 years so cognac changes are afoot.  It has just been agreed that the area of vineyards in the appellation next year will rise by 3500 hectares(ha). This follows an increase of 1500 ha last year.  Global warming is also influencing vineyards across the country.  As temperatures rise the grapes ripen earlier and the harvest is brought forward.  In the cognac region there are consequences for the process that follows this earlier harvest.  Crushing the grapes and fermentation then take place when daytime temperatures are still too warm and night time temperatures are not low enough. If the temperature of the grape juice during fermentation exceeds 80 ˚F, the classic cognac taste will be distorted.  A new research laboratory has just been set up by China and France to investigate the creation of new grape varieties that are better adapted to climate change.  Some ‘super’ grapes, that are resistant to rot, have already been cultivated.  Perhaps they should also look to Japan who always have to cope with hot, moist conditions?  They employ innovative techniques such as wax paper hats over the bunches of fruit, plastic sheets to protect from excessive rainfall and fans to stimulate air conditioning.

  • The Price of Cognac History

    cognac historyM Restaurant has announced that it is to sell its bottle of 1894 cognac for over £6000 for a 25ml shot - that's the price of cognac history.  The bottle is reputedly the first blend ever produced by Jean Fillioux, who founded the Fillioux cognac house.  Snippets of history such as this are often priceless in the cognac world.  Over the years we have sold many such historically important bottles to luxury hotels in London.  The ultimate in super-premium spirits, these too have been sold by the measure for thousands of pounds.  But to command this sort of price tag, each must have a story attached.  Many were produced in the pre-Phylloxera era (pre 1875), when cognac production was considerably different from today, and produced by old family firms that may no longer be in existence.  The vintage may also be attached to an event in history, such as the beginning of the French revolution in 1789, which adds to its interest and value.  Selling very old cognac is a proven way of increasing bar takings but beware, establishing authenticity is a specialist business; we have been undertaking it for decades.

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