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News

  • Cognac House Hine Changes Hands

    Hine CognacThe famous cognac house of Hine has had a colourful past.  After 6 generations of family ownership, the company was sold to the Distillers Company.  Later it was bought by Möet Hennessy and then CL World Brands.  Probably not the future that British-born founder Thomas Hine had intended.  Although Bernard Hine has, since 1963, continued to be involved, the company missed the benefits family ownership brings.  Its recent sale to French family firm, EDV SAS, has therefore been welcomed with open arms.  Returning to family values with recognition of the longevity of the production process, Hine has been able to rediscover its origins.  New releases of 'early-landed', being developed for travel retail, and single­ estate vintage cognac demonstrate where it's heading.  This, coupled with its fresh, youthful new packaging, H by Hine, illustrates the company's desire to progress yet retain its core values, something many cognac houses have lost.

    Hine is not the only cognac house to have changed hands recently though.  Ivory Coast footballer, Olivier Tebily, bought his first vineyards as a teenager.  Acutely aware of the fragility of his chosen profession he planned to one day produce cognac.  Buying vineyards as an outsider is a tricky business but he took his search seriously and made good friends along the way. One of them, the son of his neighbour, tragically died leaving no heir to the family estate so when the father wanted to sell his 22 acres, Olivier was the obvious choice.  Good to see an injection of fresh blood occasionally!

  • New 20Cl Cognac Gift Presentations

    20Cl CognacWe have just extended our range of Hermitage Cognac 20Cl Gift Presentations.  They can be purchase in box sets of two on the website.  If you cannot see the combination that you require, just phone or email us. with your preference.

    Many of the finest and rarest cognacs are hardly ever tasted since the prices are often beyond the reach of many cognac devotees.  This new presentation gives more cognac fans the opportunity to enjoy these wonderful old nectars.   Ideal for drinking either on ones own, or with friends.

    You can choose two 20Cl bottles from the following Hermitage Vintage Cognacs:

    1900                                1956                                   1967                                50 year old

    1914                                 1957                                  1987                                60 year old

    1917                                 1966                                   43 year old                   70 year old

    Some vintages are in very limited supply so don't miss this amazing opportunity to try some wonderfully aged cognac from years ago.

  • Our Vintage Brandies Range From 1900 - 2005

    We Have Every Single Year From 1930 - 1994

    Brandies from every yearWe specialise in supplying vintage brandies for special occasions.  Cognac, armagnac and calvados originate in France and we select only the very best.  The range has been expanding since we started out more than a quarter of a century ago.  It now spans over a century.

    Our stocks include a vintage for every single year from 1930 to 1994 – that’s 65 years of birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions which can be marked with something truly special.  Vintage brandies were harvested in the year they were labelled and then aged, untouched in casks for many years.  Single estate, single cask and no additives – just pure brandy – the perfect way to celebrate.

  • Why Choose Cognac As Your Spirit?

    choose cognacFor the last three centuries cognac has been almost universally recognised as the finest of all the hundreds of spirits distilled from grapes. So why should you choose cognac?  For sheer depth and intensity, fruitiness, subtlety of bouquet, warmth and complexity of flavour and length of time for which the taste lingers on the palate, cognac remains incomparable. The ability to extract so much of the essential flavour from the grape is no accident. It involves possessing the right soil and climate and choosing the right grape varieties.  Appropriate distillation methods must be used.  Then, the inherent quality must be enhanced through long storage in the right kind and size of oak cask.  And the storage conditions must be right - damp and dark.

    choose cognacThere is no other spirit in the world that can compare with the sophistication, complexity and length of time it takes to produce a bottle of cognac. It’s flavours and supreme quality are the result of generations of skills handed down over the centuries.  Unlike white spirits, cognac offers an incomparable range of natural flavours derived from a fruit grown in near perfect conditions and when, after decades, it is bottled it can become a most valuable prize.  There is no other spirit that offers such complexity and interest in its many stages of production, no wonder cognac is known as The King of all Spirits.

  • Another Historic Cognac Vintage - 1947

    We are delighted to announce the addition of yet another Hermitage Ville Ancienne cognac to our range.  This particular vintage is proving to be a rarity.  Hermitage 1947 Grande Champagne Cognac has flavours of sweet spices, ripe medlars, muscat grapes, ripe plums and cocoa. Superbly balanced, it has developed a good rancio.  We don’t expect it to be available for long!

    This cognac was distilled 70 years ago in 1947.   That year, George Marshall outlined the ‘Marshall Plan’ which set out to rebuild Western Europe after the second World War. Also, the future British Queen, Princess Elizabeth II wed Lt Philip Mountbatten in Westminster Abbey, London.

  • More Phylloxera Found in Australia

    PhylloxeraIt has been reported that the vine pest, Phylloxera Vastatrix, now known as Grape Phylloxera, is increasing its foothold in Australia. It has now been found in Victoria and New South Wales and the area infested is growing. The deadly aphid has a complex life cycle, reproducing at an alarming rate and attacking the roots of the vines. In the late nineteenth century, the Phylloxera decimated most of the vines (including cognac) in Europe, forcing the growers to replant using Phylloxera-resistant rootstock from the US. Today, many other countries are still growing the vulnerable Vitis Vinifera vines on their own roots.  Perhaps this is because of the cost of replanting but also, some believe that the quality of the grapes from grafted rootstock is not as good. It seems that soon, the rest of the world will have no choice but to follow Europe’s lead.

  • The Last Drop 1947 Cognac

    1947 cognacThe Last Drop Distillers, recently bought by Sazerac, has released a limited run of a 1947 Hors d’Age Cognac. Distilled just after the end of World War II, just 186 bottles are in existence. Each bottle has been filled by hand, wax sealed and presented in a red leather case along with a 50ml miniature. The bottling also includes a certificate of authenticity, a leather-bound tasting booklet and a custom-made stopper. It is an attractive presentation but before you feel compelled to part with £3,200 for one, check out the competition first. Hermitage 1947 Grande Champagne Cognac is a real gem from the same year. Traditionally presented, it can be purchased for a mere £711.34.

  • 'Brexit' and the Drinks Industry

    europeSince Great Britain voted to leave the EU, about a year ago, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has had much to say about it. They are concerned that if frictionless borders are not put in place, laborious customs checks will severely delay the importation of wine and spirits and lead to a resurgence in alcohol smugglers. More recently, the CEO said that it was essential the UK secure transitional measures that would allow sufficient time for “necessary systems to be introduced and properly tested” and avoid the UK falling off a cliff without a deal. The UK is the world’s second largest imported wine market and the largest spirits exporter so the Brexit challenge is as acute for the UK as it is for other European countries. On a more positive note, the UK ferry industry hopes that Brexit will provide a welcome boon for the travel retail sector, paving the way for the return of duty-free shopping on board for the first time in 20 years.

  • The Charente Scene - Summer 2017

    The CharenteMuch of the news from the Charente recently has been about the severe frosts that occurred at the end of April. The air temperature dropped to between -3 and -4°C on two consecutive mornings, affecting around 70% of the vineyards in the cognac growing region. The frost, which was the worst since 1991, damaged the young shoots emerging from the vines and is thought to have affected 40% of total production. A BNIC spokesman said that in a few cases this year’s grape harvest has been completely wiped out and some growers may find it difficult to recover. To help raise the production level of this depleted grape availability, the BNIC have allowed production levels to rise from 10hl to 12hl of pure spirit per hectare. However, some growers, who concentrate on the high quality of their vines, believe this is far more than their vines can produce. We shall wait and see but one consequence could be an increase in cognac prices next year.

  • The Fall of Menuet Cognac - A Sad Tale

    menuet cognacChinese customs officials have recently uncovered more than US$29m of smuggled spirits and here is the story behind the news ….. More than twenty years ago, in our quest to find top quality Grande Champagne cognacs, we stumbled upon a cognac house called Menuet. You may have seen their cognacs on our web site, the 50 year old was a particular star. Sadly, the firm became embroiled in financial difficulties and because we understood both the firm and others around, we were able to assist by finding another organisation which could provide support. Menuet recovered its position and continued to sell in international markets. In due course however, the owner decided to sell the company to a Chinese named Mr Yang - he used the Menuet brand name to sell brandies in bulk to China, seemingly without paying duty or tax. Apparently, he mixed small quantities of cognac with huge volumes of cheap grape brandy. That is, until it was discovered recently by Chinese customs ….. What is really upsetting about this story is that a highly respected name, that once supplied some of the finest cognacs we have tasted, has been ruined by an unscrupulous Chinese operator prepared to supply cheap brandy in Cognac 1er cru bottles.

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