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  • Gift Vouchers - A personal way to choose this Christmas

    This year we thought that it would be a good idea to make the Christmas Thought count by offering you the opportunity to buy a gift which lets your friend or relative choose exactly what they like. After all, we have such a vast range of cognacs and brandies that in some cases you probably don’t really know exactly which they will most enjoy. In a way we have created this situation by offering our customers a uniquely individual and wide range of cognacs, armagnacs and other brandies with many styles, ages and vintages to choose from.

    Gift Vouchers range in value from £10 to £100 and you can, of course, buy multiples to obtain the value you require.  Just think how nice it would be for you to give something that your friends or relatives can use to celebrate so personally, in their own individual way..... They may prefer the 30 year old cognac with its smooth chocolaty and nutty flavour or perhaps the award winning 1975 Grande Champagne or, the 2000, a vintage that has nearly run out.

    Christmas, is the ideal time to make your friends and family happy with a gift voucher from Brandyclassics, it makes sense and will save you the worry of foot slogging it
    around the shops. Happy Christmas.

  • Just Arrived - Domaine du Cardinat Armagnacs

    We have just added a new product line to our list.  Domaine du Cardiant Bas Armagnac is available in a range of vintages - 1998, 1994, 1988, 1983, 1974, 1973 and 1954 - as well as a very sexy looking XO decanter.  This exciting new Armagnac comes from the top Armagnac region and has already created a sensation at our works with its beautiful nutty and prune flavours.  Its seriously good and well worth the price.

  • Hangovers

    With the festive season soon to be upon us, we thought that a word or two from the Managing Director, about how to avoid the worst hangovers, wouldn’t go amiss…….

    My grandmother used to say “drink a glass of milk to line your stomach", not sure if that worked but drinking a lot of water before you hit the bottle certainly helps as it dilutes the alcohol before it has time to absorb into the bloodstream. The alcohol causes the blood vessels to dilate, creating a comfortable warm flush but it also depresses the central nervous system in the brain creating a relaxed feeling.

    Unfortunately, alcohol also interferes with the secretion of some hormones which inhibit the flow of urine, so the kidneys send water directly to the bladder and you rushing to the loo - instead of reabsorbing it into the body. You only need to drink about 250ml of alcoholic drink for the body to expel up to four times as much liquid. Body water is essential so it will be stolen from the brain making it shrink and causing pain. The more alcohol you drink the more you start to feel sick.  Constant urinating leads to a depletion of salts and potassium, and toxins irritate you stomach lining. Your stomach also produces hydrochloric acid so the nerves send a message to the brain that the stomach’s contents are hurting the body and must be expelled! Alcohol also interferes with the production of glutamine, a natural body stimulant. Whilst you are drunk, the levels of glutamine are low encouraging a deep sleep however, the body works hard to produce excesses of the stimulant.  This increases brain activity which wakes you up and prevents you from reaching the deepest and most relaxing form of sleep, usually making you tired and hung over in the morning.

    So what can we do the following morning to overcome the horrendous head pains and nauseous feeling? Vitamin C is said to be good and a couple of fizzy tablets also help but aspirin can make you feel worse as it affects the lining of your stomach.  Coffee can have the same effect so probably water, or some juice, is best in large quantities and with food to help absorb more alcohol. One sure way to help things along is exercise, enough to make you sweat the alcohol out. Sure, it hurts in the short term but normality seems to come quicker the harder you go at it. For me though, I take the easy route, a really hot steam in a sauna for an hour works wonders!

    Perhaps though, you should do as we do at Brandyclassics. We taste a lot of cognacs, as you would imagine, and after rolling it around our mouths, chewing it and making sure all parts of our mouths are suitably coated with the nectar, we spit it out!  Seriously though do enjoy your Cognacs , there are a lot of different ones to taste so take it easy, you will enjoy them just that bit more.

  • Customers Prefer Premium Spirits

    Trading up to quality drinking occasions

    Sales of premium spirit brands in the UK are growing at a much faster rate than in the total alcohol industry as consumers seek to ‘trade up’ to satisfy their need for less but better drinking experiences.   This trend has been fuelled by continued austerity in Britain along with the government’s drive to curb the nation’s alcohol consumption.  According to the First Drinks Market Report 2013, premium spirit sales have grown in value by 25% in the on-trade and 4% in the off-trade sectors.  An influx of foreign wealth, particularly in London, is driving sales for prestige spirits.  This increase in high net worth individuals has helped to drive growth at the ‘super’ and ‘ultra-premium’ end of the market, particularly with exquisite, aged cognacs.

  • 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.

  • Exporting to Asia

    Our export sales continue to increase but our business in Asia has recently had an added boost.  Previous sales in Macau and China have been overtaken by our first contract in Thailand.  The initial order is underway and agreement to ship a couple of containers annually is in the final stages.  We are confident that it will be the start of a long and fruitful relationship with our Thai customers.

    Not to be outdone, a delegation of Chinese businessmen is visiting Brandyclassics next month to negotiate a much larger and longer term contract which could amount to five containers per annum.  This presents a significant expansion of our sales in China to date and indicates that the Chinese demand for top quality cognac continues unabated.  Fortunately the French arm of our business, SARL Hermitage, is ideally placed to provide the infrastructure and logistic support required to fulfill such large, on-going orders.

    Coupled with our current customers in Russia and the Middle East, including the Raffles Group and Jurmeirah Hotels in Dubai, this expansion in our export market certainly confirms our position as a truly global supplier of luxury, vintage cognac.

  • The Charente Scene - Autumn 2013

    The harvest this year will start on the first week of October and the quantities allowed will be substantially greater than ever before. Technically we are allowed to produce nearly 20hl of pure spirit per hectare but this cannot ever be made as it would be impossible to grow enough grapes for such an optimistic target. However, it does at least show that the authorities are serious about increasing stock levels which we hope will save some of the older cognacs being used for the younger blends and allow an increase in overall quantity.

    So far the quantities are looking good, as is the quality. We are expecting both the sugar levels and acidity to be good as well but the weather needs to be kind.  Poor weather before the harvest could create a very different picture from that which we are currently anticipating. We need every drop we can make this year; we keep our fingers crossed!

  • Drinks with a Difference

    The wonderful 1995 Pineau des Charentes from Chateau de Beaulon is the finest example of vintage Pineau we have tasted. Its rich peach and honey flavour is totally unique, as it has been aged in casks which contained a very famous sauterne wine.

    Pineau is made from grape juice which is added to the eau de vie before aging in oak casks. Both red and white pineau are made from the indigenous grapes of the region. Another glorious example from Chateau de Beaulon is their 5 year old white pineau which is made from chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. It’s perfect for making Pineau Royale, a long drink that will surpass even the finest Pimms on warm sunny evenings!

    Other great mixers include Crème à la Fraise des Bois for your pink champagne and the magical Liqueur de Framboises for a Kir Impérial.

  • The Charente Scene - Summer 2013

    It seems that the French are almost paranoid about their holiday.  It starts in July and they gradually come back to reality at the end of August when there is so much to do one is lucky to be able to talk to them, let alone visit, for the following month. Of course at SARL Hermitage we carry on and this year we are hoping to be busy with orders from other countries. It is true to say that unless there is inclement weather, there is little to do in the vineyards at this time. Last year it rained all through the summer in France and there was a real risk of rot setting into the grapes so spraying was the name of the game.  We still managed to get good yields so let’s hope this year is even better!

  • Appealing to the younger Cognac drinker

    Cognac houses have long been seeking ways to lure younger drinkers back to the spirit.  Cognac cocktails are becoming increasingly popular but in their creation, the uniqueness of the cognac is lost.  Recognising this problem Tessendier & Fils, who take pride in their single estate vintages, are trialling another idea.  They have teamed up with Michelin-starred chef Thierry Verrat to produce Cognac and Caviar matching.  Three small caviar dishes are paired with different cognacs that have been chilled.  The cognac takes the place of more traditional vodka and by chilling it the alcohol intensity is cut and the taste buds open up more.  In this way the cognac becomes part of a combination and introduces consumers to a new way of enjoying it.  An idea worth trying…..?

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