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News

  • Brandyclassics enter the Asian Cognac market

    For more than a year we have been discussing the potential trade opportunities in Asia. We were unfortunate last year as we had planned to enter trade through the food and wine exhibition in Singapore. Despite having set up all the display work for the show, we were scuppered at the last moment by a giant ash cloud looming overhead from Iceland and we were able to reach the show until the last day.

    This year we were helped by UKTI who set up a number of key players in the field. Our aspirations were for a single distributor who was able to supply Hermitage Cognacs to Hong Kong and Macau and we were presented with four possible distributors who were already supplying that market with upmarket wines and other spirits.

    The Asian market for cognacs is currently very strong, but we were surprised and highly delighted that all four of the potential distributors have agreed to buy Hermitage Pure Vintage Cognacs and supply them to their customers in the region, with two of them even working over the border into mainland China. We are optimistic that the growth of Hermitage Cognacs into the luxury Chinese markets will further our range of top cognacs to our existing customers.

     

  • Chinese want Hermitage Cognacs now

    We have recently returned from Hong Kong where we have been working closely with UKTI in setting up distribution of Hermitage Pure Vintage Cognacs. Our visit included meetings with four specialist luxury drinks distributors who have now tasted and explored the possibilities of selling Hermitage cognacs to their customers. They are all involved with sales to the luxury sector of the Hong Kong hotels and restaurants markets and their clients are excited at being able to buy non generically labelled cognacs for the first time.

    Brandyclassics expect to be receiving their first orders from Hong Kong within weeks. Many of their clients are already considering the higher priced cognacs and our Hermitage 43 year old, 1975 Grande Champagne and 1900 are already firm favourites.

  • Hermitage Celebration 70 year old vintage cognac

    We are proud to announce a rare and very special limited edition cognac, a 70 year old Grande Champagne cognac, will be available to the cognac connoisseur very shortly!

    During a recent visit to the Charente when we were discussing old cognacs with a producer, we came across a very rare Grande Champagne cognac hiding in a cellar. By a quirk of coincidence not only is this cognac 70 years old (that is 70 years in a barrel),  there are also only 70 bottles available.

    This fine old nectar has a wonderful rich toffee, almond aroma, this is also in its wonderful flavour but with much rancio. We are packing it in a special very attractive bottle, will be called THREE SCORE YEARS & TEN and is available at £1495.00/70cl bottle. It is a piece of liquid history, so good that the boss has bagged a bottle for his retirement in years to come!

    To register your interest in buying one of these exceptional bottles of rare cognac, please call Brandyclassics on +44(0)1225 863988

    Brandyclassics' Hermitage range of outstandingly single producer cognacs are firmly aimed at the discerning cognac drinker. Bottles range from under £30 nearly £1500 and will satisfy every palette and pocket.

  • Courvoisier join in Brandyclassics' campaign for “Numbers on Bottles”

    At last, a major cognac house has recognised the need for numbers on bottles! Courvoisier have introduced age statements with their 12 and 21 year old cognacs.

    Here at Brandyclassics we have campaigned for more than a decade the need for customers to benefit from knowing the age of the cognacs they buy. We recognised that customers have become confused with the generic descriptions used by the big houses to sell cognacs. Not only are they unaware of the age of cognacs used in such descriptions as VS, VSOP and XO, they have also come to recognise that there is virtually no difference in the flavour of these highly blended cognacs.

    We thank Courvoisier for joining our campaign, and we endorse their policy of introducing "Numbers on Bottles". But they did not break the mould in age statements! Brandyclassics' Hermitage Cognacs have been available for many years and have always included age statements.

    Brandyclassics are exclusive suppliers of the exceptional range of Hermitage cognacs. Each bottle has a distinctive and unique flavour, a result of the precise distillation and careful ageing skills of a single cognac producer. Hermitage cognacs are only available for sale through our website, but can also found in some of the most exclusive hotels and restaurants in the world.

  • Hermitage 1900 and 1914 Rare Vintage Cognacs - discovered in old cellars

    During a visit to Cognac last week we have been lucky enough to find two old bonbonnes of rare cognac. Each bonbonne holds the equivalent of about 42 bottles and some will be decanted into bottles next month.

    The first container is a rare 1900 cognac which we have found with the help of one of our suppliers; it has an extremely traditional Grande Champagne style and taste and is ready for bottling now.

    The second comes from the area now known as Borderies and is a 1914 vintage. This is the third cru of Cognac and is famous for producing extremely nutty and toffee style cognacs, this being very typical of the cru. This cognac requires a small level of stabilisation and should be ready for bottling in about 3 months time. The Hermitage 1914 Borderies, Vieux Quartiers will soon be available to buy online through our website, so watch out!

    Brandyclassics constantly seek out the highest quality rare vintage cognacs for our discerning customers. Hermitage Cognacs, available exclusively from Brandyclassics, are pure cognacs made without the need for sugar or caramel additives common in mass market blended cognacs. Very specific distillation qualities and long, careful ageing in oak casks are what creates our award winning cognacs...

  • Hennessy cognac workers go on strike

    Workers at Hennessy’s cellars of Haut-Bagnolet walked out last Tuesday as a show of solidarity against wages. They are seeking a bigger share of the cognac producer's profits.

    Urged by the unions (Intersyndicale CGT and Force Ouvriere), employees are not happy at the breakdown of talks earlier in the week at the mandatory annual negotiations about a reassessment of staff wages. CGT delegate Francoise Puchaud stated that the company wants to bring in a reassessment well below the company’s growth. Business is looking strong for 2011 and the proposed offer for employees is not keeping with this. Hennessy have refused to grant an annual wage increase of 1.8% one which is already considered by the unions as too low.

    The unions are stating that the company has grown by around 25% and that the dividends to its shareholders will be more than double this year.

    Brandyclassics stock a range of  vintage and rare cognacs, carefully chosen from the cellars of selected single estate cognac producers.

  • Prices of Rare Pre-Phylloxera Cognacs are at all Time Records

    Hennessy are in the news again. This time its for all the wrong reasons. It appears that somebody has been making off with some of their massively expensive Ellipse cognacs and selling them back onto the market. One has to ask who is the bigger crook. The cognac priced at 7565€ is a blend of seven different eau de vie, some of which must come from other than the champagnes, plus there is no age statement on the bottle! We have to hope that there is some of the increasingly costly pre-phylloxera blended in to justify the price.

    Indeed, early pre-phylloxera cognacs have increased in value considerably over recent years, with prices in the last four years going up by more than 200%. Whilst bottles are still available from around 1800, they are becoming increasingly more difficult to find and the indication is that prices will go up even faster in the future. Currently, a bottle of 1856 has a trade price similar to the Hennessy Elipse and it comes from the region now known as Grande Champagne, I think I know which I would prefer!

    Brandyclassics have a number of very rare Pre-phylloxera cognacs for sale, from famous houses such as Hardy, Massouges,  Eschenaeur & Co, Moyet and Jules Robin.

     

  • Did You Know? The taxation levied on Brandy

    During last November, customs officials seized a record quantity of wines and spirits from smugglers attempting to sell them on the open market in the UK. In essence it is not difficult to see why - some people will attempt to bring spirits into the UK without paying duty or taxes, since the duty rates have been steadily increasing over the last few years. And these increases are on top of what were already the third highest duty rates in Europe, with only Finland and Ireland paying more.

    The current rate of duty on spirits which we have to pay is £23.80 per litre of pure alcohol. Rates on wines are £225/100 litres and champagne £288.20/100 litres. If we equate this to the duty on a bottle of spirits at say 40% alcohol we have to add just over £6.66 a bottle - but the story doesn’t end there.

    VAT is charged on the combined value of both the brandy cost and the duty; in effect double taxing alcoholic drinks in the UK. A costing preview of one of our very lowest cost armagnacs (it is one of superb quality), reveals that depending on the exchange rates at the time, we buy it at slightly less than the duty, making a combined price of £12.80. VAT on top of that raises the price to £15.36 and after we add in the cost of getting it and bonding the cost increases to £16.98. Packaging adds another £1.20, providing a gross total of £18.18. Financial experts will also recognise that we have to cost in our overheads, which means our margin is probably slightly less than a pound when we sell it to our trade customers.

    Fortunately we sell a lot of brandies at rather more than £22.20 a bottle, but this exercise serves to indicate just how much of a bottle's value goes to HM coffers. Which leads us to ask the question, if duty rates were lower, would the Government collect more duty? UK rates are about 3 times that of many other EU countries...

  • A new Cognac year begins

    March 31st is the official end of the cognac year when all distillation must cease. In practice distillation will probably have finished around Christmas, but on the 1st April all cognacs become 'comtpe 0' - the official start of the cognacs long ageing process.

    Cognacs put into barrels by 31st March 2011 will become 1 year old on 31st March 2012. This is the reason why people tend to express ages using the half year term. For example, three and a half when referring to the minimum ages of VSOP, or six and a half for XO. A cognac may have been put into the oak barrels in April, or in late March, a difference in maturation time of over 11 months! With the larger manufacturers using increasingly short maturation times, this "half year" can make a noticeable difference.

    Some of the Hermitage cognacs made this year will be ready to drink in another fifty years. Hermitage cognacs are all aged naturally and that is why they are so good...

     

  • Increase in duty on all cognac, brandy and calvados

    The Chancellor announced yesterday an increase in duty on all spirits, taking the level up to £25 a litre of pure alcohol. This equates to £7 a bottle at 40% alc. This means for an average bottle of cognac costing £30, more than £16.50 goes on duty and tax. And don’t forget that Vat is also charged on the total of the spirits value and the duty combined - in effect double taxing the consumer.

    Under the new duty increase, Hermitage Cognacs will in future sadly have to cost more, adding nearly one pound to an average bottle of cognac. Brandyclassics still have some stocks of our Hermitage Cognacs available at the old level of duty, so please visit our online store add buy now before prices go up.

     

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