The Larsen brand of is probably known in every cognac drinking country for their Viking Ship logo. The firm was established in 1926 by Jens Reidar Larsen who came from Tromso, north of the arctic circle in Norway. The firm are quick to point out that the term Viking refers to a state of mind rather than the plundering race of warriors searching many countries for wealth!
Jens Larsen was a cognac connoisseur and became charmed by the inimitable atmosphere and people of Cognac. Jens was a businessman and after a while bought a small cognac company belonging to a Joseph Gautier. There were many difficulties, but he eventually managed to change the name to Larsen, which quickly became recognisable to the Scandinavian markets.
He married a local girl and had two children. Jean, the eldest took over the business in the 1960’s and was largely responsible for building up the prosperity of the Larsen brand throughout the world. The present generation, Frédéric, Nicolas and Anne now control the reins of the family business, utilising the trademark “Drakkar” - symbol of its Norseman history.
Originally the firm sold most of its cognacs in casks mainly to the state monopolies of its native Scandinavia, before it widened its trade throughout Europe, which nowadays buys more than 75% of its cognacs. It buys its cognacs mainly from the Fins Bois and the Champagnes - but less than a fifth of its sales go to the top end of the markets and they concentrate on the cheaper end of the market. They often distinctive bottles and decanters, including ceramic Viking Ships and Norseman Warriors, which have been successful in the Far East. Larsen pride themselves on the lightness of their cognacs but in truth many have to be reduced - sugar syrups are used to reduce the aggressiveness of their character. The firm still have a few vintage cognacs including an interesting 1973.