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News from the Brandy Houses

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The Bottle Story - Laguille 2010 Bas Armagnac

    Armagnac producers Domaine Laguille have just released a Limited Edition of 350 bottles of their Laguille 2010 Bas Armagnac finished in a  whisky cask.  Following the latest trend by cognac producers to give their cognacs a ‘finish’, Laguille wants to show that even armagnac, the oldest French brandy of them all can move with the times.  Strict regulations state that armagnac must be aged in French oak – the oak barrel used had previously been used to age a peated scotch from the Isle of Mull.  The result is an armagnac with many of the peated notes associated with Scottish whisky.  It is hoped that this will appeal to different, younger audiences.  Laguille’s Commercial Director said “It’s now or never for armagnac.  It’s a time when people are looking for smaller productions and everyone speaks about craft.  It’s a moment that armagnac must not miss.  The problem with armagnac has never been the product.  The product is wonderful.  The problem is how to sell it and how to market it."

    The youngest vintage armagnac we sell is almost 20 years old and makes a good comparison:

  • The Travel Retail Sector

    Travel Retail SectorCommonly known as ‘Duty Free’, the Travel Retail Sector has long been the testing ground for new brandy releases - presumably travelling customers are more adventurous than those shopping from home?  Often it is the packaging that is markedly different; the big houses like to involve famous artists in their limited edition, presentation designs.  Just recently though, we have seen a real change in approach from some of the smaller houses.  Prunier, one of the oldest independent cognac houses, has just released The Age Statement Collection.  It comprises 8 guaranteed age cognacs, from 10 to 80 years old. Prunier’s President said “Our commitment is to offer the most natural cognacs with no artificial colouring, no sugar and no added wood extract.  We are a very small company and perhaps make our cognac in old-fashioned ways, but we have a lot of experience in age statements and vintages and believe in being different.”  We could not have put that better ourselves!  It’s good to see another quality cognac house following in Hermitage’s footsteps, even if their price range of 130€ – 6999€ seems rather steep to us.

    Another new Duty Free product comes from William Grant & Sons who have, for the first time, released a range of cognacs.  They have teamed up with La Guilde du Cognac to produce a terroir driven collection.  Called the Single Village Collection, each bottle is in fact a vintage with the village of origin and cru designated on the label.  Clearly, William Grant’s have, like Hermitage, recognised the increasing desire of customers to know exactly what is in their bottle of cognac rather than accepting a generic blend.  The marketing is clever using a new expression ‘single village’ to describe the purity of its product and it is interesting that 4 of the cognac crus, rather than just the top 2, have been represented.  And it is not just cognac that is testing the Travel Retail Sector.  Calvados producers 30&40 have also created a new range of limited edition, single cask, products.  Each is described by its cru and age meaning that they are all calvados fermier - spirits made entirely by a single farmer.  We are delighted to see the travel retail market moving in this direction.  Numbers on bottles has been our mantra for over a quarter of a century.

  • Hermitage Cognacs in the National Press

    National PressThe last few months of 2018 were, as always, very busy here at Brandyclassics as we worked hard to meet the ever-increasing demand for brandies at Christmas.  Our Hermitage Cognacs took centre stage as we enjoyed some fantastic write-ups in the national press.  Articles in the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Mail on Sunday all added to the excitement and we sold our last bottle of Hermitage 2008 Grande Champagne Cognac a few days before Christmas.  Now back in stock, this latest addition to our range has been a much-featured success story.  Although only 10 years old, it has a tremendous depth of flavour and all the characteristics of being much, much older.  In total only 200 bottles are available so if you have not bought yours yet do hurry, it will not be around for long!

  • Massougnes 1805 - 'One Of The Rarest And Highest Value Single Cognac Sales In History'

    1805 Cognac Massougnes fetches over £200,000 through London fine wine merchant Hedonism Wines

    Massougnes 1805Hermitage Cognacs have provided one of the most expensive bottles of cognac ever sold in the UK, which has just been sold by London Fine Wine merchant, Hedonism Wines, for over £200,000.  The imperial three-quarter gallon bottle of Cognac Massougnes was acquired by Hermitage Cognacs some 20 years ago from Marie-Antoinette des Allées, Comtesse de la Bourdelière, whose family owns the former Cognac producing estate.

    Hermitage Managing Director David Baker takes up the story:

    “In over 30 years of buying and selling cognac, this 1805 is one of the oldest and rarest I have ever come across.  Massougnes produced historically famous cognacs pre-Phylloxera (the louse which devastated most of France’s vineyards in the 1860s), and we have dated their records back to at least 1730, making them the oldest known growers and sellers of brandies.

    “At its peak the property covered 346 hectares, and Marie-Antoinette, who is the last remaining descendant of this famous family has written a charming note about the ‘life’ of this extraordinary cognac, which was created in the same year as the Battle of Trafalgar.”

    Marie-Antoinette des Allées is a direct descendant of Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine and their children, King Richard of England and King John.

    Hermitage is focused on selling only the very best Grande Champagne cognac. Hermitage Cognacs have since 1987 established a peerless reputation as suppliers of the very finest cognacs from old family houses where traditions and skills date back over hundreds of years. It is thanks to Hermitage’s unique relationships, forged over decades, that they have access to the best examples, each one uniquely different, with examples such as this dating back to the end of the 19th Century and beyond.

    This is the second such bottling from Massougnes which Hermitage have been able to source; another bottle sold for a similar sum in 2016. The identity of the purchaser has not been disclosed.

  • Nick Faith 1933 - 2018

    Nick Faith VisitIt would be difficult for me to write another Technical Topic without mentioning Nick Faith who very sadly passed away on 26 September 2018. Nick was a friend whom I have known for more than 25 years. But he was more than that, He was a giant in the cognac industry.

    As a financial journalist Nick wrote regularly in the Financial Times and the Economist. He also wrote many books on drink.  His first, called The Winemasters, was published in 1978 and won the André Simon Award.   Another, and one of his finest was a rather grand full-sized book with many illustrations but actually, he was best known for his book simply called Cognac.  It was  first published in 2004 (the last edition was published in 2013) and is regarded by many as the Standard in the industry.  Here at Hermitage, we still use it occasionally for reference.  In 1996 he founded the International Spirits Challenge and in 2010 he was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Bureau National Interprofessional de Cognac (BNIC), the ruling body of Cognac.  As a fellow traveller to the Cognac region, Nick loved to visit us here at Hermitage Cognacs and talk about the industry, tasting our cognacs and finishing up with lunch and a beer before I took him back to Chippenham to return on the train, another of his loves.

    Nick Faith will be sorely missed, not just as a great authority on cognacs but as an inspiration to the industry, he was one of the Cognac Greats.

  • IWSC 2018 Gold Outstanding Medal Winners

    IWSC 2018Another fantastic result for the Hermitage stable as three of our newest additions are awarded prestigious medals at this year's International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC 2018).  GOLD OUTSTANDING Medals were received by our latest vintages:

     

    Hermitage 1948 Grande Champagne Cognac.  Judges comments: "On the palate this cognac is extremely rich and concentrated.  Perfectly balanced."

    Hermitage 1944 Grande Champagne Cognac.  Judges comments: "Absolutely superb!  Do not wait to drink this."

     

    All three of our winners are from the top cru as a GOLD Medal was also awarded to the Hermitage 30 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac.  Judges comments: "Powerful yet elegant on the palate.  Very complex, very long finish."

  • Hermitage 1944 Grande Champagne Cognac

    1944 GC CognacWe are really excited about the latest Hermitage 1944 Cognac to make it onto our shelves.

     

    Distilled almost 75 years ago and aged for more than half a century, the Hermitage 1944 Grande Champagne Cognac is truly wonderful.  It has a rich complexity of aromas and flavours which last for ages on the palate and they are all wrapped up in a rich rancio .... what more could you wish for?

     

    This really is a little bit of cognac heaven.

  • Ageing Larsen Cognac At Sea

    Fort BoyardAnother company seeking to recreate a cognac from a past era (see The Bottle Story) is Larsen.  A barrel of their 40 year old Cognac has been transported to a 20-metre-high sea fort, at the mouth of the River Charentes, where it will remain for several months. The aim is to replicate the ageing conditions that Cognac would have undergone hundreds of years ago and see how maritime weather affects the finished product.   Larsen’s Cellar Master said: “Traditionally, in the 18th and 19th centuries, shallow boats were loaded with barrels of Cognac before crossing oceans to markets all over the world.  The sea and sea travel had an unquestionable influence on the final ageing of the eaux-de-vie.”  This barrel will form part of Larsen’s new ‘Hymne au Voyage’ range, which aptly translates as ‘tribute to travel’.  Although this latest idea has been dubbed experimental, remember that ‘early landed’ cognacs, which mature in UK cellars, have also made a sea voyage to their final ageing destination.

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