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The Bottle Story

  • Welcome To 2020, Time To Try New Vintages

    2020After the festivities of Christmas and New Year’s Eve it is time to look to the year ahead, 2020.

    We are always on the lookout for interesting cognac vintages from the top crus and the latest additions are no exception.  We have many celebration, cognac vintages ending in a zero for those turning 30, 40, 50 years old etc. and we are very excited to announce we now have one for centenarians.  Hermitage 1920 Grande Champagne Cognac was distilled a hundred years ago before being aged for over 70 years in oak casks.  The result is spectacular.

    We also have a new Hermitage 50 Year Old.  Originating in Petite Champagne it is presented at 41% abv to ensure optimum balance.  Big birthdays this year just got a whole lot easier!

  • Tiffon 1995 Grande Champagne Cognac

    Tiffon 1995A new release from Tiffon is the Tiffon 1995 Grande Champagne vintage.  Tiffon, which dates back to 1875, is still a family run business based in Jarnac with the family home, Chateau de Triac, just 5 kms away.  The Chateau, which was demolished in the Hundred Years War, is in Fins Bois, home to some of their 40 hectares of vines.  They have other vineyards in Grande Champagne.  This 1995 vintage comes from Grande Champagne and as with most 20 year old cognacs from the top cru, should be elegant with good length.  Before you rush out and buy it, however, take a look at another single estate, 1995, Grande Champagne cognac.  The Hermitage 1995 is approximately one third cheaper to buy and is already a Gold medal winner; clearly we are not the only ones who think it is sublime!

  • Exsto Cognac - Elixir & Or Imperial

    ExstoExsto Cognac has been created by two French women, sommelier Julie Dupouy and entrepreneur Sabrine Duong.  Their idea was to make a cognac from a “female point of view”, not “an old man’s type of drink” nor made in a traditional way through the sole vision of a family-run cognac maker.  They picked 8 eaux-de-vie from 15 small cognac producers and were assisted by Vallantin-Dulac’s seventh generation master blender.  Their aim was to produce a more elegant spirit with a more fruit-forward style.  At the end of the process, they had created two blends: Elixir and Or Imperial. The bottles feature the hand-drawn multi-ringed topography of Cognac’s grape-growing areas - a visual that Dupouy likens to a Mastryoshka doll – while the caps, which include air-tight Vinalok seals, are designed by French glass artists Eve and Laurent George.  It will be interesting to see if a new approach to cognac production, unencumbered by family traditions, can produce a different style of cognac.  Whether the female influence will result in increased popularity with the ladies remains to be seen.

  • Calvados & Whisky - An Unusual Blend

    Calvados & WhiskyScottish whisky blender, Compass Box, has released a new spirit drink comprising calvados & whisky.  The calvados, from the Christian Drouin distillery, has been blended with whiskies aged in French oak casks and Sherry butts. Compass Box’s founder said “We have been blending calvados and Scotch whisky at home for years, enchanted by their complementary qualities.  Although one of the world’s greatest spirits, calvados is also one of the most underappreciated”.  The result is said to possess ‘layers of apple character married beautifully with malty, vanilla and spice-like notes’.  Compass Box is not the only firm to recognise the success of this flavour combination, though.  Sweden’s Mackmyra distillery has just released a single malt whisky, finished in ex-calvados casks.  Perhaps such ideas will help calvados get the appreciation it so deserves?

  • 40 Years In The Making - Grande Champagne Cognac

    40 yearsWe have spent decades looking for a 40 year old cognac that is worthy of the Hermitage label and so we are very excited to announce that it is here at last, aged for 40 years.

    Aged with great care and expertise, this wonderful Grande Champagne cognac has been in an oak barrel for 40 years slowly maturing to its optimum condition. Flavours of plum and vanilla expand into lychee, pear, hay, plum and dried mandarin demonstrating complexity and individuality.

    A great cognac for any occasion but especially for those celebrating a 40th anniversary or 40th birthday.  Take advantage of its special price throughout July 2019.

  • The Bottle Story - Martell Blue Swift

    MartellDescribed as a ‘cognac-based spirit drink’ Martell Blue Swift is made of VSOP Cognac that has been matured in French oak casks and finished in Kentucky Bourbon casks. Far from ‘reinventing the cognac category’, it does not meet the regulations to be labelled ‘Cognac’.  Cognac must be aged in French oak casks and any finishing casks cannot have held anything other than wine or wine-based spirits.  Many cognac products with ‘a finish’ have been released over recent months so it is good to see the regulations being categorically defined.

  • Spanish Brandy Gaining Popularity

    Spanish brandy For many, Spanish brandy is something drunk on holiday, in its country of origin, but its quality can be just as good as any brandy in the world.  Made from a different grape variety (Jerez) and using the solera top up system, it is often aged in old sherry casks.  Spanish brandies can often provide better value for money than French brandies such as cognac and armagnac but they have a reputation for exclusivity which Spanish brandy has yet to earn.  Addressing this issue, Spain is beginning to focus on creating premium and ultra-premium brandies in the hope that they will be able to compete with the more famous varieties.   With consumer trends moving towards products that are legitimate, relevant, have a history and added value, Spanish Brandy could be the next big thing.

  • New Hermitage Cognac Vintages

    Hermitage Cognac VintagesWe are always looking for more fantastic, single estate cognacs with age-statements to add to our Hermitage Cognac Vintages range and these latest three are really amazing:

    Hermitage 1923 was produced in a year when Warner Brothers was established, Insulin was first used to treat Diabetes and the refrigerator became available to buy in Sweden.  This wonderful cognac is from Grande Champagne and has a fine and intense rancio, the result of more than 60 years in an oak barrel.

    Hermitage 1945 was harvested the year that marked the end of the second World War.  It is beautifully balanced with flavours of lychee, passion fruit, rosemary, cocoa and a long grapefruit tail.

    And finally we also have a new vintage from Petite Champagne; Hermitage 1969 is an unusually fine, balanced and well-aged cognac from the heart of this amazing, but lesser known cru.

  • 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:

  • Hermitage 2008 Grande Champagne Cognac - Too Good To Miss ....

    2008A truly amazing cognac; Hermitage 2008 Grande Champagne Cognac is an extraordinary and totally unique one in a million find. It’s rich, spicy and full of intrigue.  There are flavours of dates, cinnamon, toffee and pistachio as well as exotic tones of rambutan, mango and passion fruit with a tail of sweet oranges.  A masterpiece of the distiller's skills and the cellar master's experience, it was aged in a small barrique which had previously aged some very old and rare cognac.  Smooth and full of rich flavours, that are undeniably worthy of a much older cognac, yet this is only 10 years old.  There are less than 200 bottles available.  Great balance, pure magic.

    "For anyone looking for a very fine and special gift  .... the smallest glass is a sublime treat."  Victoria Moore, The Daily Telegraph

     

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