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  • Flambe Pancakes With Cognac

    We’re in the month leading up to Lent, a good time to enjoy the finer things in life - like vintage cognac , armagnac or flambe pancakes before, perhaps, embarking on a period of austerity.

    If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day how about some vintage calvados? Intense and rich, baked apple flavours present something different and delicious for ‘him’ and ‘her’ on 14th February.

    But when Shrove Tuesday comes around on 28th February, flambé pancakes, in the French tradition, are a must. Some Hermitage 2005 Cognac will provide a wonderful richness to the pan and enhance the flavour – what a finish to the month.  Hermitage Vintage Cognacs have great individuality of style and flavour.

  • Responsible Drinking on the Increase

    The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has welcomed the latest survey of UK drinking trends by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which shows an increasing number of people drinking responsibly. Reduction in the frequency of drinking enables customers to be more discerning in their choices and look towards the luxurious end of the drinks market.  Brandyclassics has always positioned itself at the top end of this market as our customers seek exceptional quality and individuality from our cognacs and other brandies.  Our own house, Hermitage, was in fact borne out of the need to supply a range of exquisite cognacs to discerning connoisseurs who demand superior quality and in 2013, our top selling cognac was the Hermitage 2000 Chez Richon.

  • The Charente Scene - Winter 2014

    Never has the weather in an area been more important than it is in the Charente and once again the unexpected has happened with temperatures in the high teens. Indeed growth has already started to show on many of the vines before all of them have been cut back. One surprised cognac merchant reported seeing butterflies in his garden! Of course a cold spell is hoped for as this often kills off the bugs before they can do any damage. The official figure from the BNIC for cognac production last year is 13hl/hectare of pure spirit but most producers appear to be of the opinion that we will be lucky to get 10hl/hectare. Indeed that which we know about so far is quite light.  It appears to lack any real body, is relatively poor quality and probably more suited for the younger cognacs than for ageing. At Chez Richon it seems likely that we may have done slightly better than average; we’re keeping our fingers crossed!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Gifts for special occasions

    We pride ourselves at Brandyclassics in only selling the finest and oldest cognacs and armagnacs available.  These wonderful nectars have been carefully selected from single estate distillers and all are of vintage quality or have rigorous age statements, we know that they will make perfect presents for your special celebrations.   Whatever the occasion, be it a wedding anniversary, birthday or special celebration day, we have the perfect gift for you on our newly launched Occasion Gifts page.

    Age statements and vintages are recognised by our discerning customers as providing extraordinary quality and individuality, unlike the generic, highly blended VS, VSOP and XO cognacs.  So, if you have a 30th Birthday or Anniversary coming up, celebrate in style with our beautifully smooth Hermitage 30 yo Reaux Vintage Cognac, aged in oak barrels for 30 years before bottling, or our fresh and elegant Chateau de Beaulon Vintage1983 distilled 30 years ago.  Brandyclassics has the ideal gift for every celebration.

     

  • Cognac Supplier to Hotels - The Hermitage Experience

    Brandyclassics supply to some of the finest hotels in the world.  Alexander House, Burj al Arab, Claridges, Lanesborough, Raffles and The Wellesley to name but a few buy our Hermitage Cognacs to provide their customers with a level of individuality that is unique to their exclusive client base.  As suppliers to hotels and restaurants we recognise the need to find cognacs, armagnacs and other brandies which have vintage and age significance so that customers can associate anniversaries, birthdays and events in their lives with pure, single estate cognacs and appropriate age statements.

    When our customers buy Hermitage Cognacs they know that there are no better. They know that what they buy provides assurance to every one of their customers, not just in quality but in the knowledge that every customer will benefit from The Hermitage Experience, an experience unmatched by any other cognac.

    If you are looking for a reliable cognac supplier to provide the very best for your hotel or restaurant, please call us on +44(0)1225 963988.  For many years we've been helping hotel and bar managers find rare, interesting and exceptional cognacs, armagnacs and calvados to delight their clients.

  • 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.