Perhaps we best know of Hardy Cognacs for their very old pre-phylloxera cognacs such as the famous 1805, but the firm has prospered in America with more generic cognacs and some special presentations bottles.
The firm was started in 1863 by Anthony Hardy, a wines and spirits trader in London. He moved to the Charente region and changed his name to Antoine after high taxes in the UK forced him to close his UK business. He had bought land, vines and learnt to distil the wines, but in 1878 the phylloxera had destroyed much of his estate. Fortunately he had made many good cognacs and his cellars had bountiful stocks, which he was able to sell to the cognac negoçiants.
Much of his market was in Russia and an alliance celebrating the trade between the countries was established. Antoine’s son Valère joined the business around 1900 and between them tried to develop the Eastern European markets, a mission that was not entirely successful. Valère died early, but one of his five children, Armand, took over as president of the firm where he remained until he died in 1957. During the difficult war years Armand played a part in preserving the cognac stocks from the Germans, by buying and storing cognacs from the growers, and ageing them in his cellars.
Armand had six children - the four boys, Philippe, Jacques, Francis and Jean-Antoine, all who joined the firm and helped to increase the sales to North and South America. When Armand died Jacques Hardy took over the role of president. He was a collector of old cognacs and built up a cellar of fine vintages which he stored in the cellars of Merinville, then owned by his old friend Jacques Boursard. Unfortunately the heavy stocks and economic difficulties in the 1990’s meant the firm was sold, but the name still continues. Jacques died in 2006 and his two daughters work for the new owners and maintain sales in America and Northern Europe.
Brandyclassics have 3 exceptionally old cognacs from 1805 for sale, including an A. Hardy 1805 Grande Champagne. The scarcity of these rare vintage cognacs makes them extremely sought after by cognac connoisseurs and hence are not just "reassuringly expensive", but very expensive...