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  • The Good & Great Cognac Houses - Bisquit

    The house was established in Jarnac by one Alexandre Bisquit who at only 20 started trading in salt, one of the regions oldest staple products. He became mayor of Jarnac for a while in 1848 after the revolution and was a staunch Republican. His daughter married Adrien Debouché who added his name to the firm and their daughter married Maurice Laporte, a notable local figure who became a senator. Laporte was also active in the business increasing sales especially to China and the Far East.

    The firm grew steadily until in 1965 the family sold the business to Paul Ricard, owner of Ricard Pastis. They were effectively negoçiant's but this changed when they bought the Chateau de Lignères in the Fins Bois near Rouillac The estate with 200 hectares is quite large and M Ricard planted it all with vines. The company has grown under the influence of Ricard but the quantity of grapes it produces is only sufficient for about 18% of its total requirement. Later Paul Ricard moved the firms distillery and cellars from the historic site on the river next to Hine to Lignères where he built the biggest distillery in the region, a massive modern installation holding 64 stills. The new warehouse is equipped with vast stacks, each lodged in its own cell so that it can be easily moved by fork trucks. The premises are carefully insulated and the humidity controlled to ensure that the brandy matures at the same rate as it did when it was next to the Charente.

    The earlier Biscquit brandies were designed to be more fruity than others, perhaps by allowing more of the secondes in at the final stage than other firms. More lately, the need for more brandy and faster sales has resulted in much greater blending with the inevitable results.

  • Armagnac's Renaissance 700th Anniversary

    The Oldest spirit in France celebrates 700 years in 2010

    Perhaps to celebrate the long history of Armagnac produced in the foot hills of the Pyrenees, but mainly to draw attention to the oldest spirit in France, a delegation from Armagnac made the journey to the Vatican City. They collected a facsimile of the Vital Texts written in 1310. They describe the forty virtues of an alcohol called Aygue Ardente, the ancestor of armagnac and which has been preserved in the Vatican Library since 1531. It will be displayed around the world during 2010.

    These days the 40 virtues of armagnac could easily be translated into 400 virtues, since the many small armagnac houses' individual skills are just as good as those from their bigger cousins in Cognac. They create a wealth of vintage and blended armagnac's that can be as young as 5 years, and in a few rare cases, as old as 1888.

    Unlike cognac, there are no big blended armagnac houses and each producer is responsible for marketing their own creations, many of whic hare of exceptional quality. Gold medals were awarded last month at the IWSC to Castarede for their 1973 armagnac and medals were also awarded to Chateau de Tariquet for their XO and Ch du Lacquy for its 1991 vintage. Chateau de Bordeneuve has launched a 70 year old special edition to celebrate 700 years of armagnac.

    Brandyclassics stock a wide variety of Single Estate Armagnacs, which we have carefully selected on account of  their unique character, rarity and value. Ranging from our Domaine de Cassagnoles 5 y.o. Tenareze at under £30 to our Casterede Vintage 1900 at over £2500, we have a Armagnac for every taste, palette and pocket.


     

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