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  • USA Shipping of Cognac, Armagnac and Calvados

    Due to the alcohol laws in America, the States that we can ship our brandies to have recently changed.USA Shipping

     

    USA Shipping is ALLOWABLE to the following States.  Delivery usually takes 5 working days.

    California              Connecticut            Delaware                                Florida    

    Idaho                      Louisiana                Maine                                       Maryland

    Massachusetts    Nebraska                New Jersey                              New Mexico

    New York              Oregon                    Rhode Island                           Texas (7 – 10 days)

    Vermont                Virginia                   Washington District of Columbia          Wyoming 

     

  • Innovative Cork Stoppers New to the Marketplace

    Cork stoppersSustainable and taint-free corks are the latest innovations to hit the ‘spirit stoppers’ market.  Distillery by-products such as grape marc from cognac, barley malt from whisky and juniper from gin make up 50% of the raw materials used to produce ‘Abor’ corks.  Manufacturers, the Tapi Group, are “seeking to create brand awareness in an eco-sustainable way” with their ‘green’ and sustainable new closures.  Cork Supply, by contrast, have just released a range of ‘taint-free’ corks with a money-back guarantee.  Their vision was to “produce quality closures that add value to the industry”; taint-free cork stoppers will surely have a place in the world of cognac.  Unlike wine, cognac should always be stored in an upright position to minimise any effect the cork might have on the spirit liquid and vapours - a problem that can occur, especially in older vintages.

  • The Charente Scene - Bisquit Sold

    BisquitAlexandre Bisquit established his famous cognac trading house in Jarnac in 1819.  When his daughter married Adrien Dubouché in 1848, his son-in-law’s name was added to the firm. It remained in family hands until the mid-60s when it was sold to Paul Ricard.  Latterly it was owned by Distell but earlier this year it was sold again, to the Campari group, for over 50 million Euros.  In many ways the purchase of Bisquit Dubouché by M. Ricard was the start of the firm’s real growth.  Not only did he buy the biggest chateau in the region, with more than 200 hectares of vines, he also built a massive distillery at Lignères which had 64 stills.  Bisquit cognacs have quite a nutty and fruity style which is admired by many in the industry (compare with our Hermitage 20 yo GC Cognac).  As with most of the medium to large-sized houses, their need for more cognacs grew over the years so they also buy in wine and ‘eau de vie’. What a shame that another cognac house has gone to one of the multi-faceted “sell it all” groups.

  • The Bottle Story - Renault Avec Cognac

    Coffee cognacWe were disappointed to read earlier this year that Cognac Renault has created ‘a new innovation - an expression specifically designed to pair with coffee’ - called Renault Avec.  Quite simply this is not the case. Hermitage Cognac launched its Café 20 Cognac in the Autumn of 2016 and it is already well established in the marketplace as a coffee accompaniment.   Provenance is not the only difference.  Renault have blended cognacs from 3 different crus aged between 3 and 8 years.  They are ‘not attempting to create a big, powerful cognac’ so have treated the barrels differently to affect the flavour.

    Hermitage Café 20 on the other hand, has flavours of mocha, coffee and roasted walnuts, comes from the top cru and has been aged for 20 years.

  • Cognac and Chocolate - Food Pairing

    chocolate and chocolateFood pairing is all the rage right now, including with cognac.  Hennessy have created a whole dining experience to enjoy their latest cognac blend with a 4-course meal.  We never recommend doing this with vintage cognac but as a digestif, it does bring a special enjoyment.  Some cognacs have complimentary flavours which go well with after dinner courses, such as coffee (see The Bottle Story).  Chocolate is another post-dinner treat and also has flavours found in cognac, as reported recently by ‘The Telegraph’.  Our Hermitage Provenance 30 would be an excellent accompaniment with its rich flavours of chocolate and natural toffee.  But choose your chocolate carefully too.  Recently produced in Ecuador, To’ak is a top quality, vintage, dark chocolate which has been aged for 2 years in cognac barrels.  It may be utterly delicious but we’ve never known chocolate to improve with age!

  • Super XXO Cognac Classification Approved

    XXO CognacThe big cognac houses are well aware of the similarity of their products so the need to spice up their ranges is always evident. We have seen recently the efforts by some to add a cask finish to their cognacs; sherry casks have already been used by one house.  But the latest craze is to try and produce a super XO cognac called XXO.  Hennessy, who have the biggest sales of XO cognacs, have already launched an XXO in the Far East.  They tried to register it as a Hennessy name thereby denying other houses the opportunity to use the term.  Unsurprisingly, other cognac growers were far from happy but after debate, an agreement has been reached allowing anybody to use the term for their super XOs.  Apparently, these new XXO cognacs will have to be aged for a minimum of 14 years. This seems a strange period to select since many of the smaller houses make XO cognacs up to 20 years old. It took a quarter of a century to change the XO definition from 6 to 10 years, perhaps it will take another 25 years to officially recognise this new, super appellation?  It’s an interesting point since many years ago, Brandyclassics negotiated with Otard to launch a super XXO cognac to the Chinese market.  It failed not because we couldn’t use the title, but because the Chinese customer thought it too flashy!

  • Bartenders Champion Old Vintage Cognac

    Old Vintage CognacVintage cocktails, made from rare and very old vintage cognac, are trending …… they are also extremely expensive!  Interest began with the World’s most expensive cocktail which was created in 2012 and sold for £5500.  It contained a 1788 Cognac, 1770 Liqueur and 1860 Orange Curacao.  Similar concoctions can now be bought at the very best bars in the Old Vintage Cognacworld for similarly handsome prices.

    Cheltenham Festival also followed suit this year producing a cocktail containing 1937 Delord Armagnac, in memory of Golden Miller, Gold Cup winner 1932 – 1936.

    Very old (pre-Phylloxera) cognacs and Armagnacs are, by definition, incredibly rare but those that design these hedonistic cocktail treats feel that they are essential components, creating complexity and length not found in today’s spirits.  These qualities are the very reason most would hopefully choose to drink them unadulterated - but single shots of very old vintage brandies do not come cheap either.  Last month the world’s most expensive cognac measure (40 ml) was sold for £10,000.  Perhaps not as unreasonable as it sounds when some of our very old cognac bottles retail at over £20,000 each.  Value is generated not only by the quality of the cognac itself, but in the story of its provenance too.

  • Brandyclassics News - Michelle Brachet Visits

    It’s been a very busy start to the year with interesting cognac events in the diary and the arrival of yet more new stock. Following the BNIC’s launch of a new brand identity for the cognac appellation, they organised a trade-only Tasting event in London. Very well attended, our cognacs with age statements, under the Hermitage label, went down a storm.  The event was hosted by Michelle Brachet, cognac expert and educator, who we thoroughly enjoyed hosting when she subsequently visited us in Wiltshire.

    Another new Hermitage vintage cognac has just joined our handpicked range.  It was distilled in 1948 and comes from the Grande Champagne cru.  A remarkable cognac which will be very popular, especially as it is a celebratory vintage this year.

    Our range of vintage brandies now includes a vintage from every single year from 1930 to 2000 so if you’re looking for something special do get in touch.

  • The XO Definition Has Finally Been Changed

    XO Cognac DefinitionWith effect from 1 April 2018 any cognac classified as an XO must have been aged for a minimum of 10 years.  This change of XO Definition means that in the case of a blend, which many are, the youngest cognac used must now be at least a decade old.  This is a 4 year increase as previously only 6 years of ageing was sufficient for a cognac to qualify.  Regulatory body, the BNIC, comments that the change is designed to extend the quality positioning of XO cognacs and align them with market reality (some XOs are aged for 10 years or more anyway).  First announced in 2011, the industry has been given plenty of warning to mature their stocks however, an interim measure has also been put in place.   XO cognacs aged for 6, 7, 8, and 9 years and packaged by 31 March 2018 may be labelled and sold as XO until 31 March 2019.  Thereafter, all XOs must be at least 10 years old and no doubt the price will increase accordingly.

  • Hermitage 1968 Petite Champagne Cognac

    1968 CognacJust arrived - Hermitage 1968 Petite Champagne Cognac. The mid 1960s produced some excellent cognacs from Petite Champagne and this one is no exception.  It needs to stand for a few minutes for the aromas of hazelnuts, brioche, bananas and gooseberries to develop.  This is a lighter style cognac, exhibiting many flavours initially of roasted hazelnuts with brioche and a hint of lime.  These develop slowly with banana, blueberries and a hint of strawberries with the zest of lime influencing the tail.  Distilled 50 years ago, it is a very special treat for someone celebrating their half century in 2018.  Cognacs that have been aged for decades have some very special qualities to enjoy.

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