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Hermitage Cognac Marie Louise

  • What is the Best Cognac?

    Best CognacAs most of you know, I spend a great deal of my time tasting cognacs because as a company we believe that every cognac must be perfect for its intended type of customer. But being perfect doesn’t necessarily mean it is the cognac which excels in taste above all others.  The simple truth is that a cognac which I may consider is the best cognac may not be the same one that you like because our palates have become accustomed, over time, to different taste characteristics which our brains have accepted as good.
    Perhaps the term ‘taste characteristics’ is one to associate with fine cognacs; they will differ from one cognac to another and in most producers’ opinions, their own will be better than any other available.  This is not surprising as producers spend their lifetime tasting their own cognacs, few ever venture onto another producer’s patch and few have any idea of how to compare their own production with that of their neighbours.
    So, how do you know what is good and what perhaps is not so good? Well, when you have tasted thousands of different brandies you get to know when you have a really good cognac in your glass. As a professional cognac taster, I am looking for a number of different qualities. I look at the colour and how the cognac hangs on the glass, but the first real test of quality comes with the complexity of its aroma and if those aromas can be translated into taste. Finally, and perhaps the most important criteria of all is its balance; the need to maximise flavour whilst minimising the fieriness of the cognac.
    The actual taste element of a cognac is personal as we all have different ideas about what we like. You might think I am lucky getting to taste so many expensive cognacs but don’t be fooled into thinking that if a cognac is expensive it is good. Even these can have sugar added as it softens a cognac but, it also gives a sort of false sweetness.  On the other hand, a cognac which has been in a barrel for 50 or 60 years develops its richness naturally, the effect is known as ‘Rancio’.  This is a very desirable but rare effect as most cognacs available today have been aged for less than 10 years old.
    So, I hear you say, what is the best cognac? Well, I’ll tell you my favourite. It is a cognac which I found 4 or 5 years ago, not a million miles from our office near Segonzac, in the heart of Grande Champagne. It has aged in oak for more than 60 years and has come from a family’s private cellar.  We have the privilege of selling it under the Hermitage label; it is expensive but not as expensive as other so-called luxury cognacs.  It is perfectly balanced, complex in aroma and flavour, has a rich ‘rancio’ and won the Cognac Masters Best Cognac 2018. We call it ‘Marie Louise’.

  • Cognac Masters Medals 2018 - Master and Gold

    Cognac Masters MedalsWe are delighted to announce that three of our Hermitage Cognacs range were awarded medals at the recent Spirits Business Cognac Masters Competition.  Almost 40% of our Hermitage range now have a Masters or Gold Medal.

    Our highly-prized Hermitage Cognac Marie Louise was presented with a Masters Medal in the Vintage - Single Estate category.  The judges commented that “when a cognac is done well, it is exceptionally good at ageing”.

    Gold Medals were also awarded to two other vintages.  Our Hermitage 45 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac clearly wowed the judges as well as ourselves, as did the Hermitage 1958 Borderies Cognac.  The judges particularly enjoyed the “toffee, tobacco and toast” aromas which led to “bread, peach and butterscotch” on the palate.

  • Hermitage Cognac Marie Louise

    Crystal Decanter CognacOur latest release, Hermitage Cognac Marie Louise, is a 60-Year-Old Grande Champagne from one of the region’s top artisan producers. This astonishing creation has been described as “lining one’s mouth with velvet” and is a precious and rare investment.  At 43% abv it has all the complex aromas and flavours one would expect from such a well-aged cognac.

    It is offered in a limited first run of 50 one litre decanters produced by Cumbria Crystal.  They are the last producer of completely hand-blown and hand-cut, full-lead luxury English crystal in the UK. The intensity and depth of flavours created by its careful distillation and ageing have created a masterpiece of smoothness and an intensely rich rancio found only in the rarest of cognacs. This truly great cognac is named after Marie Louise, the second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. She bore his son who was given the title 'Roi de Rome' and who later became Napoleon II.

    Victoria MooreOur finest release to date, Hermitage Cognac Marie Louise made it into the Saturday Telegraph two months in a row.  Initially, on 4 November, Victoria Moore wrote a fascinating piece about our MD, David Baker, Hermitage Cognacs and of course Cognac Marie Louise.  On 2 December she included details of the wonderful 60 plus year old cognac in the Luxury supplement.

    Hermitage Cognac Marie Louise is available from Hedonism Wines, Corney and Barrow, Chelsea Vintners and our Brandyclassics website and is proving to be a real hit this Christmas.