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Celebrate National Cognac Day with Hermitage Cognac

National Cognac Day, celebrated annually on June 4th, offers an excellent opportunity to delve into the rich history and exquisite craftsmanship of this renowned French spirit. Cognac, a type of brandy that hails from the Cognac region of France, boasts a storied past and a meticulous production process that ensures its premium quality.

History of National Cognac Day

Cognac’s origins trace back to the 16th century when Dutch settlers arrived in the Cognac region to purchase wood, wine, and salt. They faced a preservation challenge when exporting wine back home, prompting them to distil the wine with eau de vie. They discovered that double distillation produced a finer, tastier product, leading to the birth of brandy.

While brandy is produced globally, only brandy from the six designated areas in the Cognac region of France can be called cognac. These regions span Charente-Maritime and Charente in Western France. The Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) regulates the stringent laws and measures for a brandy to be labelled as cognac. Only specific grape varieties, primarily Ugni Blanc, can be used. The wine must be distilled in an ‘alambic charentais‘, a copper pot still, and then aged in French oak barrels. Longer ageing periods enhance the complexity and aroma of the cognac.

Hermitage Cognac Selections for National Cognac Day

To celebrate National Cognac Day, we recommend four exceptional Hermitage Cognac selections, each with its unique aroma, flavour profile, and characteristics.

  1. Hermitage 10 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac
    • Aroma: Rich and fruity with notes of dried apricots, vanilla, and a hint of oak.
    • Flavour Profile: Smooth with a well-balanced mix of fruit, vanilla, and a touch of spice. Perfect for a Cognac Old Fashioned.
    • ABV: 43%
  2. Hermitage 20 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac
    • Aroma: Intense and complex, featuring dried fruits, figs, and subtle floral notes.
    • Flavour Profile: Full bodied with layers of dried fruit, honey, and a long, rich finish.
    • ABV: 42%
  3. Hermitage Cognac Cacao 25
    • Aroma: Luxurious notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted nuts.
    • Flavour Profile: Decadent with a harmonious blend of mocha, cocoa, and a touch of spice, creating a unique and indulgent experience.
    • ABV: 44%
  4. Hermitage 1960 Grande Champagne Cognac
    • Aroma: Exquisite with a bouquet of old leather, tobacco, and hints of dried fruits.
    • Flavour Profile: Exceptionally smooth with deep flavours of prune, walnut, and a lingering finish of spice and oak.
    • ABV: 40%

Hermitage Single Cru Cognacs

Hermitage Single Cru Cognacs

A single cru cognac, like those offered by Hermitage Cognac, elevates the art of cognac making. While many high-end cognacs boast of fancy presentations and limited editions, the focus often shifts away from the liquid within. Hermitage, on the other hand, offers cognacs sourced from single estates in single crus.  While most hail from Grande Champagne, exceptions from Petite Champagne and Borderies offer a diverse range of profiles.  Each has either an age statement describing how many years it has spent in the barrel or is a vintage.  These vintage cognacs are found in one or two barrels, distilled in a specific year, untouched and unblended. Each bottle has unique flavours, akin to the revered concept of ‘Single Cask’ in whisky circles.

Hermitage Cognac, epitomising excellence, carefully selects eaux de vie for their quality and flavour.  The distinction lies not only in the exquisite taste but also in the transparency of the production process. Unlike some competitors, Hermitage Cognac vintages provide details about the year of distillation, ensuring a genuine connection with the history of each bottle. For instance, the Hermitage 1944 Grande Champagne Cognac, priced at just £860, offers a taste of a century-old harvest.

In the realm of premium cognac, where rarity often comes at an astronomical cost, Hermitage Cognac’s focus on single cru cognacs shines as beacons of value.  As Jean Monnet aptly noted, making cognac requires waiting, and Hermitage Cognac exemplifies this virtue. For those seeking the finest and most individual premier cru cognacs, Hermitage stands as a distinguished choice, offering a blend of history, craftsmanship, and unparalleled taste.

The Cognac Show 2024

Prepare your senses for a two day cognac extravaganza as the highly acclaimed Cognac Show makes a grand return on 22 – 23 March 2024, at the exquisite Glaziers Hall on the scenic bank of the Thames. This celebration promises to reignite the passion for Cognac, once the UK’s favourite spirit.

The Cognac Show

History and Rediscovery:

Once the darling of the UK, Cognac aims to reclaim its glory at the Cognac Show. Comparable to whisky in its aged sophistication, Cognac unveils a world of variety and complexity, inviting enthusiasts to appreciate its rich heritage and nuanced flavours. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a novice, the Cognac Show promises to be your gateway to the charm and wonder of cognac.

Indulge in the grandes dames of cognac with special tokens granting access to super premium old and rare bottles. Over 150 Cognacs will be available for tasting across the different stands.

Visit us:

Visit the Hermitage Cognac team at stand one, where our finest releases, including age statements, vintages, and the new Trilogy range, will be available for tasting. Our Dream Pours for this year are the Hermitage 50 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac and the opulent Hermitage Marie Louise Crystal Decanter, showcasing the pinnacle of cognac craftsmanship.

Secure Your Tickets:

Tickets are on sale now on the Cognac Show website. For more information about our products or to plan your visit, email us at cognac@brandyclassics.com. Leave behind your slippers and smoking jacket – step into the new world of Cognac at the Cognac Show 2024!

Mother’s Day 2024

Wondering what to buy for Mother’s Day 2024? We have a unique selection of brandies and dessert wines to suit every Mum ….

Gift Mum the Hermitage 2005 Grande Champagne Cognac which, as with all our cognacs, was created with exceptional skill – no caramel or sugar syrup were added – a considerable achievement with a young cognac. 

If she loves an after dinner drink, then the Grappa Torcolato is a beautiful addition to any drinks cabinet. Perfect as an after dinner ‘digestive’ or add to expresso coffee to create a ‘caffè corretto’.

Dupont Dream Calvados Cream has a deliciously clean apple flavour. If she likes cream liqueurs she will love this!

If Mum loves her dessert wines then the Chateau de Beaulon 2000 Pineau des Charentes is a delicious and rich choice that is perfect on its own or with the sweet course.

The Dupont Pomme Captive Pays d’Auge Calvados is a highly specialised product that contains an attractive apple macerating in calvados and makes for an appealing gift this Mother’s Day.

Hermitage 2005 Grande Champagne Cognac – A Vintage Marvel

Hermitage 2005 Grande Champagne Cognac stands as a pinnacle of sophistication, with a commitment to crafting only the finest spirits. The heart of our collection lies in the Grande Champagne region, where the slow ageing process imparts a unique richness. 

Guided by our brand policy, all Hermitage Cognacs age for a minimum of ten years, a testament to our unwavering dedication to excellence.

The meticulous aging process defines the Hermitage 2005 as it matures in 350 litre casks, spending six to eight months in new casks, and gracefully ageing further in seasoned Limousin casks. The medium damp cellars, with their natural floors, contribute to the refined character of this limited edition cognac, available in only a few bottles.

2005 Grande Champagne Cognac

The Aroma and Flavour:

The Hermitage 2005 is a sensory delight. Aromas include a blend of chocolatey mocha, fragrant walnuts, and a subtle vanilla undertone. The flavours unfold with toffee, hazelnut, roasted walnut, and spices such as mace, revealing a vibrant zest of tangerine peel on the tail.

From Vineyard to Glass:

Creating the Hermitage 2005 involved a meticulous blend of Ugni Blanc and Folle Blanche grapes, capturing the signature essence of the Grande Champagne terroir. The flatter soil, coupled with Coniaçian chalk, imparts a unique character. Consistent, moderate weather ensures optimal grape ripening.

Distinctive Distillation:

The Hermitage 2005 would have been distilled on a small still with a straight-sided head minimising rectification and preserving maximum wine flavours. A fairly heavy lees enriches the cognac, creating a symphony of delicate notes.

Sip and Savour:

In every sip of Hermitage 2005 Grande Champagne Cognac, one embarks on an exclusive journey through time, terroir, and expert craftsmanship. This limited edition masterpiece can be enjoyed on its own, allowing the complexity of flavours to unfold, or paired with a Côte de boeuf, glazed carrots, and Café de Paris Butter sauce.

Indulge in the extraordinary; savour the sophistication that defines Hermitage Cognacs.

The Times Features Hermitage Cafe 20 Cognac

coffee cognac

Last weekend in The Times luxury supplement, Luxx, Jane MacQuitty wrote about the best bottles to give as ‘gluggable gifts’. Obviously we were delighted to see our extremely popular Hermitage Cafe 20 Cognac from Grande Champagne featured. Jane described it as ‘Magnificent mocha, vanilla, wood-smoke and marzipan-licked top-drawer cognac from a great producer’.

A Cognac Masters 2020 Gold Medal Winner, the Cafe 20 has also been described by TV presenter and award-winning wine expert Olly Smith as “this is as good as it gets and it’s mind-blowing with after-dinner coffee”.

Perfect to enjoy with friends at Christmas; you can read more about it here

Christmas Luxury Gift Guide

December is well underway so its time to turn our attention to present shopping. But, what do you buy for the person who has everything? Well, we’ve put together a list of our favourite, luxury drinks that will go down a storm this Christmas. Not only do they taste fantastic, some of the packaging is exquisite and will grace any sideboard with aplomb.

The three, classic French brandies of cognac, armagnac and calvados really come into their own at this time of year as their typical flavours of roasted nuts, spices and dried fruits complement the Christmas fayre brilliantly.

We have selected 5 of our favourites to feature here but go and explore our website, there are so many Christmas Luxury Gifts from which to choose.

Christmas Luxury Gift Guide

Hermitage 50 Year Old Grande Champagne Cognac

Winner of The IWSC Cognac Trophy 2021, this masterpiece is still in cask. The Judges described it as “Like opening an old leather-bound book or antique oak armoire. Figgy pudding and rich dark chocolate; wonderful rich spices and the bitterness of orange zest come through on the palate. Spicy but gentle and supremely dry.” RRP £531.60

Christmas Luxury Gift Guide

Toutain Reserve Odile 60 Year Old Calvados

This exclusive bottling pays tribute to Odile Toutain who, 60 years ago, took over Domaine de la Couterie. Distilled in 1959, it was carefully aged for 60 years in the family cellars before a limited edition of only 234 bottles was released. Presented in a beautiful carafe, sealed in a wooden housing, this is a truly rare gift. RRP £1164.60

Christmas Luxury Gift Guide

Darbeau 1943 Bas Armagnac

Steeped in history, this 1943 Bas Armagnac was distilled during the height of World War II when many wonderful brandies were requisitioned by the occupying forces. Few survived but this wonderful example of a top cru armagnac s one of the few that remain. Distilled 70 years ago, it epitomises history in a bottle. RRP £1908.00

Christmas Luxury Gift Guide

Hermitage 1923 Grande Champagne Cognac

Imagine life a century ago, that is when this stunning cognac was made. Tasting cognac from that era is a extra special treat, especially when, according to Olly Smith, Wine & Spirits Expert, it “has a gorgeous flavour, somewhere between a sultana and a sun-dried apricot with the spirit framing the layers with impeccable integration.” RRP £2086.40

Christmas Luxury Gift Guide

Hermitage Cognac Marie Louise Crystal Decanter

The icing on our Luxury Christmas Gift Guide cake! A masterpiece of smoothness, aged for 70 years in oak barrels, it is described by Victoria Moore of the Saturday Telegraph as “Likely to be one of the finest cognacs you have tasted.” This litre of amazing cognac is all wrapped up in a completely hand-blown and hand-cut, full-lead luxury English crystal decanter. What more could you ask for? RRP £2220.00

Hermitage Pre 1900 Cognacs

Provenance

There are hundreds of small cognac houses, most sell their young brandies to the big houses, but a few keep their special treasures tucked away for those who appreciate the golden nectar. 

Hermitage Cognac Limited has, for decades, sourced cognacs from the very finest producers in the Premier Cru of cognac, known as Grande Champagne.  Perhaps because of our exposure to many small family creators of fine brandies, we occasionally find cognacs hidden away in family cellars, often referred to as ‘Paradis’.   These innermost chambers house small batches of cognac in glass bonbonnes and sometimes contain cognacs that were made more than one hundred years ago.  These cognacs may have lived in their barrels for decades, and some, because of how they were made and aged, will be the perfect nectars that we are proud to call Hermitage.

Old cognacs are rare, and cognacs made before 1900 are exceptionally rare.  Cognacs are produced in France.  Nowhere else in the world is allowed to call their brandy ‘cognac’. The available quantity of cognac made before 1900 is miniscule and consequently, the value of these old vintages is increasing. We do not know how many more old and desirable cognacs we will find. But what we do know is that when they are all sold, the value of those still in circulation will rise alarmingly.

Hermitage pre 1900 Cognacs

Vintage Cognac Values

During the 1990s individual bottles of vintage cognac, from as early as 1790, were available in the marketplace for between £1500 to £2000.  Cognacs from 1800 – 1860 could be purchased for between £1200 – £1700.

By 2015, very early bottles from before 1800, were being sold for £27,000 and cognacs from 1800 to 1860 for £12,000 to £19,000.

Within the last 5 years, two imperial three quarter gallon bottles of Massougnes, which in 2000 sold for £7000, sold in London for £246,000 each.

The acceleration of cognac values since 2015 leaves us in little doubt that by the end of the decade, prices will have doubled again.

Our Offering

In addition to purchasing our Hermitage Pre 1900 Cognacs in bottles, we also offer the range in glass bonbonnes.  Each vintage can be purchased in either 10 litre or 30 litre bonbonnes.

Our Latest 2004 Vintage Cognac

2004 Vintage Cognac

We always like to introduce new vintages into our Hermitage Cognac range. The MD spends many hours visiting some of the many distillers, usually situated in Grande Champagne, looking for our next cognac masterpiece. Our latest find is a 2004 Vintage Cognac and for a cognac that is not yet 20 years old, it is sensational.

This Hermitage 2004 Grande Champagne Cognac comes from the gentle slopes around the town of Segonzac, in the centre of the premier cru.  A truly amazing cognac it has a complexity of flavours that would enhance many, much older spirits.

Aromas of cocoa, walnuts, dark toffee and truffle are followed by the rich and complex charecteristic flavours of the Hermitage style. These include dark toffee and cocoa which are followed by delicious bouts of clove, almond, damson and candied fruits.

Retailing at just under £130, this would make a magnificent present for the cognac lover in your life!

Hermitage Cognacs Offer Excellent Value

cognacs offer excellent value

In the latest edition of ‘The Spirits Business’ we read that “Despite global inflation causing the price of spirits to rise, research shows that consumers are still more willing to purchase higher end products ….. Specifically Cognac, which remains the most expensive category of all spirits, is up by 132%”. Hermitage Cognacs has always been positioned at the very top end of the category but how does it compare to the competition? Many high end cognacs are sold in fancy presentations, often made from embellished crystal, and sold as rare, limited editions. But what about the liquid inside? The cognac may come from the top cru, Grande Champagne, but no information is given about the age of the cognac in the barrel or whether it comes from a particular vintage. One must conclude it is a blend of cognacs that are slightly different from previously released ones. Rarity always comes at a cost but prices in excess of £40,000 seem astounding.

Let’s make some comparisons with the Hermitage range. Our vintages come from 1 or 2 barrels of cognac that were distilled in a particular year and have never been blended. They can often be likened to the well known phrase used in whisky circles, ‘Single Cask’. Also, by definition, they are limited editions as once the vintage has been drunk it can never be replaced. For example, we sell a top cru vintage from 1923, where the grapes were harvested 100 years ago. It was left untouched and aged in a cellar for about 70 years before bottling at 43% abv. Although presented in a traditional cognac bottle, it is a huge contrast in quality and price. This Hermitage 1923 Grande Champagne Cognac retails for just under £2100.

If it is the quality of the presentation that attracts you, do take a look at our Hermitage Marie Louise Cognac. The cognac has been aged in oak barrels for 70 years and is sold by the litre, rather than 70cl. It is presented in crystal decanters produced by Cumbria Crystal, the last producer of completely hand-blown and hand-cut, full-lead luxury English crystal in the UK and retails at £2220. We have to conclude that Hermitage Cognacs offer excellent value in the premium cognac market.