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vintage cognac

  • Cognac Investment - The Time Is Now

    Cognac InvestmentCraft Vintage Cognacs are rare and finding them is a specialist business as they are unique, and the level of luxury sought is only found in a few of the very finest and oldest cognac firms.  Vintage Premier Cru cognacs are in extremely limited supply. Very good, award-winning cognacs are even more rare which is why Hermitage Premier Cru Vintages are not generally available in the wider volume markets. The secret is to find the cellars that still house some of the oldest and rarest nectars still in existence.  Many of them belong to families who have, for generations, been producing cognacs.  These cognacs have been allowed to gradually mature through the ages, masterpieces forgotten in time.  Each special vintage is highly valuable and sealed in glass to preserve its greatness and value for future generations - a superb cognac investment.

    Today, increasing demand in the rapidly growing cognac market means that single estate vintages from the top crus are largely swallowed up into generic blends of indeterminate age and quality, their youthfulness obscured by syrups and caramel additives. Less is kept back by individual producers for the family cellars and much of that which is retained, is sold at a relatively early age.

    Cognac investmentRecent sales of some rare vintages have only served to highlight the value of old vintage cognacs. Prices of more than £200k a bottle were achieved on two occasions and we have seen other mouth-watering prices being paid. But not only have the prices of early pre-Phylloxera cognacs increased, so have the prices of more recent vintages and well-aged cognacs of 60 – 80 years as their availability decreases.  It is clear to the experienced cognac specialist that availability of the older ages is on the decline with some of the ‘grand marques’ supplied by the big houses already using lower aged cognacs from lesser crus in their blends.  Over the last 5 - 10 years, we have also seen the prices of some well-known commercial cognacs double. Bottles of Remy Louis XIII, which doesn’t even have an age statement, sold for about £1200 six or seven years ago but can now fetch more than £2500.  Richard Hennessy sold with a trade price in 2017 of around £1500 sells today at £3500 again, it has no age statement.  Clearly this is working to the producers’ advantage as the cognac barrel ages are almost certainly in decline.

    Premier cru cognacs from the Champagnes are slow in ageing and naturally aged cognacs from this area will take fifty or more years in cask to develop their natural qualities.  Some form of age statement will provide the clearest indication of quality, and therefore value, since age and value are inextricably linked.  It is little wonder that clients with larger disposable assets are now investing in these extremely rare, older vintage cognacs. The time to do this is now for we do not know how much longer will we continue to find these old ‘rancio’ brandies that have matured to a rich and valuable glory.

  • 40 Years In The Making - Grande Champagne Cognac

    40 yearsWe have spent decades looking for a 40 year old cognac that is worthy of the Hermitage label and so we are very excited to announce that it is here at last, aged for 40 years.

    Aged with great care and expertise, this wonderful Grande Champagne cognac has been in an oak barrel for 40 years slowly maturing to its optimum condition. Flavours of plum and vanilla expand into lychee, pear, hay, plum and dried mandarin demonstrating complexity and individuality.

    A great cognac for any occasion but especially for those celebrating a 40th anniversary or 40th birthday.  Take advantage of its special price throughout July 2019.

  • Championing Small Cognac Producers

    Small Cognac ProducersThe whole cognac industry began with the little guy, tending his vines and creating outstanding eau-de-vie. Today these small cognac producers, often family run houses, struggle to remain in business, such is the competition they face from the ‘Big 4’.  These 4 companies are now so large that each has a brand ambassador, presumably to reflect their core values.  Interestingly, Hennessy, Courvoisier and Remy Martin have all chosen a trendy rap star, clearly trying to appeal to the younger market.  Martell, on the other hand, has gone for a more stylish, feminine image by choosing Diane Kruger.  But what about the smaller cognac producers who use their generations of knowledge to produce the very best, single estate, vintage cognacs – who should they choose?  Surely it must be royalty – rare, elegantly presented and steeped in history.  Or do you have a better idea?

  • For those turning 50, 70 or 80 years of age in 2020

    50, 70 & 80 years old in 2020Across our website we have very special gifts and present ideas for all years of birth but these latest vintage cognacs to arrive in the Hermitage range will be perfect for those celebrating 50, 70 or 80 years in 2020.

    From the top cru, Grande Champagne, comes Hermitage 1940 Cognac.  A beautifully balanced amber nectar, with aromas of chestnuts and truffles, it was produced in the year Winston Churchill became British Prime Minister and ordered the Dunkirk Evacuation.  Also from Grande Champagne comes Hermitage 1950 Cognac - a real joy to taste with flavours including plum crumble with a blood orange peel finish.

    Hermitage 1970 Fins Bois Cognac was harvested in the year Concorde made its first supersonic flight.  It is rare to find cognacs from the Fins Bois in the Hermitage range but this one is really very special.

  • Why Buy Vintage Cognac?

    There are said to be 5000 cognac producers in the Charente, the vast majority make cognac for the big cognac houses and sell it to them within a couple of years.  But some, perhaps around 10%, have learnt to wait until their heavenly nectars have matured for longer.  Locked away in dark cellars they gradually develop the individual and very personal qualities of their makers. When you buy a specifically aged or vintage cognac, you are buying the makers’ skills and experiences that have been honed over generations into a single taste experience.  Every cognac distillation is different. The very finest come from Grande Champagne and those kept as vintage stock will age for much longer than any generic blend and will develop far greater natural flavours during their long sleep in oak casks.

    Blended cognacs are produced to feed the insatiable greed for mass volume sales. The big cognac houses produce very little of their own cognac. More than 99% of the cognacs used in their blends are supplied by the thousands of small growers and distillers in the Charente region.  Not only are these cognacs young and still relatively tasteless, when they are mixed with up to 2000 others to provide one generic blend it is impossible to distinguish individual flavours.  A blend, even in its finest form (XO), needs only to have been aged in a barrel for 6 ½ years.  It is therefore little surprise that every generically blended cognac relies heavily on the addition of sugar syrup and caramel to obscure the fiery and tasteless spirits.

    Jean Monnet, the famous cognac producer and politician, once said “The great thing about making cognac is that it teaches you above everything else to wait, but time and God and the seasons have got to be on your side”.  I would add to that by saying “Very few know where to find the finest and most individual Premier Cru Cognacs and Hermitage is one of them”.

  • 2. Frapin 25 yo and Hermitage 25 yo Cognac

    Frapin has launched a 25 year old vintage cognac, laid down in 1988 and bottled at 41.5% abv.  With style characteristic of a Grande Champagne cognac, just 1000 bottles have been produced retailing at £160 a bottle.  Compare this with our own award winning Grande Champagne cognacs – Hermitage Chez Richon 1988 which retails for just under £100 and Hermitage Segonzac 25 year old priced at just over £100.

  • 4. Hine 2005 and Hermitage 2000 Cognac

    The first release from their recently acquired Domaines vineyards in Bonneuil, Hine 2005 is a single estate, Grande Champagne cognac retailing at £73.95.  Quite a price for such a young cognac – compare it with our award winning Hermitage 2000 (£38.62) and Hermitage 10 year old (£48.67) – both more mature Grande Champagne cognacs, also from single estates.

  • The Cognac Process - Part 12. Establishment of a Cognac Regulatory Body

    Many of the established growers and merchants recognised the need to establish a body to control and manage the quality and sale of cognac. Much of the preliminary work had been done before the Second World War and a great deal of de facto independence from the government had already been gained - the Charente region had been divided into crus in 1909, as a natural consequence of the system of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée,  and  the geographical areas had been delimited by government in 1936. During the War a wine and eaux de vie bureau was created to try and protect the cognac stocks.  After the War this organisation was made official and The Bureau National Interprofessionel du Cognac or BNIC was established.  The existing Station Viticole’s cognac research laboratories were also placed under its wing and so the BNIC’s role of managing every aspect of cognac production and sales began.

    Our Hermitage 1947 is a classic vintage cognac from the post war era, produced at the outset of the BNIC's establishment.

  • Cognac Houses Should Be Different, Not Follow The Crowd

    Cognac expert Ed Bates, speaking at a tasting in London recently, highlighted the stylistic and commercial stranglehold that the big four houses have on the industry (they have 80% of the cognac market).   In order to compete, most of the other houses “try to copy Hennessy XO because the world, or Asia, thinks that cognac tastes like Hennessy XO”.  They do have another option though, he says, which in the longer term could be more beneficial.  Making the individuality of their terroir (which includes factors such as the skill of the distiller, still, casks, cellar etc.) their unique selling point (USP) would set them apart from the competition.  As the Chinese market, which thrives on the blended generic labels, slows down the more opportunity unique products will have to gain wider recognition.  Ed Bates is convinced that concentrating on quality and what sets your cognac apart is the way ahead as this ensures that the maître de chai is in charge of style not the marketing director.  Here at Hermitage Cognacs we couldn’t agree more, we have always been clear about our USP – exceptional cognac from single estates, each with a ‘number on the bottle’ to confirm its provenance.