An acquaintance of ours from Canada who visited last year, asked if we could ship them a bottle of Cognac, since drank all of last' year's haul.
Though I've been here for over two years, my knowledge about Cognac is still very shallow. Mostly because I don't drink it and partly because I can't sell it. It's a highly regulated game seemingly. The lady at the Distillery today told me that I have to keep the sales receipt on me until I reach the house and then later, the post office. Just in a rare case that I have to proof taxes were paid!
While we all know the big four producers of fine Cognac, Remy, Martell, Courvoisier and Hennessy, there are hundreds of smaller producers in the greater Cognac region with a lesser marketing budget than Jay'Z's wardrobe allowance. Most of them make their living by supplying the big four with product in various forms (grapes, distilled, aged, etc), but all of them learnt how to make their own products and passion is hard to beat.
On my search for a good (non Supermarket) Cognac, I recalled having spoken with an antique dealer who's wife runs the century old family business. And that's where I went for a great bottle at a reasonable price. And I found it. While terms such as V.S., V.S.O.P. and X.O. are regualted by the industry for mimium aging, the trickery begins with the Hors d'age bottle, which has no clear aging minimum or blending limits. So many of the bigger name "Without Age" cognacs, can be as young as 15 years, but they still sell at a massive premium compared to the one I bought. Guaranteed 30 years old, from a single grower.
So if you find yourself in the area, go ahead and take a tour of one of the better known companies, but if you want to really find a good, well made Cognac, drive around and find a small producer. Not only will you get better insight, many times a one on one tour, their products are many times much less expensive and possibly superior to the marketed blends of the big guys. But then, I am not a Rapper, what do I know about the stuff.......
THE DIFFERENT GROWING REGIONS
CENTER OF THE GRANDE CHAMPAGNE
ALSO A DESIGNATED SLOW CITY
LIKE THEM ON FB HERE: GUILLON-PAINTURAUD
GREAT PINEAU DISPLAY
THE VARIOUS AGES IN COLOR
THEY CONVERTED AN OLD HOUSE INTO A TASTING ROOM
THEIR SELECTION. NOTE THAT THEY DO NOT PRODUCE V.S. COGNAC
30 AND 40 YEAR OLD PRODUCTS
VINTAGE STYLE BOTTLE TO THE RIGHT
CHARTER OF INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS
ALAMBIC FROM 1914 STILL IN USE HERE
A "NEWER" ONE FROM 1960'S
NOW WORKS WITH GAS
THE DISTILLER'S BED FROM THE OLD DAYS
ON IT'S WAY TO CANADA