Cognac has often been referred as « the drink of the gods ». The first written record of Cognac production, dating back to the 17th century, mentions a certain Chevalier de la Croix Marron in Brée-en-Charente, who succeeded in capturing the very soul of wine by redistilling an already distilled wine. Aged in oak barrels in the cool half-light of Charentais cellars, this double-distilled spirit became hugely successful around the world. Oak ageing not only contributes tannin, but also enables Cognac to « breathe » through the pores in the wood and take on a beautiful amber color. Making fine Cognac is more of an art than a technique, and each distiller adapts to the quality and origin of the wine.
Going back to Cognac’s earliest history, and with surprisingly few changes through the years, every producer uses the same equipment: a copper pot still consisting of a boiler, an onion-shaped still head with a swan’s head connected to a cooler and condensing coil via a long pipe,. The première chauffe, or first distillation, lasts for eight hours and produces a cloudy liquid known as brouillis. This substance is put back into the boiler for the second distillation, or bonne chauffe, which lasts over 12 hours. The Cognac producer’s art lies in knowing just when to eliminate the distillation « head » and « tails » to retain only the « heart », which alone gives Cognac its inimitable aroma and flavor
Cognac is one the most prestigious and well-known eau-de-vie in the world. As the centuries passed, natural, political and economic changes strengthened the knowledge and process of Cognac production. It thus became not only one of the finest eau-de-vie able to please the most demanding experts thanks to its complexity and its flavor ; but also an ambassador of its own history, from the conception methods to the final blend and the distinguished people who used to appreciate it.