The legendary history of Courvoisier cognac goes back to the early 1800s, when Felix Couvoisier and Jules Gallois founded a wine merchant’s business in Paris. Soon after, they figured out that cognac was their true passion and they moved their business to Jarnac in the heart of the Cognac region to start up Courvoisier in 1828. When Napoleon was exiled to Saint Elena he ordered several barrels of cognac to take with him. Following this sign of appreciation, Courvoisier would start supplying the royal courts of Denmark, England and Sweden as well as the Imperial Court of Napoleon III. In fact, Courvoisier attained the official title of “official supplier to the Imperial Court” in 1869.
Felix Courvoisier died without a son, so his nephews and their families continued the cognac tradition until the early 20th century when the English family Simon bought the cognac house. The Simons created a strong international brand identity with a new logo of the silhouette of Napoleon for the bottles.
Courvoisier is the only cognac producer that controls the entire process from grape to bottle, working with smaller producers in the region that have supplied them throughout generations. By doing this, they want to ensure that the quality remains as perfect as it has always been. The goal is to blend the cognacs so that the aromas and flavours remain the same every year, which is rare compared to other manufacturers, whose blends differ from year to year.
In 1964 Courvoisier was acquired by the Canadian spirits group Hiram Walker, which helped to drastically increase international sales. In the 1980s, a period of huge international mergers and acquisitions, Hiram Walker was bought by the British group Allied Lyons, which would become Allied Domecq after merging with Pedro Domecq and will later be partly owned by Pernod Ricard (and therefore indirectly also by Martell). Once Pernod Ricard owned part of the shares, Allied Domecq divested Courvoisier to Fortune Brands, which it remains to be part of today under Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc.
Pierre Szersnovicz, whose father ran the largest Courvoisier distillery for decades, is part of the blending team, but at the same time global brand ambassador of Courvoisier, which shows that today, Marketing plays a crucial role in distributing cognac internationally.
News, Products, Anecdotes and Labels
Courvoisier re-launched its famous Josephine bottle and invited legendary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood to design the bottle. The company continues to introduce such innovative collaborations, strengthening a unique position amongst competitors such as Rémy Martin, Hennessy or Martell.
In 2007 Courvoisier Napoleon Fine Champagne won a double gold medal at the San Francisco Spirit Awards and in 2009 Courvoisier Exclusif won the Best Overall Cognac Award at the same prestigious awards.
In 2006 Courvoisier was the first luxury spirits label that launched a perfume, a men’s fragrance called “L’Edition Imperiale”.
Courvoisier boasts an entirely renovated museum in Jarnac withmultimedia presentations and a range of guided tours, where all historical material can be sighted, even a lock of Napoleon’s hair!
Visits to the museum and the cellars from May to October, 9.30am to 5pm every day. For special arrangements from November to April, please contact Courvoisier directly under +33 5 45 35 56 16 or +33 5 45 35 55 87.