Story behind EXSTO Cognac
Sabrina Duong and Julie Dupouy have dedicated Cognac lovers, and are breaking boundaries to redefine the 400-year tradition of Cognac making.
When Sabrina imagined a Cognac for the world’s evolving palate, she knew she needed to partner with one of the world’s best sommeliers to create it. Sabrina and Julie bridged their skills with the technical know-how of renowned master blender Géraud Vallantin-Dulac to create a vibrant product: Exsto Cognac.
A good sommelier lives and breathes wines and spirits and has cultivated a unique understanding of aromas and flavors by exploring the world’s best foods and drinks.Sabrina believed that Julie had a thorough understanding of modern preferences, having worked with acclaimed chefs at Michelin-starred restaurants. Her skills and experience made her the perfect choice to create a new style of Cognac – a luxury drink that’s elegant and modern, yet respectful of its heritage.
Like many of the women Sabrina used to work within the perfume business, she and Julie shared an approach of adopting a more feminine outlook to what is often perceived to be a man’s drink.
EXSTO Cognac vision
Julie sees enjoying Cognac as a meditative experience and enjoys the fact that some of the eaux-de-vie are much older than she is. She describes Cognac as “time, craft and pleasure, bottled.”
Sabrina had always been passionate about fine dining and the unique gastronomy and drinks experience offered at the world’s best restaurants. When she had the opportunity to create a Cognac brand, she felt it was the right time both personally and professionally to embark on a new journey and create something new.
Instead of defining EXSTO as a feminine Cognac, Julie appreciates all styles of Cognac, depending on her mood. She puts Exsto forward as an incredibly interesting, complex reference point on that scale – a premium counterpoint to some of the styles often described as masculine. If there is a word that comes to mind when beverages are described as feminine then that word is “elegance”. For her - elegance is the heart of Exsto.
The EXSTO Team
Before establishing Exsto, Sabrina Duong worked for 15 years at L’Oreal. She has extensive experience both in managing and developing local markets, and launching new cosmetic and fragrance brands in China, Japan, and Hong Kong.
Sabrina has a passion for high-end gastronomy, and in her previous career regularly brought chefs from restaurants rated by the French Michelin Guide to collaborate on luxury culinary experiences in Asia.
Originally from the southwest of France, Julie Dupouy has been living in Dublin since 2004. She started her career in one of Ireland’s most acclaimed restaurants, Patrick Guilbaud, which has two Michelin stars, and worked at Greenhouse and Chapter One, both of which have one star. Julie founded her consultancy company Down2Wine in 2014.
Julie has won the title of Best Sommelier in Ireland every year since 2009. In 2016, Julie placed third at the ASI World’s Best Sommelier Championship. She was one of just four women in the competition and the second female sommelier ever to reach the final of the world championships.
EXSTO Master Blender
As Exsto’s master blender, Géraud Vallantin-Dulac is responsible for sourcing the best, rarest Cognac in the region.
The Vallantin-Dulac family has been making Cognac since the 18th century. Every generation has passed down its knowledge, experience and talent to the next, carefully grooming their children to take over the family business.
As a millennial, he aspires to create a contemporary style of Cognac true to modern tastes and which sets a new bar for fine Cognac for generations to come.
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