History of Léopold Gourmel
In 1972 Pierre Voisin and Olivier Blanc co-founded the cognac house Léopold Gourmel. They named it after Pierre Voisin's grandfather Léopold Gourmel, because both of them cherished his love for nature, whether it was when tending his vineyards, working the garden or fishing in the Atlantic ocean on the shores of his native island Ile de Ré. Léopold Gourmel's respect towards the environment inspired them to create a cognac house that was entirely embracing methods of producing in eco-friendly ways. Gourmel's proffession was that of a horse saddler, therefore they decided to use the head of a horse as the logo for the brand.
They found that the symbol of a horse perfectly matched the noble, elegant and fine cognac they wished to produce.
Since its origins, Léopold Gourmel decided to produce only pure vintage cognacs, meaning each cognac is from one particular year and never gets blended with other years or younger cognacs. This is very unusual for a cognac house, because tradition has it that most houses have VS, VSOP and XO cognacs in their range, mostly alongside a selection of vintage cognacs.
Léopold Gourmel Today
In 1993, Olivier Blanc became sole owner of the business. Since, he has built a new team and is focusing on international distribution and including new products to follow modern developments in the field of cognac, for example the range "Les Amis de Gourmel" (Friends of Gourmel). He is also interested in finding new ways of aging naturally-produced cognac as well as promoting innovative ways to inform consumers that cognac can be enjoyed differently to the existing cliché of gentlemen gathered around smoking cigars in front of the fireplace...
For Olivier Blanc, every vintage has its own character, he compares it to training a horse, building its character over time, which is another link to the logo of the cognac house - the horse's head.
The vineyards of Léopold Gourmel are situated in the Fins Bois area, growing aromatic grapes thanks to the eastern-facing hills. The Bruny family have been supplying the grapes for Léopold Gourmel for years and continue to do so with great expertise.
In order to classify the age of the cognacs, Olivier Blanc has chosen a very simple strategy, namely appointing 5 different "age stages" for anyone to understand. Ranging from 6 carats to 30 carats, he compares his cognac's ages to the quality of gold:
Premières saveurs (6 carats), Age du Fruit (10 carats), Age des Fleurs (15 carats), Age des Epices (20 carats) and Quintessence (30 carats)
New, Products, Anecdotes and Labels
In a youtube video Olivier Blanc, owner of Léopold Gourmel Cognac speaks about the history about Léopold Gourmel. He reminds us of how everything started with Cognac... that it was in fact the non-French merchants from Scandinavia, the British Isles, Holland and Germany were coming to the region of Charente Maritime to collect salt. During their visits they of course came across the wine from the region and at this time it was particularly the white wine that they wanted to take back with them (one wonders why not the red...). So in order to be able to take back larger quantities of alcohol, people distilled the wine. All the great trading families sent a member of their family down to the region and they would distill the wine, store it in wooden barrels and transport them, first on the river on small boats, then on big ships to take them to their respective countries. The Cognac was then bottled upon arrival and hence has a very international history from its very roots. Until this day, almost the entire cognac production is shipped and sold outside of France.
Léopold Gourmel cognac is distributed exclusively through selected stores and highly reputed restaurants. Anyone interested in selling Gourmel cognac in their restaurant or shop, is invited to contact the cognac house directly via their website.
Visit Léopold Gourmel
There is no visiting information on the website. Contact the cognac house directly for inquiries and visits.