With an ancient tradition tracing back to the Middle Ages, and to the great Norwegian Viking Ottar, this Cognac dynasty has an incredibly unique history. Around the same period, the iconic Chateau de Cognac was built on the banks of the Charente, and was largely associated with the French monarchy. Eventually, the two histories would merge with the arrival of the Cognac Maison Otard, founded in 1795. Today, the Chateau is the home of Baron Otard Cognac, who are amongst the most recognized in quality. The elegant teardrop bottles are a beautiful symbol for the simultaneously traditional and modern values of Cognac Otard.
7 things you probably didn’t know about the history of Otard Cognac
1. Curious about Otard’s link with Norway? The family can trace its origins back to a Norwegian warrior, named Ottar in the 9th century. His descendants lived in the Dun-Ottar castle in Scotland between the 11th and 17th century, and they followed King James II of England in support of the Stuart cause. They later moved to France in exile - and ended up in the Cognac region. Take a more detailed look at the relationship between Norway and Otard.
2. Its home is the Chateau de Cognac, also called the Chateau de Valois. Originating in the 9th century, this castle went from being a fortress during the Hundred Year War to the home of the Valois family in the 1500s and future King of France, Francois I.
3. The great-grandson of the Scottish baron, James Otard was Jean Baptiste Antoine Otard. He was born in Cognac in 1773 and would found the famous cognac house Otard, buying the Chateau de Cognac as a home for the estate. But before he could establish the company, he was sent to exile in England for a few years during the French Revolution and could only return in 1795. His family had been winegrowers and the step to become a cognac producer and gain independence was not all too difficult.
4. Otard was the first Cognac producer to create a Cognac at 55% ABV, going back all the way to Baron Otard who noticed that this was what happened to the spirit through the long sea voyages to export the barrels.
5. Throughout the centuries, the Chateau has had prestigious guests such as Richard Lion Heart, Henry III King of England, the philosopher and writer Voltaire and the Queens and Kings of France.
6. The cellars of the chateau are still instrumental in storing and aging Cognac to this day.
7. The most valuable Cognac remains to be the Otard 1795 Extra, a blend that is stored in a secret cave in the Chateau, and the result of an old tradition and quest for the highest quality.
Today, Otard is very proud of its innovative marketing strategies, such as its exquisite packaging. They work a lot with limited editions, creating an element of exclusivity that is important in the luxury brands market. For instance, in 2006, Otard launched its first vintage cognac from the Grande Champagne region, dated 1975, in an edition of 1000 bottles.
The most valuable cognac remains to be the 1795 Extra, a blend that is stored in a secret cave in the Chateau, and the result of an old tradition and quest for the highest quality. Since recently, Otard belongs to Bacardi Ltd, positioning it next to highly ranking spirits like Bombay Sapphire Gin, Grey Goose Vodka, Martini and of course Bacardi Rum.
Cognac Otard VSOP won the Gold medal at the 2009 International Spirits Challenge and the Silver medal at 2009 International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Baron Otard Price List
You can see all of the prices above in our Shop for the entire Otard selection.
Baron Otard Tour
Otard has a museum with a detailed overview of its history, its product range and its collection of posters and campaigns of the past decades. Visits start with a discovery of the medieval Chateau, followed by an introduction to the different stages of Cognac production.
Take a look at the time we visited the Chateau for some more inspiration about the trip.
Guided tours begin, every day from April to September, at 10am, 11am, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm (from April 1 to June 30 and September 1 to September 30 continuously from 9.30am to 5.30pm). From October to March, every day (except Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays) at 10am, 11am, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm.