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Father's Day

What did we learn from our fathers?

Cognac production takes time and is passed on over the generations from great-grandfathers to grandfathers, and fathers to the generation of today.

Today, we present the wisdom of 4 Cognac fathers and their children. 

Those who produce Cognac today mostly do it for the next generation, and so will the next. It is constant work for the younger generation which means a lot of times the current one is not going to enjoy their own Cognacs.

To honor fatherhood and paternal ties, as well as to show the influence of fathers in Cognac we interviewed the leading producers of Pasquet, Godet, Comandon and Prunier. Choose the perfect Cognac to honour the creators and fathers of our beloved drink - Cognac.

What Alice and Claire learned

The sisters Alice and Claire Burnez mark the 6th generation of the famous Cognac house Prunier, taking over from their father the subtle blend of the past and the present looking towards the future. Both agree the way of working has changed from that one of their father.

As you’d expect in such a history rich family business both have always been allowed to taste wines and spirits at family dinners and parties to grow into the business. “It is a part of our family life before it is a product for our work.”

The influence of fathers in Cognac as it is today remains very important. With this being said, we’ve put together a Father’s Day round up of the top Cognac picks, that we think serve well as a delightful gift this Father’s Day. Whether your dad is an avid Cognac drinker or a first time taster, we’ve got you covered in our selection below. Order a Cognac from our Father’s Day selection and experience the tradition, savoir-faire, and innovative ideas that have been passed down the generations.

Discover Prunier

When was the first time you tasted cognac together with your father?

Claire: It's difficult to remember a precise moment. We always smelled the wines and cognacs at home, it was important for our father to educate us in our taste and smell.

Alice. I don't remember, I must have been too young to remember (at the risk of shocking). We have always been allowed to taste wines and spirits at family dinners and parties. It is a part of our family life before it is a product for our work.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your father?

Claire: On a personal level, to make our own choices. We chose to come and work for Cognac Prunier, but it never pushed us towards this decision. The second one, more particular to Prunier, is the respect of all the actors who participate in the elaboration of cognac. From the winegrower to the final consumer, everyone is important.

Alice: As a rule, the most important lesson learned was to make his own ideas and opinions, even if, perhaps, he sometimes regrets it now!  For cognac more specifically, the lessons on the vinic approach to the product and in particular the parcel/terroir effect.

Do you think your way of working matches your father's or is it different?

Claire: I think it is different in form (new tools and channels of communication, production, evolving markets...) but ultimately very similar in substance: preserving the heritage of past generations while adding our share for future generations and taking pleasure in choosing cognacs!

Alice: It is different indeed because of a generational effect, tools that evolve, customer demands that change... the work of cognac has changed little, only the administrative load is different. But our objectives are the same; to preserve the history, the heritage and the members of the Prunier team and to produce (very) good Prunier cognacs to be enjoyed.

What Jean learned

“There's no point in having regrets, what's done is done, you can't go back.” Jean Pasquet took over the family business, tradition and innovative savoir-faire from his father Jean-Luc, who himself took over the business in 1970. This though has never stopped Jean from developing his own way of working.

Therefore he already started to grow in 1995 their 14 hectares of vineyards according to the principles of Organic Agriculture. “I have changed a lot of things with regard to the way my father worked, I think I am still on the same course but I have just changed boat. We have always had the desire and the ambition to make the best Cognac that our vines and our terroir can give, money has never been the leitmotif, it is important but it is not the most important.” He became interested in Cognac at the young age of 24 and remembers like it was only yesterday: “I remember very well the first cognac that really made me feel emotional, it was my father's Vieille Réserve, a 40 year old cognac, almost impossible to find now.”

Discover Pasquet

When was the first time you tasted cognac together with your father Jean-Luc?

It's hard to say, being the son of a cognac producer meant that cognac was omnipresent in the house. I became interested in it rather late, it seems to me that it was when I came back from New Zealand that I became aware of the importance of cognac for me, I was 24 years old.

Of course, I started by drinking my parents' cognac...but with Schweppes. It was very fashionable at the end of the 90's and beginning of 2000, I was barely 20 years old. However, I remember very well the first cognac that really made me feel emotional, it was my father's Vieille Réserve, a 40 years old cognac, almost impossible to find now.

What is the most important lesson you learned of your father?

Concerning the cognac: it is to never bottle something that I don't like or that is not ready. And I commit myself to that every day.

Concerning life: there's no point in having regrets, what's done is done, you can't go back. And that the best way not to have regrets is to be honest with others and oneself, we know if we risk regretting such or such thing, then we must act and try to do our best.

Do you think that we way you work corresponds to that one of your father or is it different?

I have changed a lot of things with regard to the way my father worked, I think I am still on the same course but I have just changed boat.

We have always had the desire and the ambition to make the best cognac that our vines and our terroir can give, money has never been the leitmotiv, it is important but it is not the most important.

What Franck learned

“I learned to seek to produce cognacs that are softer and more gourmet. This while keeping a constant drive towards innovation and questioning the status quo. It's a bit like Cognac, it takes time before you have enough experience to balance these two paradigms.” Founded in 1821 by Pierre Comandon it is today Franck Vigneron with his father Patrick Vigneron who runs the Cognac house Comandon.

Over 200 years of playing an important role in the Cognac community made the family business what it is today. “My first Cognac tasting with my father was long after experimenting and tasting wines first…He prefers the roundness and smoothness of very mature cognacs. In my case, I like diversity and I like to discover new facets that are not very common. I learned about being curious about the many types of wines from my father, and I apply this curiosity that he taught me for the wines to Cognacs.”

Discover Comandon

When was the first time you tasted cognac together with your father?

My first cognac tasting with my father was long after experimenting and tasting wines first. My father is a wine connoisseur. And he made me discover wines long before we discussed cognac. My father has an affinity for very old cognacs.

The older (and therefore often more expensive) they are, the more he likes them. I'm not saying he only likes cognacs when they're expensive, that's not the point. He's not looking for rancio either. In fact, he prefers the roundness and smoothness of very mature cognacs. In my case, I like diversity and I like to discover new facets that are not very common.

In fact, my list of criteria of what I like would be too long for this Q&As. Shorter is the list of things I don't like: I don't like cognacs that are flat without personality. Too sweet and too vanilla like cognacs, which are strong and seem to want to hide something.

Thus, I learned about being curious about the many types of wines from my father, and I apply this curiosity that he taught me for the wines to cognacs. Our first serious cognac tastings date back to 2008 when we updated the qualities of the Comandon cognacs.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your father?

I learned to seek to produce cognacs that are softer and more gourmet, rather than being interested in cognacs that were so unique that it only interested me or too few people. This while keeping a constant drive towards innovation and questioning the status quo. It's a bit like cognac, it takes time before you have enough experiences to balance these two paradigms.

Do you think your way of working matches your father's or is it different?

My father likes to be in continuous action, it's physical: "it has to move!" Maybe too active. I prefer to plan and organize more. Maybe too organised. So it divides us at times.

However, we agree when it comes to the function of the sale for being a priority in a company. Selling is the sinews of war. I think we would agree on this point.

What Maxime learned

“Be good to yourself... there is not one life, but over a thousand and yours. There is not one way to do things, but over a thousand ways and your way.” Maxime Godet is one of the 3 brothers who lead the Cognac house of Godet today and marks the 15th generation. Their history tracks all the way back to 1588 and ever since is 100% family owned. He remembers: “The first time I drank Cognac, it must have been in the presence of my father and grandfather, in the property of the latter, in his bar of a grand hotel.

I must have been 6 years old. It's a very vague memory, but it's very strong.” Even though his and his brother’s way of working has changed from that of his father, limited production, long maturation, hand-made work and on demand bottling of tailor made cuvées remain some of their deep beliefs. One thing that hasn’t changed either: “Since then, drinking with my father or my brothers is like breathing for you. It's obvious and you can't ask for it.”

Discover Godet

When was the first time you tasted cognac together with your father?

That's a good question. Certainly, the first time I drank cognac, it must have been in the presence of my father and grandfather, in the property of the latter, in his bar worthy of a grand hotel bar.

I must have been 6 years old. It's a very vague memory, but it's very strong. Since then, drinking a bucket with my father or my brothers is like breathing for you. It's obvious and you can't ask for it.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your father?

Be good to yourself... there is not 1 life, but a thousand and yours. There is not one way to do things, but a thousand ways and your way.

Do you think your way of working is the same as your father's or is it different?

It is quite different. I work as a team and entrust those who are better than me with the tasks that will make us successful.

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