What happened at Cognac Expert in 2021?
Start your Journey
Welcome to Cognac Expert. Whether you’re just getting started on your Cognac journey, or making your way to Cognac via another spirit, we are glad you landed here. When we started more than ten years ago, our core mission was to tell the story of small production Cognac. Today our DNA remains the same: promote and sell small production Cognac, but more importantly, shine the spotlight on the wonderful work being done by producers all over the region.
There’s so much we have to say, and we’re sure you have plenty of questions. So scroll down for a snapshot of what we have been up to this past year. Your curiosity will be peaked.
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Cognac Expert Blog
The Cognac Expert Blog has been running since the inception of Cognac Expert itself and through it, we have always aimed to provide informative yet relatable commentary on the wide world of Cognac. In 2021, we strived to refine our eaux-de-vie content in order to deliver in-depth and engaging articles that would provide answers and insight into Cognac questions that cannot be found elsewhere. Throughout the past year, Cognac Expert has searched for topics that expand our understanding of eaux-de-vie and challenge the palate by which we taste it. Not only have we extensively reviewed some unusual and outstanding Cognacs, but we have also considered Cognac tasting from a variety of fresh perspectives, such as that of a whisky connoisseur, a coffee aficionado, and a software engineer.
XO Family Tasting
Annually we sit down for a big family tasting of up-and-coming Cognacs and well-established Cognacs alike. The results of these family tastings are not always published, but in 2020 we did just that. The Cognacs were all XO quality, a perfect category to begin one’s journey.
Stay tuned…there might be another family tasting in the very near future. Wink wink.
The lure of single malt whisk(e)y is no surprise to anyone. We at Cognac Expert consider ourselves whisky fans too. That being said, a whisk(e)y lover’s exploration of malt whisky alternatives - so called malternatives - can and should lead to Cognac. The article contains thoughts and opinions from whisky experts on all things malternatives, notably Cognac.
Angus MacRalid on Malternatives:
“A spirit possessing positive qualities that will also appeal to a lover of single malts – this doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be aged for a considerable time in wood like some brandies or rums are, but a good Mezcal or Tequila could also be a great malternative.”
Vallein Tercinier: An intimste history
An explorative interview into the history and current production of one of the Cognac region’s most authentic Cognac producers, Vallein Tercinier. We can’t get enough of their soulful and singular Cognacs too!
With over 500 years of history, the artisan house of Vallein Tercinier is one that deserves the attention of all Cognac lovers – from those new to eaux-de-vie to the connoisseur. This brother and sister team bring an expertise to craft Cognac that's just aching to be discovered. Many of the Vallein Tercinier Cognac's have been awarded top class awards in many industry competitions, and this has meant a growing awareness of their products in some quarters. But, as with the aging process of Cognac, such a small craft brand is often lost amongst the noise razzmatazz of the 'big boys'.
When a new producer comes along, we feel compelled to tell the story of the producer and the Cognacs they are producing. The recently launched Laurichesse Cognac house released two single barrel gems distilled in the 1970s. Read along as a Cognac Expert taster provides background info on the producer and a detailed review and other commentary on these cracking Cognacs.
The true art of Cognac making requires a unique blend of skill, passion, heritage, and a touch of mystery; the house of Laurichesse has each of these ingredients in perfect measure.
Laurichesse was launched in 2018, by Olivier and Léa, partners in life and in Cognac production.
Bottel Review: Hidden Gems from Laurichesse
Cognac Expert Originals
At Cognac Expert we want to remain unmatched in the variety and quality of the products that we offer in our shop. To achieve this we are constantly on the lookout for new eaux-de-vie treats to introduce to the community. We also create our own exclusive products, exciting offerings dreamt up by our very own team and customers. These Cognac Expert Originals are most commonly exclusive limited edition bottlings, like L’Essentiel, Sophie & Max Selection, and crowd-funded Cognac Imaginé but also include our annual Cognac Calendar.
Some stunners will be arriving in the very near future. Stay tuned.
Cognac Expert introduced the L’ESSENTIEL series in 2020, with the vision of collaborating with artisanal, lesser-known producers in the region to craft exquisite bottles of Cognac that we could then share with the Cognac Expert community. Each limited edition release gives customers a new insight into the eclectic mix of aromas and flavors that can be found in the region. L’ESSENTIEL invites you to ralentir, réfléchir, réunir: slow down, reflect and reconnect with our loved ones - it’s time to appreciate right now because that’s all we’ve got, something that this year we can appreciate more than ever.
You will be delighted to learn that our next L’ESSENTIEL edition will be released imminently and was crafted by an independent Cognac house whose mission is to discover producers all across the region in order to create truly unique Cognacs from the six crus. This brand is recognized for the restricted amount of Cognacs it produces each year, so we know this bottle will be particularly special, keep your eyes peeled!
Cognac Expert Calendar
2021 saw the release of our third annual Cognac Calendar, featuring 24 delectable Cognac samples to count down your December in style. After the successful launch of our calendar in 2019 and the amazing feedback we received, we endeavored to keep improving our festive offering year on year and we are pleased to say 2021 was our best one yet. Not only was every Cognac taster above XO quality, and selected from a variety of fantastic artisanal houses, but we also accompanied each one with an informative mini-podcast that revealed the ins and outs of the production process.
Our dedicated Cognac connoisseurs are just about coming to the end of their calendars for this year, but we have no doubt some of them will be providing detailed reviews of their favorites on our Cognac Lovers Facebook group so keep an eye out for their feedback. If you’re interested in learning more about the creation of and work that went into each year’s calendar then you can read all about it on our Tale of 3 Cognac Calendars Blog and we guarantee by the end of it you’ll be gagging to get your hands on next years.
Our first-ever crowdfunded Cognac
Perhaps the most exciting of our 2021 ventures was Imaginé, a Cognac created by the Cognac Expert community. Every aspect of the production was voted on by our customers, including the growth area, taste, alcohol volume, price, name, design and you even directed the trailer; the end result was a truly unique and collaborative bottle of eaux-de-vie.
Our first ever crowd-funded Cognac was produced by world-renowned artisans Prunier, who dedicated themselves to crafting the eaux-de-vie to the precise specifications voted for by our community. You chose a Grande Champagne blend of 43% ABV, that presented both fruity and woody aromas, and the name you selected for this one-of-a-kind Cognac, was Imaginé. Bottles were produced on a pre-sale basis, meaning once the edition was finished, it would be gone forever. In the end, 181 bottles were made, along with a dramatic trailer to conclude the exciting experiment and
Private Seller Items
We have featured Cognacs from private sellers on Cognac Expert for quite some time now and in 2021 there were plenty of new additions available to purchase. If you happen to have a bottle of eaux-de-vie that you are interested in selling then we are happy to provide a free appraisal or if you are someone who loves discovering rare Cognac treasures, head over to our private seller page to see what you can find.
Our Cognac Specials
We’re not the only ones who’ve been hard at work in 2021, a number of our favorite producers have also been busy crafting exceptionally special offerings and in honor of this we showcased some of these brands and the incredible work they’ve been doing on Cognac Expert.
Interview with Jacky Navarre
Jacky Navarre is the mysterious man behind the iconic house of Navarre, a brand that every Cognac devotee is familiar with. It is Jacky who has taken the brand from merchant supplier to the esteemed independent producer it is today and we were eager to speak to the man himself to find out a little more about his house’s journey.
Discover how this elusive gentleman came to distill Cognac, the method behind his production and what Jacky has to say about each of the products that he personally crafts from start to finish
Podcast with Guilhem Grosperrin
We were overjoyed to release our highly anticipated second podcast with Guilhem Grosperrin recently. Guilhem’s father established Grosperrin in 1999 and since 2004 Guilhem has been at the helm, during which time he has been instrumental in enhancing the eaux-de-vie collection of the house and expanding its network and customer base to far beyond just France.
In Guilhem’s interview with Max, he takes a deep dive into how the business has transformed into what it is today and the steps that it took to get there.
The Cognac Expert Podcast
Cognac Expert Subscription Service
Cognac Subscription is a new Cognac service designed by Sophie & Max and the team of Cognac-Expert.com. Receive hand-picked Cognacs each month, every other month or per quarter. This service is designed for and around you: Once you’ve selected a plan, we’ll send you a link to complete a brief quiz that helps us get to know you. For every delivery Sophie & Max will choose two Cognac bottles based on your interests and taste, and deliver it in a box straight to your doorstep. Receive your tailor made box and discover delicious new Cognacs of exceptional quality - you’ll be surprised at the range of Cognacs we are able to source for you.
There are three plans. You can also select different frequencies with these plans: Monthly boxes (12 boxes per year), every other month (6 boxes per year) or quarterly (4 boxes per year).
How our community interacts with Cognac Expert is so important to us and we believe that our platform should encourage our customers to share their thoughts and opinions on eaux-de-vie and also to learn from each other’s palates. That is why in 2021 we redesigned our review platform to provide a much more in-depth and precise rating when you come to share your feedback.
Our review tool calculates a score out of 100 using your ratings according to a variety of 19 factors that come under the categories of nose, mouth, taste, finish and overall impression. On top of that reviewers are also asked to provide feedback on the value for money and the presentation of the bottle, as well as ranking the woodiness, spiciness, fruitiness and floralness of the eaux-de-vie. You’ll almost be able to taste the Cognac yourselves after having read these detailed reviews.
Taking into account all the reviews we receive we then collate these to provide you with our review overview page which features both our best rated and most reviewed Cognacs on our website.
Best Rated Cognacs
Minimum 5 Reviews
2021 has been a monumental year for us here at Cognac Expert and we introduced so many new features to our offering of which we are extremely proud. The first achievement to mention would be our Cognac Expert Magazine, released to mark the 10 year anniversary of the company. The magazine contained 68 pages of editorial content covering all things Cognac and we are excited to begin working on our second edition.
As previously mentioned, we launched our third annual Cognac Calendar and 2021’s was our best yet, packed with the highest quality eaux-de-vie so far and accompanied by fascinating mini-podcasts with the producers themselves filling you in on the secrets of the region. Cognac Expert also started a podcast of our own, each episode features a different producer as a guest to take a deep dive into the world of Cognac with us and to share the expertise and flair that got them to where they are today. Our first episode was with expert producer, Francois Giboin, who is both the cellar master and head of the house and our most recent episode is with Guilhem Grosperrin the second-generation head of Grosperrin Cognac.
We expanded the educational element of our Cognac Expert website this year so that you can now discover all there is to know about eaux-de-vie and the region from which it comes. Ever wondered
Well look no further, head to our in-depth pages to find out all you need to know and more.
Cognac Expert is a great place to not only learn from our team but also from the amazing community which we have built and you can do this by exploring our Cognac Review tool which we recently upgraded to provide a detailed analysis of customers’ tastings and a summary of the most popular bottles available on the shop. You could also join our dedicated Cognac Lovers Facebook group that has grown by more than 1,000 members this year and is a wonderful resource for discussing eaux-de-vie with connoisseurs far and wide, and there are even a number of producers who are members themselves.
Finally, we were delighted to open our second office in Hamburg, Germany in 2021 and we now have a number of the Cognac Expert team under one roof which has been a wonderful experience for all!
So there you have it, Cognac Expert’s 2021 summed up, its been a busy but rewarding year and we can’t wait to see what 2022 brings!