Understanding Cognac’s Personality

by James Stevenson

Cognac has a long and rich history, and is often portrayed as a product for specific demographics, not the everyday consumer; however, in today’s market that is all changing. With companies trying out new marketing campaigns and cognacs specifically crafted for the modern palate we are finding more and more people discovering this delicious spirit. Whether it’s in a cocktail or neat, cognac is something that is certainly on the rise and has a strong, prosperous future.

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The wonderful workforce community in the region have been through so many ups and downs throughout the generations, and there are many times they could have given up and used their fertile lands for other agricultural enterprises. During the phylloxera crisis, a lot of property owners were approached by other farmers when their crops were being decimated; but they persevered, grew stronger and overcame this difficult time as a community. We met with many of the people from all walks of life during our time in the region, everyone always had a smile on their face and accommodated us, no matter how busy they were.

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Especially in this time of prosperity, the locals are a joyous people, as life has been good to them and they are able to provide a great future for generations to come. This is the way things have been in Cognac through the generations, fathers, and mothers teach their children the way of the land, and one day they take over. And with modern technological advancements, the work is getting easier for all involved, and the quality of continues to increase. You see this most in the farmers who have more time to spend with their families, and in the producers/owners who are able to provide a better wage and better/safer working conditions for their hard-working employees.

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The quality of life has increased not only in the workplace but also in the communities personal lives with the development of better restaurants and even some great cocktail bars in the past few years. This development can also be attributed to the increased tourism to the region. We visited a few very notable venues and the main thing that we noticed was the value of dining and drinking, which was at a level where it is approachable to almost everyone. There are some venues where an evening may be considered a splurge, though these are likely to be Michelin star restaurants, and just down the street you will find local entrepreneurs who have given their hearts and souls to small restaurants, and this determination really shows.

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Naturally, it has been difficult to convince companies in the region that their products can be used in mixed drinks, however, with the new generation of imbibers, it is a natural progression that is slowly being accepted. The notable cocktail bars in the region are doing amazing things with cognac, and the staff all seem very well versed on the products. The bartenders are all very happy to talk with patrons about cognac as a product and as a region. If you let them know what style of cocktail you like they can create something unique that suits your palate, incorporating cognac as the base, demonstrating the diversity of the product.



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