The first stop on a big trip to Cognac, France last week was Hennessy. I met up with my host Cyrille at the Hennessy office, one of the Hennessy buildings that dominates the waterfront on the Charente River in the small city of Cognac. First we talked a bit about sales. Hennessy sells the most of their youngest expression, the VS, totaling something like 80 percent of sales volume, and most of that is to the US. The US generally consumes most congnac at the VS level, whereas in Asian markets consumers in particular tend to drink VSOP and older...
Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.
I went to Cognac last week to learn about cognac. I learned a lot. So what is cognac, anyway? Cognac is an aged brandy distilled from grapes in the Charente region of France. The Cognac region is separated into six delimited subregions based primarily on the makeup of the soil: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fine Bois, Bons Bois, and Bois Ordinaires. The Grande and Petite Champagne regions have the most chalky soil. Planted in the region is mostly Ugni Blanc grapes, with others like Folle Blanche and Columbard sometimes also used to make cognac. These grape varieties make horrible...
What a week! I've just come back from the Cognac region visiting nine cognac houses in several towns, one big cooperage and one tiny one, a big charity auction, and enduring a long flight next to a man with extremely broad shoulders. YOUR SEAT STOPS AT THE ARMREST, PAL. More to come as I work through the jetlag.
Jordan Mackay has a nice explanation of the aromatics in different varieties of pisco on CHOW.com. Read it here.
Unless something has gone horribly awry, by the time you read this I will be in France. Where in France? Well, here is my reading list for the plane ride: I'll be here for about a week, but I have a few advance-written blog posts going up. The schedule looks pretty packed so I don't think I'll be able to do much live blogging on site. A votre sante!
Well hello! I'm pleased to announce that Malt Advocate's WhiskyFest has become an Alcademics sponsor. The San Francisco WhiskyFest event is October 16, so start planning your outfit. See that little ad banner over there? It does have an important piece of information, that until Sept 25th the ticket price is lower than after that date. There will be events in San Francisco all week and I'll do my best to post them here. Already I know of a Laphroaig cocktail contest at Rye on October 12th, a whisky dinner with High West at The Alembic that's already sold out,...
Too busy to blog- read these Peruvian booze news stories instead: - Another good pisco story this week, this one by Jason Wilson in the Washington Post. - The New York Times has a funny story on an attempt to make chicha, the Peruvian beer that is chewed and spit.
Catherine Price has a nice long story about modern moonshine on Salon.com, with a short quote from me. Read it here.