On a recent trip to France, I stopped in to Courvoisier cognac for a visit. Courvoisier is located not in the city of Cognac, but in Jarnac- one of the two other main cognac towns along with Segonzac. Jarnac appears to be a bigger city than Cognac and looks a bit more lively. I popped in to the tourism office and was told they don't really have any hotels in the city itself, just bed and breakfasts. The real hotels are the fancy chateaus a few miles outside the city.
Courvoisier dominates the Charente river waterfront here as Hennessy does in Cognac. Can you believe this picture isn't a postcard?
The house of Courvoisier is just as beautiful inside as it appears on the outside, though they have a bit of Napoleon overdose in the design theme. Courvoisier was the official supplier of cognac to Napoleon or some such, and they really are running with that. In the visitor's center downstairs, they even have one of his famous hats. (Branding suggestion to Courvoisier: make the Napoleon hat the bartender's new fedora.)
Courvoisier only purchases grapes for its cognac from the inner four delimited cognac regions- Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, and Fine Bois. They own two distilleries but work with several others to produce the eau de vie that will go into their bottles.
A unique thing about Courvoisier is that they pick out the trees that are used to make their barrels, then have them built especially for their use. (Most companies just buy barrels.) They use the traditional Limousin and Troncais forest trees, along with some from Jupille.
While there, we were treated to the La Nez de Courvoisier experience. Basically they take you into a groovy lounge, blindfold you, and blow smells in your face. You have a glass of cognac in front of you and the goal is to try to identify those same aromas in the cognac. They're bringing the La Nez de Courvoisier on the road in the US, but by the time you read this post they will all have happened.