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Super rare Cognacs land at Master of Malt!

There’s so much more to Cognac than the big names. We talk to David Baker, Cognac sniffer-outer extraordinaire, about how he finds rare expressions, and then persuades the owners to sell.

It was a taste of 1840 A.E Dor at a hotel in Monaco that turned David Baker on to the magic of Cognac. Well, you might as well start with the best. It was the beginning of a great love affair. In 1987 he set up his own business, Hermitage Cognacs, to showcase the finest, rarest and oldest brandies that the region has to offer.

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Categories : Features
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Whisky auctions: The great, the good, and the delicious!

Here’s why we think whisky auctions are great – and why you’re about to see loads more of them on Master of Malt!

For the love of great drinks. That’s why the top team here at MoM Towers got into the whisky game. And that’s why we keep striving to bring you the most delicious products, money-can’t-buy competition experiences and the news views shaping all things booze.

Which is also why we’re about to kick off a whole host of product auctions, with many an incredible bottling about to hit the lot spotlight. We’re talking a 1953 Glenfarclas, a Tomintoul 40 Year Old, and even Glen Mhor 50 Year Old 1965 (cask 3934) – Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve!

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Categories : News
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Pass the Courvoisier

With its lively history, Courvoisier has more than earned its place among the big four Cognac houses. We hit up its Jarnac HQ to get geeky about production, unlock its links to the Eiffel Tower, and marvel at a lock of Napoleon Bonaparte’s actual hair….

The Courvoisier story begins not at its headquarters on the banks of the Charente river, but in Paris, in the suburb of Bercy, back in 1809. Founder Emmanuel Courvoisier started his career as a wine and spirits merchant, and operated several cellars in the area.

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Categories : Features
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Fantastic French Brandies

Fantastic French Brandies

Indulge yourselves in the final days of autumn in style with this fantastic selection of French brandies…

Autumn means the days are shorter, colder and darker. But this is nothing to fear or loathe because it’s the perfect setting to enjoy everything the wonderful world of French brandy has to offer!

And why not? French brandy is no longer a forgotten favourite. It’s ditched the stuffy old-man’s image. The three French ‘Appellation Contrôlée’* brandies, Armagnac, Calvados (the Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams to Cognac’s Beyonce Knowles) and Cognac, are all now welcome guests at cocktail parties and bartenders have embraced the bold, complex spirits with a wide range of styles and character.

So, join us, both seasoned experts and intrepid newcomers alike, as we run through some of the most flavoursome and fantastic French brandy around. À votre santé!

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Categories : We're drinking...
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Martell, the world’s oldest Cognac house, takes tradition in its stride

It may be one the oldest of the great Cognac houses, but Martell isn’t scared of a little innovation. Quite the opposite: fearlessness is the backbone of its philosophy. MoM headed to its Cognac HQ for a dig around the founder’s historic home…

Even by spirits industry standards, Martell is super old. Not wartime old, nor Prohibition old. We’re talking about centuries of Cognac heritage. In fact, if you were to lay the historic documents and letters in Martell’s vast archive end-to-end, they would stretch for five kilometers. The company employs a full time archivist to look after them all.

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Categories : Features
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Inside Distillerie Merlet & Fils: The family-owned Cognac that scaled up

The evolution of family-owned Distillerie Merlet & Fils – trade eaux-de-vie supplier, world famous liqueurs producer, third-party distiller and own label extraordinaire – is unlike any other distillery in the Cognac industry. We took a tour with fifth generation family member, Luc Merlet…

“We are quite a diverse company,” outlines Luc Merlet, as we wander around one of the company’s warehouses. His father, Giles, founded the Merlet brand with the launch of his world-renowned fruit liqueur range in 1983, in response to the Cognac grape glut of the sixties and seventies – but the family has been distilling eaux-de-vie since 1850.

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Categories : Features
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Inside the Cognac house of Bache-Gabrielsen

Norwegian roots, experimental blends, and eaux-de-vie that dates back to the 19th century: MoM stepped into the cellars of historic Cognac merchant Bache-Gabrielsen…

The house was founded by a Norwegian army officer named Thomas Bache-Gabrielsen, whose father ran a spirits monopoly in the north of the country. Together with friend and fellow Norwegian Peter Rustad, the duo bought a house called Edmond Dupuy back in 1905, naming it Bache-Gabrielsen and Rustad, and then eventually Bache-Gabrielsen.

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Categories : Features
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From vine to bottle: single estate distilling with Cognac Paul Giraud

The Giraud family has been tending vines in Grande Champagne since the 1600s; generation after generation has distilled wine, aged eaux-de-vie and supplied fine spirits to merchants across the region. Today, led by renowned farmer, distiller and blender, Paul-Jean Giraud, the domaine exclusively produces Cognac Paul Giraud.

“We’ve been vinegrowers since 1635, but we know that we sold Cognac in the 1800s,” Paul-Jean Giraud tells me. “In the past there was space for corn, vegetables, horses, cows; [the family] made many things to survive. But today, we just exclusively make just Cognac. The entire farm is for the vineyards – we have two hectares for my horse, and that’s all.”

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Categories : Features
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8 things every self-confessed spirits geek should know about Cognac

It’s all well and good drinking it, but how much do you really know about France’s beloved grape-based spirit? Here, David Boileau, Cognac ambassador for the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC), details eight Cognac facts that every spirits geek should know…

You know that all Cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is Cognac. You’re aware it’s aged in oak barrels. You’ve heard that terroir is a thing that producers care about. But is there a gap in your otherwise flawless eaux-de-vie expertise, perhaps one you’re unaware of?

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Categories : Features
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The most expensive Cognac bottlings at this year’s La Part des Anges auction

This year’s La Part des Anges Cognac auction raised a record-breaking €291,500 for charity. A phenomenal amount, you’ll agree. But what, exactly, did buyers splash their cash on? We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most expensive bottles – along with a few hypothetical ‘alternatives’ for those who missed out…

A total of 22 bottlings from houses large and small went under the hammer at this year’s La Part des Anges charity auction – hosted, as ever, by the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) – along with a ‘digital art’ lot composed of the evening’s social media happenings.

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Categories : Features
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