The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 72 of 128

CATEGORY REPORT From Dated to I Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac next to the bottle that inspired it. A single-origin, single-vin- tage release from Cognac Jean Grosperrin. f you are in your early 30s or 40s, you might just have a new suitor. Cognac, which has long been seen as an older, upscale product, has been shedding its old skin and reaching out to a new generation of consumers who it hopes will embrace the spirit in a whole new way. "It's our own fault," explains Jennifer Szersnovicz of Courvoisier. "Cognac had been so focused on the after-dinner, consumed-neat, upscale market that people forgot how versatile a spirit it can be." Mixability and flexibility seem to be the new buzz words that are surrounding cognac's renewed attempts at wooing new fans to the spirit. Courvoisier has gone to the drawing board and com- pletely revised the way they deal with and talk about its products. At the centerpiece of this is a program entitled Le Nez de Courvoisier, which translates liter- ally as "The Nose of Courvoisier." With this program, the brand emphasizes the aromas of cognac and is engaging wine consumers, who may not traditionally seek out cognac, in a space that they are familiar and comfortable with. For Rémy Martin, the strategy is to reach the hearts of drinkers through their stomachs. Rémy now rou- tinely shows off its spirits with food pair- ings emphasizing cognac's compatibility with food, from the more traditional crème brûlée to the less conventional fois gras, smoked salmon and goat cheese. "Lightly chill our VSOP, and it pairs amazingly with shellfish or fish," suggests Lauren Beckett, Brand Ambassador for Rémy Martin. Olivier Blanc, Director of Léopold Gourmel, recommends drinking his cognac with 72 / the tasting panel / december 201 1 COGNAC Dating SHEDS ITS SKIN FOR A NEW DEMOGRAPHIC by Geoffrey Kleinman coffee. "In Scandinavia they call it avec café, an espresso with an ounce or two of cognac served on the side. You sip one and then the other. It's exquisite." Mixability has been seen as a key to bring cognac to a new generation of drinkers, and several cognac houses have released prod- ucts focused on the cocktail. Pierre Ferrand recently released its 1840 Original Formula Cognac, which was modeled after an actual An array of eaux-de-vie provides the Master Blender a wide palette at Cognac Camus. archival bottle of cognac from 1840, bottled at a higher proof (90 proof) than the rest of it line. Courvoisier has brought Cognac Exclusif, a product originally designed for the Asian market, to the U.S. as another option for cocktails. "It doesn't have to be compli- cated," says Cyrille Gautier Auriol, Brand Ambassador for Hennessy. "Our VS mixed with either tonic water or ginger ale makes a fantastic, approachable and easy drink." Cognac hasn't entirely abandoned its

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