The reason for my trip to Cognac in the beginning of September was a visit to Braastad in connection to the launch of their first organic cognac.
Braastad is a family-run house of cognac.
Sverre Braastad left his home in Norway with nothing but his good name, arriving in Cognac, France in 1899. On the banks of the Charente River, he fell in love with and married Edit Rousseau, daughter and heiress of the Cognac Tiffon distillers. Toghether they made the House of Tiffon into one of the largest family-owned producers in Cognac.
The Braastad family still harvests grapes and produces wine for the distillation of their Noble cognacs. These are then matured in old oak casks in dark cellars on the borders of the Charente River, ensuring unrivalled quality.
Text from Braastad.com, where you can read more about the Braastad family history.
Jan, head of finance, is Sverre Braastad's grandson and runs the company with his two cousins; master blender Richard and head of sales Antoine.
Cognac for Princess Ingrid Alexandra.
If you are interesting in learning how cognac is made, I recommend you take a look at the short videos at Braastad.com. In the videos Jan, Richard and Antoine talk about the process, the distillation, the taste, the blending and the grapes.
Taken with soda water or seltzer, it constituted the most hygienic of beverages summer. (Thanks Google Translate!)
We were served cognac with tonic as a pre dinner cocktail during our stay, and it was surprisingly good. I recommend you try it. Ginger ale is supposed to be a good mixer too, although I haven't tried it yet.
I must admit that cognac in general is a bit too strong for my taste. But I found out what kind of cognac I do like. We were lucky enough to taste some ca 80 years old grand champagne cognac which was absolutely superb! (Read about the indications of age and vintages here.)
To the right you see Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark's signature in the guest book.
Richard Braastad, master blender
The master blender is responsible for the blending of the different products within a House of Cognac. As well as creating new cognac blends, the Master Blender aims to achieve the exact same bouquet and sensory experience in each bottle of a certain product. But, as no grape harvest is equal and no oak cask exactly the same, this is easier said than done. Master Blender Richard has about 13.000 casks of cognac from different crus and of different ages to keep track of and to choose from when seeking perfection in his products.
Text from Braastad.com.
Braastad Organic was launched in early September and is available in Norway at Vinmonopolets bestillingsutvalg (here). Richard's own My Selection was also launched then.