The House of Rémy Martin was founded in 1724, Hine in 1763, and Maison Hennessy in 1795. But “the guardian of Cognac” remains relatively unknown.
Founded in 1762, Delamain is one of the oldest family-run cognac houses. Its USP is reducing cask strengths to 40% with “fables” – low-strength cognacs – rather than water. The house uses grapes grown in the Grande Champagne, ignoring mass-market VS (two-year) and VSOP (four-year) cognacs to focus on its prestigious XO.
The House of Delamain’s Pale & Dry Centenaire – a blend of Eaux-de vie made from fruit mostly grown in the Grande Champagne village of Bellevigne – celebrates the house’s hundredth birthday. Aged in oak casks, small amounts of ‘weak spirit’ are added. This traditional method has been used to adjust its distillates to the desired strength.
Cognac’s guardians have Irish roots. James Delamain arrived in Jarnac, France from Ireland in 1759. His grandson, Henri, founded the firm. Since then, its owners have been botanists, writers, historians, ornithologists, humanists, and archaeologists. But, above all Cognac lovers.
Says Charles Braastad, managing director at Delamain. ‘Pale & Dry’ has, for more than my entire life and beyond, defined who we are at Delamain and what we aspire to be. Change is not something that we approach casually at Delamain, but nor is complacency. As we delved into the what and why of Pale & Dry we re-acquainted ourselves with the fundamental principles of who we are as a house.
“Centenaire is both a tribute to and an evolution of Pale & Dry and the ethos bequeathed to our team by Jacques and Robert Delamain. It embodies the past, our present, and our future and we are proud not only to be sharing generations of my family wisdom but to be writing this new chapter in the history of our iconic cognac.”
The Whisky Exchange offers a 1980 Plentitude 40YO Pleiade for £570, 1914 ( bottled in the1960s) for £2500, and 1893 for £3750.
The house has recently produced a very exclusive cognac for the London-based private members’ club 67 Pall Mall.
Delamain Cognac – The 67 Edition is an old Grande Champagne cognac blended by cellar master Dominique Touteau and chosen by the club’s founder and CEO Grant Ashton.
To make The 67 Edition, Dominique used 67 Pall Mall’s 1967 vintage in the blend along with some of 67’s old Grande Champagne cognacs.
Of the release, Dominique said: “I immensely enjoyed the journey of marrying 1967 with the elegance and finesse of selected old Grande Champagne cognacs; these cognacs chosen both to showcase the jewel and because they could themselves be enriched by the remarkable maturity of 1967.”
Tasting notes supplied by 67 Pall Mall say that the cognac has aromas of pear, fresh fig, brioche, and raisins, with a rich palate of fig jam and autumnal notes on the finish. It is available to purchase in a 70cl bottle, 150cl magnum, or 300cl double magnum. Based in London’s historic St James’s, 67 Pall Mall is home to an extensive and exclusive wine list with just under 5,000 wines representing 42 countries, including 800 available by the glass. A second club is due to open in Singapore later this year.