A Taste Of France in the Heart of Cognac

A few weeks ago my friend Xenia posted a link about a tasting experience for Remy Martin and I was immediately intrigued. Being that it was D's birthday month and I'm all about prolonging the celebration I quickly hopped over to see what it was all about. Initially, I was a little bummed at seeing their were only weekdays available for what sounded like an interesting experience, but then I remembered we're grown ups and it's his birthday so the party don't stop.
My husband and his friends are somewhat connoisseurs of cognac so I reached out to his best friend and his wife to see if they were available to go out on a school night as well. As luck would have it, they were and I was super excited to have yet another fun experience with my man. Making time out for dates is very important to us and I was happy to have another couple to share the evening with as we all enjoy each other's company and the boys have been friends for so long they've pretty much created their own language so it was guaranteed to be a good time.

I looked up the #HeartofCognac hashtag prior to going to get a feel for what was in store but the photos were a little all over the place and I couldn't quite get a read on it. When we arrived (albeit late) , we checked in and were given drink tokens as we were led into a cocktail reception. We wasted no time heading to the bar to try one of the evening's signature drinks.

 I'm not much of a cognac drinker but am always down to try so I had the V.S.O.P + Ginger (because I do like ginger ale) I kind of wished I'd been able to try the Royal Sidecar as well as that sounded yummy.  Naturally we hopped in the photo booth before it was time to head back and see what was behind door #1.

We were offered a tasting of the V.S.O.P , encouraged to take a sip and leave the rest for later as we were led into what looked like a sterile tasting room. The first portion of the experience was a full blown lab quality tasting set up. There were beakers, measuring tubes and glasses for tasting. Our assignment: using the aged selections before us try to recreate the V.S.O.P we had before us. Ryan, our Remy Martin brand ambassador explained to us the process in creating the precise V.S.O.P blend and gave us a hint as to which vial might be used the most but left it up to us to determine the exact amounts.  Of course hilarity ensued as we erroneously created our own versions as our proportions were WAY off on the first try and subsequently felt like we swallowed fire when tasting.

We then moved on to the next room where we learned more about the "Heart of Cognac" and what the term meant and then finally on to the final room set up to resemble the barrel rooms where the cognac is stored and aged. It was there we tasted the X.O. and were able to see how they actually extract the cognac from the barrels. Did you know that the first Remy Martin Grande Champagne was created on the road to the heart of Cognac in 1830? And in this instance, Champgane is referred to the type of soil needed for the grapes to thrive in to create these Remy Martin blends. Yes, Cognac is made from grapes! Who knew? Petite & Grande, the two best growth areas of the Cognac region of France, are the sole areas where grapes are derived in order to create 100% Remy Martin’s cognacs. The grapes are harvested then fermented for approximately 5-7 days  to create a 7-9% white wine and then distilled. When makeing the eaux-de-vie (waters of life) classical methods are still used which is what gives the Remy Martin Cognac it's smell and flavor. The eaux-de-vie is then transported in large oak barrels to age. The barrels contribute to the vanilla like flavor in some of the cognacs and Remy Martin ages their eaux-de-vie longer than required by law to contribute to their distinct taste, smell and quality of their products. The group who got the correct measurements was allowed to extract some of the cognac directly from the barrel and we were all given at taste. Pretty sure my husband's eyes rolled into his head as soon as the sweet nectar hit his lips. And even I had to admit it was pretty smooth and there was no 'after burn' as I've previously experienced.

We had such a fun evening, learning and tasting and I now have a new appreciation and understanding of cognac. My husband enjoyed his experience as did our friends and we're pseudo planning a trip to France to have a tour of the facility ourselves so we were thankful to be able to spend some time chatting post event with Ryan about some of the tours that take place at the Remy Martin facility in Cognac, France before we had to go relieve our babysitters. I loved sharing that experience with D and our friends and it definitely made the week go by much faster!

Are you a cognac drinker? Have you ever been to an experience like this?


  1. Even though I'm not a huge fan of cognac .I would love to attend an event like this.


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