Think about luxury. Now think about a drink. Chances are you’ll be thinking about Cognac. You may picture yourself sitting peacefully in a leather armchair, your hand cradling a large glass containing a liquid deep and rich in colour. You may see yourself partying at a club, with a premium cocktail made with Cognac in a tall glass garnished with fresh orange.
However you enjoy your fine spirits is your choice and thankfully we have a Cognac house that has made it easy for you to enjoy this historic spirit in the perfect way, with the Bisquit Cognac perfect serve.
While Cognac and Brandy have a long history in South Africa, Bisquit is relatively new to the South African market, having arrived in 2010 with Distell purchasing the company. Grant Hendricks, the Brand Manager of Bisquit in South Africa, mentioned that the brand has grown to second spot in a highly competitive market.
I had the pleasure of spending a couple of evenings with Denis Lahouratate, the cellar master of the House of Bisquit. Time is vital in the world of Cognac, as the spirit draws flavour and colour from the oak casks. It is also important to spend time with the drink and the person who makes it, to understand the thought process behind the spirit. Over an exceptional dinner at Nobu at the One & Only in Cape Town and then at a glittering media launch high up in the city centre, Denis explained his goals.
Denis is passionate about preserving Bisquit’s proud heritage that can be traced back to 1692. He is the gatekeeper of this distillery and ensures that the reputation for producing delicious spirits remains for the next generation. Maintaining and improving the quality of the spirit is Denis’ driving passion. History is important, and so is an understanding of the changing market for cognac. There is a worldwide move among younger drinkers to enjoy cognac, previously the preserve of the older generation. Expressions available in South Africa are the VS, great on its own or in a cocktail; the older VSOP (my favourite), perfect neat or with a splash of water; and the XO, displaying a complexity only seen in very mature drinks.
The Cape Town leg of the media launch took place on top of the Media 24 building , with wraparound views of the city. You can see the photos here. The Perfect Serve was the eagerly anticipated and the white-gloved waiters carefully guiding the cognac over an ice cube into the cognac glass did justice to the concept. Mathew Gold provided excellent music and the evening ended with a nice touch in the goodie bag – a hand-crafted luxury leather tablet cover from Wolf and Maiden.
Here is the media release:
Bisquit Cognac introduces The Perfect Serve
Denis Lahouratate, the Maitre de Chai (Cellar Master) for Bisquit Cognac has revealed the newest introduction to the brand’s repertoire – the Perfect Serve.
The tradition of consuming cognac with many ice cubes or swirling it in the palm of a warm hand does not bring out the best in the cognac for ultimate enjoyment.
The House of Bisquit Cognac has developed a special serving ritual that demonstrates the best way to enjoy cognac. The most crucial element of the ritual is the temperature at which the cognac is consumed. In order to ensure the perfect temperature, the Cuillère de Richesse (Spoon of Richness) is employed. The design of the spoon includes a small stainless steel plate upon which an ice cube is placed before cognac is poured gently over it.
The temperature at which cognac is served is important for two main reasons: “Warming cognac is not appropriate as increasing the temperature of the cognac makes the lighter aromas more volatile – they evaporate too quickly, leaving you with an unbalanced glass of cognac. Another consequence of warming cognac is that when the alcohol is warm, it has an aggressive taste – when it is served at the correct temperature, the alcohol is less aggressive, smoother and rounder.” commented Lahouratate.
The Bisquit Cognac Perfect Serve ritual is simple, yet sophisticated:
Step 1: Place the Cuillère de Richesse over the cognac glass.
Step 2: Gently place one ice cube onto the stainless steel plate.
Step 3: Slowly pour a serving of Bisquit V.S.O.P over the ice cube. The Cuillère de Richesse will guide the cognac into the glass through the opening in the spoon.
Step 4: Enjoy your cognac at the perfect temperature!
When using the Perfect Serve, it reduces the amount of time that the cognac is in contact with the ice cube, quickly reducing the temperature but avoiding the dilution of the cognac.
“We are not dictating how everyone should enjoy their cognac, it is after all a matter of personal taste. However, should you wish to become a true Bisquit Cognac connoisseur, our style of cognacs is best suited to our Perfect Serve ritual which brings the cognac to the optimal temperature for maximum enjoyment.” concluded Lahouratate.
The Bisquit Cognac Perfect Serve Kit consists of the Cuillère de Richesse, a bottle of Bisquit V.S.O.P, pair of tongs, four cognac glasses, a pouring spout and a porcelain dish for ice. This kit will not be available for sale to the public but can be enjoyed in selected outlets upon request in the near future. Keep your eyes on the Bisquit Cognac Facebook page for more information.
Media info via Dominique and Lindo of Hello Conversations