Cognac is an AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée: "Controlled Designation of Origin"), which means that its name is legally protected and only a Cognac distillery in France can produce it. By Cognac distillery we mean a maison Cognac (“Cognac house”) where the dry white wine is made, distilled twice, aged and expertly blended by a cellar master, as per the appellation’s rules.
No visit to a Cognac distillery is like another: some of them offer original Cognac blending workshops during a tour of their cellars, whereas others include a boat ride across the river or a visit to King Francois I’s castle. One thing is for sure: they all make for an unforgettable experience as they finish off with a spectacular tasting of some of the best Cognacs in the world.
Exclusive tours grant access to the most coveted room in any Cognac distillery, le Paradis. This aptly-named “paradise” is the finest section of their cellars: it is where the cognac houses store their oldest and most precious wines, which rest in barrels slowly maturing.
A small Cognac distillery might surprise you with the excellent quality of its tours -a true personal and intimate experience- and brandies, so make sure you include one or two on your list in addition to the “big names” maisons you will most definitely want to visit too.