Our upright casks
We go to extraordinary lengths to ensure our cognac is matured in the best possible conditions. That's why we championed a unique kind of storage for some of our younger casks, maturing them vertically rather than laying them on their sides. This upright position greatly improves the regularity of our cognacs' movement within the cask and subsequently its extraction of flavour from the oak, leading to a more aromatic and balanced final cognac.
The angel's share
During maturation in the porous oak casks, our eaux-de-vie slowly evaporates through the fine grain of the wood and into the air around it, leaving its mark on the walls of the warehouses as it passes through. This natural process is poetically referred to as the angel's share. Around 3% of our ageing cognac disappears from each cask in this way every year, a high price but one we're happy to pay in our quest for perfection. At Courvoisier, the angels enjoy the equivalent of over 150,000 cases, or 1.8 million bottles every year.
Our Master Blender
It's the job of Patrice Pinet, our expert Master Blender and only the sixth in our 200 year history, to ensure consistency year after year, a near impossible task considering each season brings different vintages, different wines and different cognac characteristics. He has about 100,000 casks, the equivalent of about 40 million bottles, of aged cognac to choose from, so creating a harmonious blend is a true lifetime's work of passion and artistry.
Distilling on the lees
The cooperage is where our coopers painstakingly handcraft the casks to our own exacting specifications to ensure they're in the best possible condition to house our eaux-de-vie throughout their long ageing journey. Our coopers transform about 5,000 oak trees a year into casks for our Courvoisier cognac.
Many things can influence and affect the maturation of our cognac, from the age of the cask and the way it's stored to a warehouse's earth floor and its proximity to the Charente river. Our skilled and hugely experienced warehousemen carefully monitor all our ageing cognac so they can constantly fine tune and shape the ageing liquid to make sure it matures absolutely perfectly.
Cognac is a living, breathing product. Over the years, our eaux-de-vie is in permanent contact with the oak casks, a natural interaction that gives our cognac its rich colour and exquisitely complex bouquet. To be legally called cognac, our eaux-de-vie must be aged for a minimum of two and a half years, but as each additional year increases its richness, the youngest eaux-de-vie we use is between four and seven years old for our Courvoisier VS.