Rum Renaissance

Miami Rum Renaissance Festival
May 5-9, 2010
A Global Gathering At The Raleigh South Beach Resort

May 5-9, 2010

Join us for a discovery of the world’s best rums.

Rum is experiencing a Renaissance around the world as savvy consumers discover the incredible flavors of fine rums from every Caribbean island and every region of the Americas.

Miami is uniquely positioned to host this unique international festival — a celebration of cane spirits in the new world.
Mark your calendars now for one of the premier international rum events in May as Miami Rum Renaissance Festival presents a unique and exciting celebration of the finest rums in the world, featuring a slew of great VIP parties, an exhibition of ourstanding cane spirits, seminars and workshops, an opportunity to rub shoulders with dignitaries and notable experts, plus a special series of beach and pool party events celebrating island cultures with live music, great food and an amazing array of tropical libations.
The Raleigh South Beach Resort
Our Grand Tasting event is held at the world famous Raleigh South Beach Resort with a fabulous pool and private beach, directly on the ocean. You’ll find the Raleigh chic, yet warm and inviting; glamorous, yet without attitude; historically iconic, yet tastefully modernized. Here is a legendary and world-renowned art deco hotel that lives up to its copious accolades. Special Rum Renaissance room rates start at $250.

The Grand Tasting Event May 8
The Grand Rum Tasting Exhibition on Saturday, May 8 will include a plethora of fine rums from the Caribbean and beyond, presented in the context of a luxurious, tropical setting of the Raleigh South Beach Resort. Sample the finest rums from each island, from each category and from each notable brand.

The Celebrity Seminars
Seminars and lectures will be presented by a veritable who’s who list of experts from the rum manufacturing, distilling and blending world, as well as luminaries of the cocktail mixologists universe, offering insightful programs to consumers and members of the trade.

The VIP Parties May 5-9
Be there for these very special rum-themed events, hosted by the best rum companies in the world and great locations around Miami, featuring fine rums, great food, music and island culture.

The Rum Tasting Competition
Rum Renaissance is host to the International Rum Expert Panel (RumXP) tasting competition, where more than one hundred rums from around the world will be judged by an all-star international cast of distillers, mixologists and spirits journalists gathered in Miami Beach.

The International Tiki Face-Off Competition
From around the world and from down the street, some of the world’s best tiki mixologists will duel for bragging rights to the best international tiki team title with a series of challenges, culminating in a big finale at the Grand Tasting Event.

The Tropical Libations
The world’s finest bartenders and mixologists will be in attendance, producing exotic libations with world-class rums to delight and amaze rum enthusiasts.

The Big Bang Beach And Pool Party
On Sunday, May 9, we’ll all gather around the pool at the Raleigh South Beach Resort from noon to 5pm to enjoy the sun and fun. Chill out, decompress, mingle with rum experts and enthusiasts from around the world and enjoy living the great rum lifestyle on the beach.

Make plans now to experience Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, May 5-9, 2010.

For more information, contact:

Robert or Robin Burr
p: 305-443-7973
f: 305-447-0745

Barbancourt Alive!

Haitian rummaker rebuilds business after quake

Published on Saturday, March 27, 2010

By Pascal Fletcher

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) — At Haiti’s famous Barbancourt rum factory [1], patches of grass and shrubs around the warehouses are burned black from where the aging golden liquor spilled from oak casks split by the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Toppled caskets of rum (AFP photo)
Hundreds of liters (gallons) of premier rum, some aged up to 15 years, seeped into the parched soil from the toppled casks, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of potential export revenue for the Caribbean country’s oldest manufacturer evaporated into the humid tropical air.

“We never expected an earthquake,” said Thierry Gardere, Director General of the Societe du Rhum Barbancourt, which produces what it probably Haiti’s best-known export.

“We’d thought about floods, hurricanes, but nothing of this magnitude,” added Gardere, who estimated his total losses from the catastrophic quake, between damaged equipment and lost rum stocks, at $4 million (£2.6 million).

Now Gardere, the fourth generation of Haiti’s rum making family, is painstakingly trying to rebuild his export business back to its previous pre-quake level.

Barbancourt’s rum sales had doubled over the last five years to 3 million liters a year, carving out a niche brand name in the international liquor industry, with sales to the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Gardere expected that with the losses to his aged stocks, sales this year would fall to around 2.5 million liters and it would take four to five years to fully rebuild the reserve.

“Unfortunately, we are not able to bottle at the moment, and we have to put our aging rooms back in order,” said Gardere, standing among factory workers who were hammering and sawing to repair oak casks felled and splintered by the quake.

Other workers piped fresh batches of light-gold sugar cane alcohol into intact casks and the company was repairing pipes connecting the aging rooms and the bottling unit.

Gardere said that the factory, fed by sugar cane fields where this year’s harvest was already underway, was producing rum again, and he hoped that bottling for a fresh round of exports could restart within the month. A few weeks after the quake, which damaged Haiti’s main port, the company was able to fulfill some pending orders with already bottled stocks.

Fortunately, the factory’s sugar cane milling equipment and the distillery suffered little damage.

But at least two Barbancourt workers were killed and around 100, out of a total workforce of 250, were left homeless by the Jan. 12 quake, which Haiti’s government believes may have have killed up to 300,000 people in total.

The homeless employees were living at a temporary camp set up on the company soccer field. “We’re trying to help,” said Gardere, adding they were being supplied with water every day, and had been given tents.

Haiti’s already impoverished economy suffered a hammer blow from the earthquake, and a government report says the private sector absorbed 70 percent of the total damage and losses.

Estimates for the total national economic loss vary from close to $8 billion to $14 billion. Haiti’s government has put its overall recovery and reconstruction needs at $11.5 billion, ahead of a March 31 donors’ conference in New York.

Gardere said that one unforeseen byproduct of the earthquake was that it gave unprecedented publicity to Haiti and also to Haitian products like Barbancourt rum, which, coupled with the reduced stock, had boosted its market value.

“It could be good for the image … like a rare product,” Gardere said. But he was wary of complacency, saying that tight supplies after the quake allowed rums from the neighboring Dominican Republic to encroach on the local Haitian market.

Too long an absence from the international market could threaten the Haitian rum brand’s position there. “We’ll be giving priority to the export sector because if we’re out too long, it could be difficult to get back,” Gardere said.

Founded by French spirits maker Dupre Barbancourt in 1862, the company makes its rum from sugar cane juice through a similar double-distillation method as used for cognac making.

This makes it richer and heavier than many other Caribbean rums, said Gardere. The liquor is aged in special Limousin oak barrels supplied by French company Seguin Moreau. [2]

Gardere, whose own home was destroyed in the Jan. 12 quake, says he is looking at ways to protect his aging rooms, filled with racks of rum-filled oak casks, from future earthquakes.

“I need to look at California and Chile, to see how they are protecting their wines,” he said.

Rum Wars in Washington

Rum battle heats up over U.S. subsidies
By Jay Heflin – 03/22/10 09:00 AM ET

The lobbying fight over Caribbean rum subsidies is about to intensify as the National Puerto Rican Coalition is ready to lead six states in boycotting rum producer Diageo.

Organizations in Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey are expected to shun Diageo-made products, such as Johnny Walker, Baileys, Capitan Morgan and Jose Cuervo, until Congress approves legislation that essentially stops Diageo from moving to the Virgin Islands.

The National Puerto Rican Coalition is objecting to the rum producer’s plans to move operations from Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands, a deal worth millions in tax subsidies that would endanger Puerto Rico’s rum industry.

“We’re going to talk to everyone and do an educational campaign from the community side … to let the population know which member of Congress is being supportive of this [bill],” coalition president and CEO Rafael Fantauzzi told The Hill.

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have bumped heads over this issue before. Tempers flared recently when Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) offered an amendment to jobs legislation that benefited Puerto Rico and rum producers such as Bacardi at the expense of the U.S. Virgin Islands and a rival rum maker.

Both islands receive subsidies from the United States based on excise taxes paid by rum producers. Payouts are based on where the liquor is produced, and often benefit the rum producers themselves.

To stop the subsidy transfer, Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D) will reintroduce legislation capping subsidy payments to companies at 10 percent of the total excise tax received by the territory. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is expected to introduce similar legislation, Fantauzzi said.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. John deJongh blasted the bill as nothing more than an instrument to keep Diageo from moving to his island. He also questions why Congress has been injected into the situation.

“When a company leaves Washington state and goes to Illinois, the governments of both states are not asked to come down to Congress,” he told The Hill, adding, “Why all the sudden is Puerto Rico now trying to get Congress involved?”

LeMieux’s measure was especially vexing to deJongh since it would base subsidy payments on population, a change that would give Puerto Rico a greater payout since roughly 4 million people live on that island, as opposed to the 100,000 who live on the Virgin Islands. The proposal was not added to the bill.

“It was clearly a money grab,” deJongh said.

DeJongh plans to meet with tax writers in the coming weeks to blocks such efforts from becoming law. He argues bonds that rely on the excise tax could default under these proposals.

“We’ve got gaps that we have to fill in and the only way we can fill it in is by local tax and revenue bonds,” he said.

Revenue bonds will help build a water treatment plant on the island, which will go unfunded if the Diageo deal falls through, sources said.

Fantauzzi has already met with lawmakers and is gaining traction in winning their support.

Hispanic Caucus leader Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) believes Diageo is moving simply because of the subsidy it will receive.

“There is a fundamental feeling among the Hispanic Caucus that it is blatantly unfair to Puerto Rico,” he told The Hill. “It puts them at a horrible disadvantage [for the Virgin Islands] to be able to use that subsidy to give back to the company.”

Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart, both Florida Republicans, are equally concerned that the subsidy could be abused if Diageo moves to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“I know there is a lot of concern that it can be greatly abused,” Mario Diaz-Balart told The Hill. “I think that we should look at it.”

Don Q fends of Cap’n Morgan with promo

DonQ Rum in Deal with Universal to Expand in US

Mar 23, 2010 6:05 AM, Patricia Odell for PROMO Xtra
A partnership with Universal Studios will help DonQ Rum gain ground in the U.S.

A partnership with Universal Studios will help DonQ Rum gain ground in the U.S.

DonQ’s, Puerto Rico’s leading rum, has gone Hollywood in a partnership to become the “official rum” of Universal Pictures. The brand plans to expand its presence in the U.S. through the power of Universal’s films and marketing expertise.

The deal marks the first time Universal has formed a corporate alliance with a spirits company that will include product placement and co-promotion on Universal films in the spirits category.

The DonQ brand will be integrated into film premieres and events and the two entities will develop joint retail programs and marketing programs across social and online media platforms.

“By integrating our brand into Universal’s top releases, we will be able to target consumers at a very important touch point – entertainment,” DonQ’s vice president of sales, John Eason, said in a release. ” Tapping into the coveted movie-going audience via our joint marketing efforts will further help DonQ generate awareness and bring Puerto Rico’s preferred premium rum to new emerging consumer audiences.”

Universal Partnerships & Licensing brokered the deal.

Serrallés USA, based in Dallas, TX, imports DonQ Cristal, DonQ Gold, DonQ Añejo, DonQ Gran Añejo and DonQ Limón, DonQ Coco, and DonQ Mojito.

Nepal and Panama ace out at Tampa

For Immediate Release Media contact:
March 22, 2010 Dori Bryant
(727) 947-3522

5th Annual Polished Palate International Rum Competition
Fifth Annual Polished Palate International Rum Competition Awards Announced

TAMPA, Fla. (March 22, 2010) – The results are in. The competition, held on March 18-19 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Ybor City, was hosted by Jack Robertiello/Drinks Ink, along with judges Arturo Sighinolfi/SWS, Luis Ayala/Rum Shop, Stephen Beaumont/World of Beer, Harriet Lembeck/Wine & Spirits Educator, Ben Montgomery/St. Petersburg Times and Anthony Nasso/Republic National Distributing Company. Judges evaluated 42 rums based-upon five criteria: appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel & finish.

Judges sampled the spirits before selecting possible Best of Show, Best of Category, Gold, Silver and Bronze level award winners. A Best of Show is not always awarded. For a brand to receive this acknowledgement, each judge has to rate the spirit with a score of 90+. 21 years in the making, Master Distiller Francisco ‘Pancho’ Fernandez has done it again; he’s created a masterpiece. Zafra Master Reserve 21 Rum from Panama received the 2010 Best of Show award.

This year’s competition featured 7 categories including White Rum, Gold Rum, Dark Rum, Rum Aged up to 8 Years, Rum Aged 9-15 Years, Rum Aged 15+ Years and Flavored Rum. Of special note, one particular rum has entered the competition all five years, Khukri Rum from Nepal, and earned their 5th consecutive Gold Medal as well as their 2nd Best of Category Award.

Dori Bryant, President of the Polished Palate said, “It is obvious that Rum’s star has already risen. The qualtiy of new products entering the market, including those from Panama, Venezuela, Florida and Hawaii, bodes well for the industry”.

Congratulations to all of 2010 winners.

5th Annual Rum Competition Results:
(Bold denotes Best of Category. Note: Not all categories received a Best of Category award in 2010):

White Rum
Gold: Don Q Cristal/Puerto Rico
Diplomatico Blanco/Dominican Republic
Silver: Siesta Key Rum/Florida
Ron Barcelo Gran Platinum/Dominican Republic
Bronze: Carta Viejo Claro/Panama
Koloa White Hawaiian Rum/Hawaii

Gold Rum
Silver: Bacardi Gold/Puerto Rico
Koloa Gold Hawaiian Rum/Hawaii
Bronze: Don Q Gold/Puerto Rico
Old Lahaina Premium Gold Hawaiian Rum/Hawaii

Dark Rum
Gold: Khukri Rum (Nepal)
One Barrel Rum/Belize
Silver: Koloa Dark Hawaiian Rum/Hawaii
Carta Vieja Anejo/Panama
Bronze: Old Lahaina Premium Dark Rum/Hawaii

Rum Aged Up To 8 Years
Gold: Ron Abuelo 7 Anos/Panama
Bacardi 8/Puerto Rico
Ron Abuelo Anejo/Panama
Ron Medellin 8 Year Old/Colombia
Silver: Ron Barcelo Imperial/Dominican Republic
Plantation Barbados 5 Year Grande Reserve/Barbados
Ron Medellin 3 Year Old/Colombia
Ron Viejo de Caldas 3 Year Old/Colombia
Ron Viejo de Caldas Grand Reserve/Colombia
Bronze: Don Q Anejo/Puerto Rico
Ron Carupano Oro Reserva Especial/Venezuela

Rum Aged 9-15 Years
Gold: Ron Abuelo 12 Anos/Panama
Don Q Grand Anejo/Puerto Rico
Ron Carupano Solera Centenaria Reserva Limitada/Venezuela
Silver: Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva/Venezuela
Plantation 20th Anniversary/Barbados
Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Cuban Style Rum/Dominican Republic

Rum Aged 15+ Years
Gold: Zafra Master Reserve 21 Rum/Panama BEST IN SHOW
Ron Anejo Carupano Legendario/Venezuela
Silver: Bacardi Reserva Limitada/Puerto Rico
Ron Millonario Solera 15 Reserva Especial/Peru

Flavored Rum
Silver: Don Q Coco/Puerto Rico
Don Q Limon/Puerto Rico
Bronze: Aguardiente Antioqueno Sin Azucar/Colombia

About The Polished Palate
Since 2005, the Polished Palate has been hosting spirits competitions and cutting edge Tasting Events, educating the consumer on all aspects of each distilled spirit category. Through events and seminars hosted by recognized industry professionals, guests learn about the history & culture of each spirit, their impact on society, current trends and appropriate tasting techniques, while promoting responsible consumption—all in a festive format. ###

Tampa, Vth Polished Palate International Rum Competition

As the rum controversy heats up between Puerto Rico & the USVI (Modern Distillery Age, March 9) rum is about to make more headlines. The 5th Annual Polished Palate International Rum Competition takes place this week in Tampa’s Ybor City at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Hosted by Jack Robertiello/Drinks Ink, judges Arturo Sighinolfi/SWS, Luis Ayala/Rum Shop, Stephen Beaumont/World of Beer, Ian Williams/Author & Rum Pundit, Harriet Lembeck/Wine & Spirits Educator, Ben Montgomery/St. Petersburg Times and Anthony Nasso/Republic National Distributing Company will be evaluating dozens of rums based-upon five criteria: appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel & finish. While all criteria are important in establishing a rum’s signature profile, aroma and flavor rank highest in scoring, and, of course, mean the most to rum lovers.

‘Nosing’ a spirit is a science—and there are specific techniques employed to ascertain scores. Lorena Vasquez, Master Distiller of the highly regarded Ron Zacapa rums, approaches the glass first within a breadth of the front rim, then moves her nose to the middle of the glass and finally against the far rim. Trying this for the first time is an eye-opener as each ‘nosing area’ offers subtleties one might anticipate during the tasting process (top note, mid-palate and finish). A simultaneous technique is to quickly inhale through both the nose and the mouth. The result leaves a foreshadow of the taste of what’s in the glass.

Spirits are always tasted ‘neat’, and, they’re tasted repeatedly throughout each session. For example, once air enters a glass, the essence of the rum begins to open up and, the longer it sits, other nuances will come to light. Some tasters put a dash of water (optional) which dampens the alcohol and brings up the flavor.

Results of the 2010 competition will be posted next week


Island Hopping with Rum

Amendment favors Puerto Rico in fight over rum excise tax

By Jay Heflin – 03/08/10 07:19 PM ET

A lobbying fight over Caribbean rum subsidies could come to a head this week if Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) offers an amendment to jobs legislation that benefits Puerto Rico and rum producers like Bacardi at the expense of the U.S. Virgin Islands and a rival rum maker.

The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico receive subsidies from the United States based on excise taxes paid by rum producers. Payouts are based on where the liquor is produced, and often benefit the companies themselves.

But LeMieux wants to base the payments on population, a change that would give Puerto Rico a greater share of the subsidy and potentially derail efforts by the Virgin Islands to attract a Bacardi competitor to relocate there.

Roughly 4 million people live in Puerto Rico, versus the 100,000 who live on the Virgin Islands. More than 90 percent of the $500 million in annual payments would go to Puerto Rico if the LeMieux amendment is successful. The split now is closer to 80-20. The Virgin Islands’ share would increase under the current subsidy payment system, however, as more distillers move there.

An aide to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that it was not certain the LeMieux amendment would get a vote.

The National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC), a lobbying organization that has urged lawmakers to block the British multinational company Diageo from moving from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands, praised the proposed change.

“By basing distribution on population instead of production, Sen. LeMieux’s amendment ensures that the money is distributed in an even-handed way to those who need it most,” NPRC Chairman Miguel Lausell said in the statement.

Lobbyists for the Virgin Islands contend the amendment isn’t about equity but about stopping Diageo from relocating there.

Bonds that rely on the excise-tax subsidy and other financing could default under the senator’s proposal.

“Sen. LeMieux’s plan could cause us to default on hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds, which would stop progress on infrastructure projects and environmental improvements, and would force the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands to the brink of receivership,” said Virgin Islands Gov. John deJongh Jr.Roughly $1 billion in bonds hang in the balance, according to sources close to the matter.

The NPRC argues that Diageo, which produces Captain Morgan Rum, and another distiller, Cruzan, would benefit because the Virgin Islands is offering them a piece of the subsidy.

Under LeMieux’s proposal, Puerto Rico’s share of the subsidy jumps from its current 80 percent to 97.

“[The] amendment looks like it was developed alongside Puerto Rican lobbyists,” deJongh said in prepared remarks.

LeMieux’s office did not respond to inquiries about the amendment.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) looks to advance from his chamber as early as Tuesday legislation costing $140 billion that extends several expired tax breaks. The measure, open to amendment, is an obvious vehicle for LeMieux’s proposal.


The Cap’n walks the plank, not the parade.

Captain Morgan booted from NYC Puerto Rican parade

(AP) – 15 hours ago

NEW YORK — Captain Morgan rum is no longer welcome as a sponsor of the National Puerto Rican Day parade in New York City.

Parade organizers say they’ve ended their relationship with the rum maker and U.K.-based parent company Diageo (dee-AH’-gee-oh) PLC over plans to move production of Captain Morgan out of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory in the Caribbean.

Parade chairwoman Madelyn Lugo on Sunday said the parade is about “pride and respect” and Captain Morgan has shown neither.

Diageo’s other brands include Johnnie Walker and Jose Cuervo. The liquor company has a deal to build a Captain Morgan distillery in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a share in an obscure tax on rum sales.

It hasn’t responded to an e-mailed request for comment about the parade decision.

This year’s parade is scheduled for June 13.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Rare Cask – Rare Price

On the Rocks
by Ian Williams Mar 05 2010

As part of its push to introduce American sippers to a wider range of high-end cognacs, Rémy Martin is selling a “rare cask” of the brown liquor for a mere $15,000 a bottle.
Sample Sale Sample Sale

Premium brown spirits, whiskies, malts made from grain, and rums from sugar have been surging in the U.S. despite the economic crisis, but brandies, cognacs, and armagnacs made from grapes have not kept pace. Somehow, the taste was lost during Prohibition and never properly recovered. People an scarcely pay a higher price than the $15,000 for each 750ml bottle that Rémy Martin is asking for its limited edition of Louis XIII “Rare Cask.”

Grey Goose comes from France, but Rémy Martin is French with all the style and finish that that implies. Hence the staging, tastefulness, and munificence of the famous cognac maker’s launch of their latest sacrifice on the altar of conspicuous and exclusive consumption. There will only be 30 bottles for sale in the US.

Of course, the 30 bottles are simply the Archangel’s share of the potential market. The aim is to introduce discerning American sippers to the wider range of fine cognacs, to create a sophisticated customer base to match the other brown spirits. Now is the time, and if people are paying a premium for premium spirits, then they can scarcely pay a higher one than $15,000 a bottle, but Rémy makes many other fine and palatable bottles that will soothe the cares of the economic crisis more economically.

But with the Rare Cask, what a bottle! Before going into the craftsmanship inside, the black crystal Baccarat decanter is a work of art in its own right, and in the coarse eBay phrase “a collectible.” If you bought a bottle and drained it, it would be sacrilegious to throw it out for recycling with the other empties.

A few crashes and 15 or so years ago, MacAllan launched its 53-year-old bottle of Scotch on a thirsty world of malt enthusiasts for a mere $2,500. At the time, that was enough for any self-respecting Scot to cross his legs and not go to the bathroom for a day or so after taking a nip in case the precious fluid was wasted. The canny Caledonians restricted tasting to a splash with a syringe on the tongue.

But the French add joie de vivre to their eau-de-vie. At the Astor Center launch of the Louis XIII, they offered a statistically significant sample—a good half ounce, a $300 pour—of the product, and to make sure that the assembled tasters knew what to look for, Remy’s “cellar master” Pierrette Trichet, (they could hardly call her a cellar mistress one supposes) showed how a cognac grows up with the original unaged eau-de-vie, distilled from fine champagne grapes, on to a 7- to 10-year-old, and then up the value chain through 20 to 25, 40 to 45, and 70-year-olds before exposing the now highly sensitized palates to the Rare Cask.

Mme Trichet discovered a cask that she felt deserved bottling unblended, and the bottles are rationed for different continents. It would be difficult to beat her purple prose, which describes how “First, a formidable bouquet of wild mushrooms presents itself. Then, a hint of lifted underwood notes arise that evoke to the senses a bountiful autumnal forest. These are followed by a sparkling display of full, spicy tones that come from 100 years of aging in Limousin oak barrels. Lastly, gingerbread, wax, nuts, and fresh mint notes reveal themselves.”

Frankly, I would have to have been eating magic mushrooms to pay that much for any bottle, but one can appreciate cognac without reaching such heights. Surprising for other brown-spirits drinkers is how the aging process avoids the oak and tannin flavors that sometimes make overaged spirits almost undrinkable. Spirits writer Jonathan Forester pointed out with delight that the cognacs on offer were almost reincarnated, and that as they get older reveal some of the delicate fruity aromas of their infancy, going back to the beginning again.

It is difficult to think of a business model acceptable to Wall Street whose idea of inventory is stocking up product over a century—but many a bonus-laden banker will find the product acceptable at least.