Maison Bache-Gabrielsen Reconnects With Its Roots And Launches The First Aquavit Produced In Cognac!

packshot aquavit

With the DistillationS by Bache-Gabrielsen range, the cognac house seeks to reveal different spirits from varied origins with a touch of their own savoir-faire. After the American Oak Whisky released in 2017, Bache-Gabrielsen unveils the second opus in the range, in collaboration with Audemus Spirits : an Aquavit.

Aquavit is a traditional Scandinavian product par excellence. Born from Scandinavian roots with a savoir-faire of over 100 years, Bache-Gabrielsen launches the first Aquavit created in Cognac. This project is the fruit of a collaboration between Bache-Gabrielsen (the cognac house founded in 1905) and the micro-distillery Audemus Spirits (founded in 2013, in Cognac); a subtle alliance between the traditional and the modern.

As the ‘artistic director’, Jean-Philippe Bergier who has been Cellar Master at Bache Gabrielsen for almost 30 years coordinated the project; connecting it to the brand’s universe. Miko Abouaf, the founder of Audemus Spirits interpreted this desire and created the spirit accordingly.

This Aquavit is the assemblage of two spirits. The first is distilled in a traditional cognac still, where several botanicals were blended; the core, caraway as well as green anis and coriander amongst others. The second was distilled under vacuum in a glass still, allowing us to extract the delicate and fresh aromas of angelica.

Miko Abouaf describes the subtleties of his recipe : “the caraway and the coriander form the core of the spirit – bringing structure and body. Fennel and the anis add sweetness, softening the aquavit. Finally, the angelica, conserving its freshness through the vacuum distillation, gives the signature finesse to the assemblage’.

For Jean-Philippe Bergier, the objective was to combine freshness and roundness to obtain a delicately floral and expressive aquavit without burn.

The originality of this aquavit comes from its Scandinavian origins, it’s style and its soul born in Cognac.


The Glenlivet Explores New Frontiers With Launch Of Cognac Cask Finish Expression

TGL Captain's Reserve ImageThe Glenlivet is set to re-assert its credentials as the definitive Single Malt Scotch whisky with the release of a contemporary new expression; Captain’s Reserve, a Single Malt selectively finished in high-quality Cognac casks. The launch is set to push the boundaries of modern Scotch through its distinctive cask combination.

Captain’s Reserve is the result of flavour and cask experimentation. This combination of the raisin-rich intense taste of Cognac with the signature citrus notes and creamy smoothness of The Glenlivet offers consumers the opportunity to broaden their Single Malt Scotch repertoire. The new flavour and taste experience also encourages new consumers to explore the thriving Single Malt Scotch category, which is one of the fastest growing spirits categories globally, and is expected to continue its growth at +6%[1].

This new expression, which will sit as part of The Glenlivet range, is a tribute to Captain William Smith Grant, great-grandson of George Smith, founder of The Glenlivet, the definitive Speyside Single Malt. The Captain not only fought in the First World War in France, but later went on to fight for The Glenlivet, guiding the brand through the difficult Prohibition years and leading the Single Malt Scotch whisky revival in the UK and US. This unique story is brought to life through Captain’s Reserve by uniting the definitive Speyside Single Malt and the opulent rich flavours of Cognac.

Alan Winchester, The Glenlivet Master Distiller, comments: “We know that Single Malt consumers are becoming increasingly adventurous and are seeking to explore new flavour profiles and finishes in the category. Research shows that the global consumption of Cognac is expected to increase by some 2m cases by 2021[2]. By introducing the Cognac casks into our maturation process, we are able to capitalise on the popularity of this flavour and add another dimension to our world-renowned portfolio. The Cognac casks’ influence will bring a real richness to the smooth and fruity style of The Glenlivet, which we’re confident new and existing Single Malt Scotch enthusiasts will enjoy.”

Captain’s Reserve is available globally, with an RRP ranging from £45-48 (or local equivalent).

Martell Launches Martell VS Single Distillery With Packaging Design By Nude Brand Creation

Martell pack

Iconic cognac house Martell unveiled Martell VS Single Distillery, a cognac from a single distillation source, with design by Nude Brand Creation.

The packaging design highlights elements of the product story to provide differentiation within the category and help consumers to better understand what makes it special.

Pioneering spirit

A pioneer amongst cognac houses, Martell has a unique history spanning more than 300 years. It has always been dedicated to craft and innovation, and now it is planning to disrupt the VS category by launching a single distillation expression.


The iconic shape of the traditional ‘montre’ cognac bottle is the inspiration for the new bottle shape. Revived for the Martell VS Single Distillery Spirit, it is simple but elegant, which provides a point of difference versus the traditional VS category bottle shape.

A restructured cap is sealed with a beige paper ribbon, revealing a cork, while a single label runs down the neck.

An offset VS disrupts the usual Martell label arrangement and two lines of copy explain the story behind the single distillation source, to draw consumer’s attention. Warmth injected into the label reflects the liquid colour and fruity notes of the cognac.

Mike Parsonson, Partner at Nude Brand Creation, says: “Within the cognac category, there were very few brands talking about their product story.

“Today’s consumers are interested in brands with a compelling back story so we knew dialling up this aspect of the story would resonate with them.

“We took some inspiration from the craft drinks sector, but gave it a modern twist by adding drama and vibrancy into the design. At the same time we communicated the single distillation process in an easy to understand way.”

Consistent but crafted

An embossed swift in the glass dramatises the brand’s strong iconography and reinforces the brand’s origins in the 18th century when Jean Martell first set off from Jersey on a journey to find the best brandy production methods in France.

Craft elements introduced to the bottle will disrupt the traditional sector, but the new design still maintains consistency with the Martell portfolio.

Martell VS Single Distillery will launch into the UK market this month.

Nude Brand Creation has worked with Martell on its portfolio since 2012.

The BEAT Society Takes Refuge In Manchester


The Pernod Ricard BEAT Society rolled into Manchester this week with its 6 strong team of some of the UK’s influential and engaging industry figures taking over the new Refuge bar and restaurant in the city centre.

Concentrating on seven categories, the likes of Phil Huckle (UK Brand Ambassador Chivas Regal), Liam Sparks (Irish Whiskey Ambassador), Megs Miller (UK House of Tequila Ambassador), Matthias Lataille (UK Brand Ambassador Martell), Michael Foster (UK Brand Ambassador Havana Club) and special guest Jake O’Brien Murphy of Callooh Callay in London showed off their respective brand and category, but with a twist that offered an insight ‘outside the box’.

With only two more cities out of the initial seven to visit, I thought I’d offer an insight into what you can expect for the day as the BEAT team head to Newcastle (31/01/2017) and Liverpool (28/02/2017).

Prepare to demystify the style of Irish Whiskey and the impact that Jameson and Midleton Distillery have created within the whiskey market as Liam Sparks talks through the process of creation. From both column and pot distillation, to the wood styles within ageing, Liam engages with his knowledge and stories over a couple of drams, including distillates from the column and pot stills, as well as the likes of Redbreast 12yr and Jameson Caskmates.

Following the Irish closely are the Scots, championed by Phil Huckle with his focus on the luxury blend of Chivas Regal. Promoting towards the history of the whisky cocktails and how Chivas Regal have been at the forefront of some of the most iconic classics, experience the styles and profiles of such forgotten gems as the Morning Glory Fizz, as well as last years Chivas Masters winning drink by Chelsey Bailey. You can also hear how you can enter the 2017 edition of the Chivas Masters, as well as experience The Huckster!

Heading to the grape side of the spirit categories, Matthias Lataille shows his insight into Martell by bringing it to the forefront of your mind when modifying your cocktail creations. Sample classic cognac drinks such as the Sidecar using the VSOP expression, as well as twists on staples including the Pierre Collins as Matthias shows his creativity and knowledge on cognac and tips of how to invite your customers to experience.

Special guest star Jake O’Brien Murphy of Callooh Callay in London is on hand for the tour to offer an honest insight into the world of cocktail competitions, using his own experiences of entering competitions, including Jameson and Havana Club, in his career that includes positions within famed bars in Liverpool such as 81LTD. The do’s and dont’s of performance etiquette, how to approach those all important judges, understanding the brief set out, and adapting yourself to the live situation with confidence, Jake goes through the motions of before, during and after as you set out to highlight yourself to your peers and industry figures.

Demystifying tequila is Megs Miller, one of the latest additions to the BEAT Society family, as she focuses on Olmeca and how agave is riding the trend of the bartenders inquisitive. Serving up samples of Blanco, Reposado and Anejo, she’ll guide you through the tequila process, how Olmeca has grown over the years to accommodate changing tastes and attitudes towards the category, as well as her own agave experiences and stories when visiting Mexico and teaching across the world.

You can listen to Michael Foster’s stories too as he talks about Havana Club, with an emphasis on Cuba itself. Diving into how Havana Club has impacted the island in regards to cocktails such as the Mojito, Cuba Libra, Daiquiri and El Presidente, the enjoyment of the traditional recipes of such too, plus an understanding of how these classics have been devised through the stalwart bar scene within Cuba itself.

Mr Jake O’Brien Murphy also talks candidly on the vodka category, with the focus on Absolut and twisting the pre-conception that vodka is a ‘dying category’. He talks about the iconic Pornstar Martini and Cosmopolitan whilst giving his own views on how vodka can be best utilised in any bar through some simple changes.

Of course, no day of learning would be complete without a tipple of Mumm Champagne, with Matthias Lataille guiding you through the brand as you finish off the BEAT Society experience.

If you’re anything like me, having the opportunity to listen to one iconic figure in the industry is amazing, but to have seven in one room, offering their slant on their chosen category, is beyond an experience. Get yourselves signed up to Newcastle and Liverpool, immerse within the BEAT and take it all in.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



I do love a good vodka. I’ve worked with several over the years, but I’m always on the look out for a vodka that takes the vodka category and shakes it like a mad man.

Sauvelle, I believe, had done just that.

It may be because I’m a sucker for marketing and creativity (it is after-all a huge part of Drinks Enthusiast), but when you see photo’s like the one below, it draws your intrigue.

The vodka itself? It describes itself for the ‘bon vivant’; a person who devotes themselves to a sociable and luxurious lifestyle. It’s origins lie in Cognac, France, its base is winter wheat, and the water supplied by the springs of Gensac. It’s unchill-filtered, it’s oaked smooth with Chêne du Limousin. It’s French craft.

But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Sauvelle – 41%

Light, soft and smooth notes on the nose of wheat. It’s clean, with hint of cherry blossom. A thick viscosity on the palate, with good licks of honey, cherry and oaked vanilla. A slightly dry finish, but a creamy, long ending.

A great vodka to sip neat, but equally works works well within one of these –

Sauvelle - Sauvelle and 17
Sauvelle & 17

Sauvelle & 17

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

50 ml Sauvelle
150 ml 1724 Tonic

Method – 

Build the ingredients over an ice filled wine glass and garnish with a vanilla pod.

Or perhaps,

Sauvelle - Paris Punch
Paris Punch

Paris Punch

Glass – 

Decanter and rocks to serve

Ingredients –

120 ml Sauvelle
45 ml Triple Sec
30 ml Maple Syrup
30 ml Lemon Juice
300 ml Bitter Lemon

Method –

Pour the ingredients within the decanter over ice. Add 3 grapefruit wedges and a sprig of thyme. Stir, top up with more ice and a orange twist.

Two great serves, one simple, the other ready for the summer parties. Pick up a bottle for your drinks cabinet for sure, and enjoy the ‘bon vivant’ experience.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Martell Cordon Bleu Redesigned To Celebrate 300-Year Anniversary


French cognac house Martell has launched a redesign of its iconic Martell Cordon Bleu cognac, featuring design by London agency Nude Brand Creation.
The cognac house celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2015, and for Nude Brand Creation it was a privilege to be asked to honour Martell Cordon Bleu’s proud and unmatched heritage.

An Illustrious History

Martell is the oldest of the great Cognac Houses and more than one hundred years ago it gave the world Martell Cordon Bleu. Nude was briefed to update the packaging with a design that reflects the luxury nature of the product, a fresh and elegant presentation for this iconic cognac.

Nude would need to maintain the existing strengths of the current packaging including its simplicity, authenticity and consistency over time. Partner at Nude, Mike Parsonson, says: “Working on Martell Cordon Bleu was like a careful restoration project. There is so much brand history to respect and retain.”

A Careful Restoration

The Nude team has revived some of Martell Cordon Bleu’s history. The classic two-part label, whose storied past served as the inspiration for this redesign, has returned. The new Martell visual elements have been incorporated including the crest and swift. The signature of Edouard Martell is given prominent pride of place to honour Martell Cordon Bleu’s creator. Every element has been carefully considered. Nude worked closely with a hand-lettering artist to ensure the typography evokes the rich and luxurious side of the prestigious cognac.

“We were inspired by the brand’s rich history and wanted to celebrate its ageless elegance,” says Parsonson. “What is more, the reference to the historic two-part label and its modern interpretation and unusual shape should provide genuine stand-out on shelf.”

The end result is a carefully crafted update of an iconic French brand, which respects its history and its place in the world as a luxury drink.

Along with Martell Cordon Bleu, Nude has also updated the packaging for Martell VSOP which both launch during the brand’s 300th year.

An Exceptional Trilogy Of Vintages – The New Multimillesime From Cognac Frapin


Cognac Frapin has released the latest in its award-winning ‘Multimillésime” series; the sixth of the ‘Treasures of Chateau Fontpinot‘ limited edition blends. Patrice Piveteau, Frapin’s cellar master, has skilfully combined the characters of the exceptional 1986, 1988 and 1991 vintages of these Grande Champagne premier crus to produce Multimillésime No. 6. The collection began in 2008 and has been lauded by connoisseurs and specialists throughout the world. As before, just 1,270 bottles have been produced, a tribute to the ancient lineage of this Grande Champagne Cognac estate, which has been tended by the same family since that year in the 13th century.

The Cognac Frapin Multimillésime No. 6 opens with finesse and subtlety to reveal remarkable strength and a lingering finish. The 1986 vintage has fruity notes (grapefruit and fig) as well as floral notes that give long-lasting aromas. The woody rancio notes of the 1988 vintage give it structure, while the 1991 vintage has provided the finesse and delicacy, with its aromatic accents of candied fruit, orange, apricot, honey and spices.

In the glass, it displays a rather bright colour with yellow-orange glints. On the nose, the finesse and liveliness of the Multimillésime No. 6 are expressed through exotic fruit flavours, such as apricot and fig, which are then revealed. In the mouth, these aromas are combined with notes of vanilla and liquorice as well as rancio Charentais.

Today, Cognac Frapin has 240 hectares of vines and is one of the most beautiful estates in Grande Champagne Cognac. The estate provides access to a product of infinite richness, skilfully blended according to the traditional cultivation techniques and savoir-faire of Cognac Frapin, in particular double distillation on lees. The eau-de-vie is matured slowly and carefully in oak barrels to allow it to express its full personality.

Production is strictly limited, with just 1,270 individually numbered 70cl bottles (40.7 % volume) being produced (the UK receiving a small allocation). Packed in the distinctive, classic bottle – based on an ancient cognac flagon – with a neck hemmed with cord and presented in a wooden gift box, it is expected to retail for around £210. It is being distributed in the UK exclusively by Louis Latour Agencies. (Tel: +44 (0)20 7409 7276 )

Pigalle Tasting Notes


Pigalle vodka came across my radar in the past week or so, with intrigue from their bottle design capturing my eye. I received one of five different bottle labels, with mine symbolising Paris with the use of a red light glowing from a lamp post, with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Being a French vodka, Pigalle uses the tradition of the French Spirit Valley Houses and has within French wheat  from the Limousine, Cognac region. It’s fermented in batches and distilled five times, before being blended with 4°C water from the Gensac springs that lowers the abv to 42.6%.

So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Pigalle – 42.6%

Incredibly smooth, with hints of the French wheat noticeable at the end. Smooth on the palate, with hints of almond, slight peppet and a growing spice. A long, warming finish.

Not bad to be honest, making it not just the design (others being  a club door, dollars, craps and a show girl) that will have consumers and trade talking. Although not available in the UK as of yet, I can imagine it will be on its way. If you can’t wait, it’s just an excuse to nip to Paris for the weekend and experience! Oh and it’s also award-winning, grabbing a Gold Medal at the BTI (Beverage Testing Institute) official Tasting Institute of Chicago 2013.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rémy Martin Announces Sponsorship of GQ Men of the Year Awards 2013


It’s all about the R&G this year as Rémy becomes the drink of choice at the GQ magazine’s annual awards ceremony this 3rd September 2013

Rémy Martin, the iconic cognac, is excited to announce that it will be the lead spirits sponsor at the GQ Men of the YearAwards on 3rd September 2013. Serving the R&G and other bespoke cocktails at the main awards ceremony, Rémy will also be creating a bespoke bar at the after-party on the Royal Opera House balcony.

Rémy was GQ’s clear choice as it has long been leading the pack on creating cognac based cocktails to introduce a whole new generation to an exceptional brand with 300 years of heritage. With this enterprising spirit in mind, Rémy is also sponsoring the Breakthrough Award for best newcomer to the scene.

The 2013 Rémy Martin Breakthrough Award heralds the arrival of a person who’s making the headlines for all the right reasons. Just as Rémy is the cognac that breaks tradition, so the winner of this prestigious decoration is somebody who’s already shaping our future.

When Rémy’s mixologists were briefed to create the perfect cognac cocktail this year, they kept coming back to the perfect blend of Rémy VSOP and ginger, which led to the creation of R&G – a simple and refreshing cocktail that all guests at the GQ Men of the Year Awards will be enjoying on the night.

Rémy VSOP is versatile and perfect for mixing and is available at bars nationwide – ask for yours with ginger ale and a twist of lemon peel to re-create an R&G wherever you are.

Remy and Ginger


50ml Rémy Martin VSOP
Ginger ale – to top up
Lemon peel garnish


Pour Rémy into high ball over ice, top with ginger ale and add a twist of lemon peel

As well as the classic R&G, Rémy’s mixologists have developed a bespoke serve for the night: the R&GQ. The R&GQ builds on the classic pairing of ginger and Rémy VSOP, which is mixed with British Ale and served in a traditional 1/2 pint tankard, complete with a frothy head.


35ml Rémy Martin VSOP
20ml Lemon juice
15ml Bottle Green Ginger and Lemongrass syrup
Very cold British Ale


Build into a chilled 1/2 pint glass tankard

Hine Tasting Notes

H By Hine

Continuing my theme of cognacs that seems to have taken shape lately, I’ve come across another rather well-known brand by the name of HINE. Dating back to 1550, the Hine family lived in Beaminster, Dorset, on the south coast of England, but it was the 18th century that the cognac link started when Thomas Hine decided to send his son Thomas to France to learn French and the art of making cognac.

Thomas, then aged sixteen, set foot in Nantes in 1791 and then travelled to Bordeaux and eventually Jarnac, a small town just east of Cognac. Since 1763, Jarnac had been the base for the négociant’s premises where Thomas was to create his father’s favourite cognac. In the early days, Thomas began his employment as a personal assistant, a respected and worthy position. Not long after his arrival, Thomas Hine made the acquaintance of Elisabeth, the daughter of a famous cognac négiociant and fell in love. In 1796, at the age of 21, Thomas married Elisabeth and they were to have four children.

Thomas Hine earned a reputation for being a serious, hard worker, but not lacking in a good sense of humour. His in-depth knowledge of finance and business, good commercial sense together with his French and English skills gave him special status. He expanded what was to become the traditional business of the HINE company; making bespoke cognacs for English wine merchants. When his father-in-law died, his mother-in-law chose Thomas, rather than one of her own sons, to take charge of the family cognac business. In 1817, Thomas gave his name to the company: Thomas Hine & Co. Just a few years later, in 1822, he died of pneumonia at the age of 47. His eldest son, Thomas Georges, just old enough to take over the reins of the company was to succeed him and carrying on the generations which today is into its sixth.

Each generation has had some kind of input into the HINE legacy. Isaac Georges Hine registered the HINE stag emblem as their trademark in 1867 and in 1920, Georges Thomas Hine created Antique, the most well-known of HINE’s cognacs. Robert Hine created the first advertising campaign for HINE in 1946 and current generation Bernard Thomas Hine added central Europe to the long, growing list of HINE markets in the 1960’s.

HINE is also rather unique in that its estate benefits from a south-facing aspect. This utilises the long hours of sunshine and heat an also contributes to the maturation.  The cognacs spend six to nine months in new barrels made from fine grain oak which will have given up their bitter tannins while being seasoned for three years in the open air.

So how does this process fair? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on the range I have experienced so far –

Hine HomageH By HINE VSOP – 40%

Light with dry fruit and sweet marzipan on the nose. Very light on the palate with an instant sweetness. Soft, with a mix of fruits and marzipan and a hint of spice.

HINE Homage – 40%

A blend of Early Landed cognacs (a traditional method of maturing cognac – it is exported prior to maturation – thus the name – and is aged in cellars in the UK) as well as very old Cognacs matured in the Hine’s Jarnac cellars. The blend was created on the 23rd October 2000 and selected on the 6th February 2008 and contains cognacs from 1984, 1986 and 1987.
Fresh with ripe fruit on the nose and a slight marzipan aroma near the end. Lots of fruit and wood blends, with a sharp citrus flavour coming through as it develops. Rather short, but packs a punch of freshness that lingers very slightly.

HINE Antique XO Premier Cru – 40%

A blend of cognacs from both the Grande and Petite Champagne regions. Light on the nose with sweet aromas of butterscotch and vanilla coming through. Very smooth and light on the palate with a powerful freshness with a dash of spice to create a long, lingering finish.

A great range so far, and with other expressions such as Rare VSOP and Homage, I can’t see them disappointing. A worthy addition to any night out if you see it in a bar, or indeed your friends drinks cabinet.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.