A British spirit connoisseur has created the world’s most exquisite brandy, beating the French at their own game.
David Baker, 77, swiped a renowned international award from four other shortlisted – including two famous tipples distilled in France.
Judges of the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) described Baker’s brandy, priced at £499.00 a bottle, as “spicy but gentle and supremely dry”.
The drink was awarded 99 points out of 100 and won him Brandy Producer of the Year 2021, despite being up against two French brands – CAMUS and Domaine Tariquet.
Baker, from Bradford-on-Avon, said French brandy producers have been coming to his 30-year-old firm Hemitage Cognac since his win.
“It is a considerable achievement and I’m delighted to win the awards. We are well known now in France and French producers seek us out”, he remarked.
The IWSC 2021 judges said the Grande Champagne Cognac was ‘like opening an old leather-bound book or antique oak armoire’.
They described its flavour as: “Figgy pudding and rich dark chocolate, wonderful rich spices and the bitterness of orange zest come through on the palate. Spicy but gentle and supremely dry.”
Baker continued: “We seek history and provenance in our cognacs, which are either vintages, from the year of harvesting, or age statements, with defined years of barrel ageing.
“Cognacs from the Grande Champagne mature more slowly but this is an advantage. They can remain in their casks for longer, drawing on the oak that will, after decades of ageing, provide the intense richness known as rancio.
“Originally our 45-year-old Grande Champagne Cognac, we have watched this remarkable brandy develop in its cask for many years.
“It is now more than 50 years old and still it grows in maturity, richness and finesse. The flavours of fruit cake, sultanas and porcini will continue to develop in this masterpiece.
“Our cognacs are very special so only those from single estates are acceptable. Each handpicked cognac reflects the terroir of its origin.
“For decades we have striven to provide cognacs of the very highest quality. Our experience and understanding of old cognacs, and their bookmarks in history, has provided us with an intimate relationship with both the cellars from where they come and the cognacs themselves.
“We are passionate about passing this knowledge on to our colleagues to help develop an understanding of these precious spirits and their sales.”
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