Finishing brandy in whisky casks cost one producer his AOC, but not his desire to experiment

Wednesday May 15 2019 by Vitisphere

Family-run Drouet Cognacs have 40 hectares of vines and sell their brandies at the cellar door and to trading companiesFamily-run Drouet Cognacs have 40 hectares of vines and sell their brandies at the cellar door and to trading companies - Photo credit : DR

For his new brandy label, winegrower and distiller Patrick Drouet is clearly breaking the Charente mould. His spirit, called Poc'han after an Atlantic puffin in Breton, is not promoting its local roots, as evidenced by the iconoclastic choice of maturation techniques. After five years in French oak barrels, 250 litres of Cognac were kept for two years in a barrel that had previously matured a Breton whisky (Armorik from the Warenghem distillery).

600 bottles

The 600-bottle production matured for the first time using the experimental ageing technique is not eligible for the Cognac appellation, as the Charente brandy can only be matured in wood that has been used for wine and wine-based brandy. Patrick Drouet, who has already experimented with barrels previously used for Pacherenc-du-Vic-Bihl, Sauternes, Maury and Muscat de Rivesaltes for his Cognacs, knows the rules only too well.

You have to be careful with the regulations to be eligible, but you also have to have some fun!” he explains, saying he enjoys entering the preserve of whiskies, “which always have larger shelf space than Cognacs. We must go after the aperitif market. Novel finishings can appeal to consumers and make them inquisitive, after which they move on to Cognac”.

 

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