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Cognac Tour - Tasting & Cognac Houses

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May 7, 2024


Visit and tasting in Cognac – Discovery of the cognac houses

Passionate about cognac, the emblematic eau-de-vie of the Charente region, and curious to learn more about its centuries-old manufacturing process? Would you like to browse the cellars and distilleries, explore the secrets of its aromas, from VS to XO, without forgetting the Pineau des Charentes?
Join us in a deep immersion in the heart of the Cognac vineyards. Discover the cognac houses that have shaped history and contributed to the reputation of this exceptional terroir.
We invite you to plan your visit to the flagship cognac houses, immerse yourself in the heart of this unique culture, and enjoy memorable tastings. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, this wine tourism trip will enrich your knowledge of the culture, heritage and gastronomy of cognac, while offering you a panorama of the most beautiful landscapes of the region.

Plan your visit to the cognac houses

Do you dream of visiting cognac houses and savoring their creations? This article will guide you to optimize your trip to the picturesque Cognac region, promising you memorable experiences.

Choosing the right time to visit

The Cognac region is welcoming all year round, but certain seasons offer unique experiences. To see the vineyard in effervescence, choose autumn, the time of the harvest. This period allows you to observe the entire process from harvest to distillation, which takes place from November 1st to March 31st, without forgetting the beauty of the vines and forests in autumn finery.
Spring and summer, with their mild climate, are just as attractive. It’s the perfect time to admire the blooming vines and take part in events such as the Cognac Blues Passions festival in July, bringing together world-renowned artists.

Booking in advance: an essential step

Advance booking is crucial for visiting the cognac houses, given that places are limited. Reservations can be made online or by phone, with free or paid tours depending on the offer. Prices usually range from 10 to 50 euros per person, depending on the length of the visit and the number of tastings.
Opting for a tour organized by an agency can be an enriching alternative, allowing you to discover several distilleries with a professional guide, thus enjoying easy transport and a complete overview of the selection of cognacs.

Cognac Tour – Tasting and Cognac Houses: Practical Tips  

For a pleasant visit, it is recommended to wear warm clothes, as cellars and cellars offer a cool and humid environment, and to choose shoes suitable for walking. Avoid perfumes or scented products, for an optimal olfactory experience.
Tours last an average of an hour and a half, including tasting, with some lasting up to three hours for a more in-depth experience. Limit yourself to two or three houses a day for a full appreciation of each tasting.
Cognac tasting requires time and immersion. Follow the guide’s advice for an enriched experience. Remember, cognac is still an alcoholic drink to be consumed in moderation. Opt for a designated driver or avoid driving after the tasting.

Cognac Tour – Tasting & Must-See Cognac Houses

The Cognac region, with more than 200 producing houses, offers an impressive diversity of eaux-de-vie. In this panorama, four houses stand out: Hennessy, Martell, Camus and Rémy Martin. They combine renown, centuries-old history and unrivalled know-how, representing more than 80% of the world’s cognac exports. Each has a unique character, true to its heritage and singular vision of cognac.
During a stay in the region, a visit to these houses is a must for anyone wishing to deepen their knowledge of cognac and its culture.

Hennessy: Crossing a Legend

Founded in 1765 by Richard Hennessy, an Irish officer, Hennessy has established itself as the world’s leading cognac brand, a symbol of power, complexity and elegance. Affiliated with the LVMH group, it offers a rich range of cognacs, from VS to Paradis Impérial. A visit to Hennessy offers a dive into the history of the house, the discovery of its cellars and an unforgettable tasting.
The tours, available in several languages, vary between 20 and 40 euros. Reservations via their website or by calling 05 45 35 72 68.

Martell: Immerse yourself in 300 years of history

Founded in 1715 by Jean Martell, this house is distinguished by a sweet and fruity style, emblematic of Borderies cognacs. Martell has established itself as an innovator while remaining deeply rooted in its heritage. Tours offer an exploration of its history, its range and offer guided tastings.
The tours, offered in several languages, cost between 18 and 35 euros. To book, go to the Martell website or contact them on 05 45 36 34 98.

Camus: Discovering a Family Affair

Founded in 1863 by Jean-Baptiste Camus, this family business stands out for its independence and authenticity. Known for its intense and original style, Camus invites you to discover its range during visits enriched by tastings and workshops led by experts.
The tours, available in several languages, vary between 12 and 40 euros. For more information, visit Camus’ website or call 05 45 32 28 28.

Rémy Martin: in the footsteps of Fine Champagne cognac

Founded in 1724, Rémy Martin has established itself as a reference in the high-end cognac segment, thanks to eaux-de-vie exclusively from Fine Champagne. A visit to the house is an invitation to discover the heritage, culture and manufacturing secrets of this prestigious brand.
The tours, which can be done in several languages, are priced between 15 and 45 euros. Reservations can be made via Rémy Martin’s website or by phone on 05 45 35 76 66.

Unique experiences during the tour and tasting

Discovering the cognac houses offers unique and enriching moments. Whatever your level of knowledge, novice or expert, you will have the opportunity to learn the subtleties of cognac tasting, to understand its production process, and to meet the cellar masters, true custodians of the know-how and quality of the eaux-de-vie.
Here’s a look at some of the experiences you can’t miss during your visit.

Cognac Tasting: Understanding the Aromas and Flavors

Cognac tasting is considered an art requiring patience and concentration. Follow the guide’s advice to learn how to observe, smell, and taste cognac in an enlightened way.
It is important to remember that cognac is an alcoholic drink to be consumed in moderation. Make sure you don’t get behind the wheel after a tasting, or designate a driver.
You also have the option to spit out the cognac after tasting it if you’d rather not ingest it.
Cognacs are usually tasted neat, at room temperature, in a tulip glass that promotes the concentration of aromas, and come in several categories: VS (Very Special), VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale), XO (Extra Old), and Hors d’Âge, each revealing unique characteristics through its aromas and flavors.
The families of aromas identified are as follows: fruity, floral, woody, and spicy, not to mention rancio, the distinctive aroma of old cognacs.
Here are the steps of the tasting:

  • The eye: Assess color and shine, which vary depending on age and type of barrel. An older cognac has a darker color. Observe the legs of the cognac on the sides of the glass, indicators of richness and viscosity.
  • Nose: Breathe in the aromas gently without sniffing suddenly. Make several passes, varying the distance and angle to capture all the shades.
  • Palate: Take a small sip and let the cognac permeate your palate. Swallow or spit out, then try to associate the aromas perceived on the nose with the flavors experienced.

Explore the different categories of cognac in ascending order of aging to appreciate their singularities. It is also interesting to accompany your tasting with foods that go well with cognac, such as chocolate, cheese or dried fruit, in order to discover new taste harmonies.

Workshops & Experiences: How Cognac Is Made

Participating in workshops will allow you to dive into the heart of the cognac-making process, from the vine to the glass. Discover the grape varieties, processes and quality criteria that characterize this exceptional spirit.

  • Distillation: Discover this key step that transforms wine into eau-de-vie thanks to the Charentais still. Visit the distillery and witness the magic of distillation.
  • Blending: Take part in a blending workshop and create your own cognac under the supervision of the cellar master.
  • Introduction to cooperage: Explore the art of making oak barrels and try your hand at making a barrel yourself in an immersive experience.

Meeting with the cellar masters: a privileged exchange

Meeting a cellar master is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of cognac, gain access to valuable knowledge and taste rare cognacs. These experts are the only ones who hold the secrets of manufacturing and open the doors of their exceptional cellars to you.

  • The private tour: Enjoy a personalized tour with the cellar master, discover his universe, his secrets and taste exceptional cognacs.
  • The masterclass: An in-depth tasting session to learn how to recognize the nuances of cognac under the tutelage of a cellar master.
  • The informal meeting: A privileged moment to exchange in a relaxed and authentic way around a glass of cognac chosen by the cellar master himself.

Cognac Tour – Tasting & Cognac Houses – Conclusion

As you can see, exploring the cognac houses is an exceptional adventure that allows you to embrace the world of cognac in its entirety. You will have the opportunity to learn more about its captivating history, its detailed manufacturing process, the intricacies of tasting, as well as its refined lifestyle.
You will also have the opportunity to meet those who bring cognac to life, exchanging passion and expertise. You will have the chance to savor remarkable cognacs, which will transport you through time and space.
Don’t miss this chance and plan your visit to a cognac house without delay. Whatever your choice between Hennessy, Martell, Camus or Rémy Martin, the excellence and variety of the experience will amaze you.
Whatever your preferences, budget or level of knowledge, a suitable tour awaits you. Get ready for a memorable experience that will stay with you.
The cognac is ready to welcome you: all you have to do is get started. We wish you a wonderful visit and an excellent tasting!


What are the most famous cognac houses and how to visit them?

Renowned cognac distilleries such as Martell, Courvoisier, Rémy Martin, Hennessy, and Camus offer various visiting experiences. You can book discovery tours, blending workshops or participate in tasting sessions directly via their official websites or by contacting the Cognac Tourist Office.

What are the quality criteria of cognac and how to recognize them?

A quality cognac is evaluated according to its age, terroir of origin, and blending process. Its quality is distinguished by its age classification (VS, VSOP, XO, etc.), the cru where it was produced (such as Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, etc.), and its aromatic and gustatory richness.

What are the different stages of cognac making and what tools are used?

The creation of cognac involves:

  • Harvesting and pressing the white grapes to obtain the must.
  • A double distillation of the fermented wort in Charentais stills, producing the eau-de-vie.
  • The eau-de-vie is aged in oak barrels for at least two years, giving it colour and aromas.
  • The dilution and blending of the eau-de-vie with others, refining the aromatic profile of the cognac.
  • Finally, bottling and labelling according to the category of cognac (VS, VSOP, XO, etc.). The tools used include presses for the wort, stills for distillation, oak barrels for ageing, various measuring instruments, pipettes and decanters for blending, and finally bottles and labels for packaging.


What are the most recommended food and cognac pairings and how to enjoy them?

The ideal pairings between cognacs and dishes aim to enhance the aromatic and taste profiles of the cognac in parallel with the dish. Examples of associations:

  • A VS or VSOP cognac with a cured ham to start an aperitif rich in flavors.
  • A VSOP or XO cognac with a hard or bloomy rind cheese, such as a matured cheddar or brie, for a tasty marriage between creaminess and caramel.
  • An XO cognac accompanied by game birds, such as pigeon à l’orange, evoking refined elegance and highlighting notes of leather, wood and exotic fruits. The tasting is done by first smelling the cognac, then moistening the palate with a drop before alternating bites and sips for a complete taste experience.

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