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Cognac, With Its Fragrance Its Flavor and Its Color

Posted May. 04, 2001 07:37,   


Cognac, ``the Charming spirits,`` is attracting its maniacs. The wine of good body and stimulating favor gives a thrill to its buffs. Not only the forties, the traditional cognac connoisseurs, but also youngsters are gathering in the hotel bar for a light drink on their way home from the office.

Lee Jung-ju, the director of the Education Center of Hotel Shilla, informed, ``Once wine was known as good for health, Cognac has become popular for company. According as you have better tastes of liquors, your favorite drinks usually change through Cocktail, whiskey, and finally to cognac.``

Cognac is a kind of distilled brandy which is produced in Cognac in the south-west coast area of France. The best of its kind is made of a strong sour wine in Champagne area.

``Time is the friend of cognac.`` The unique color and favor of cognac is revealed only after a long fermentation in an oak barrel. Cho Ee-hwan, a deputy chief of the Food and Drinks department of Hilton Hotel, expresses it as ``becoming rounded`` because, by the process, the stimulating favor becomes smooth and sweet without being a stiff.

Every year counts from April 1, the designated day that the official distillation is completed, to the next April 1. The levels of fermentation are represented as `Three stars (★★★),’VO(Very Old),’VSOP(Very Superior Old Pale),’Napoleon,’XO(Extra Old),’EXTRA.’Generally, `Three stars` means 5 year-long-fermented cognac, VSOP for 10 year old one, Napoleon for 15 years, and XO for over 20 years. However, only the Three stars is the legally warranted label and all others are traditionally acquired labels.

The cognac we drink is the one blended, like whiskey, by each company’s cellar master to create its unique fragrance and favor. The combination and fermented period is sealed in top secret. Currently the oldest cognac blend is Osier born in 1643. The Three stars of Osier is `Soleil` nicknamed after Louis XIV. Hennessey, Martell, and Courvoisier are three major cognac brands in the world. Camus and Remy Martin are also well known cognac makers.

The prices are a full variety. The `Millennium Cognac` which is produced for the celebration of 2000 millennium, is sold by 5.8 million won at hotel bars. The EXTRA is not quite less priced. The famous Louis XIII, whose name was popularized by an lawmaker who bought it during his overseas travel, is an EXTRA level of cognac. The first `Soleil` in Korea, Suh Han-jung, recommended, `Cognac is the best for couples and lovers to have a drink in a lovely atmosphere.`