Little did I know about cognac, except that it was a drink I associated with an ambiance of gentlemen’s clubs, big cigars and philosophic chit-chat. Yet, an invitation to a high tea to introduce Fine de Cognac changed my perception.
You might wonder what does cognac have to do with tea? Well, it has a lot of common grounds. For instance the art of blending. Like tea has to be blended to achieve numerous varieties and flavours, a cognac is a blend of 60 eaux de vie! Tea has to dry before it is processed, cognac needs to ‘ripe’ in barrels for 2 to 7 years. And then there is the momentum of enjoying either a cup of tea or a glass of cognac. Both a sensory experience.
Fine de Cognac is the more elegant variety of cognac the house of Hennesy has to offer. The bottle is shaped like an elegant bottle of perfume, to underline the feminine and delicate character of its content. ‘Fine’ means refined in French, and the taste is definitely softer, with topnotes of grapes, orangeblossom, mango and white fruit. Different from the old fashioned cognacs that are spicy and full bodied.
It was interesting to have tea and enjoying a glass of cognac in the afternoon, alongside delicious sandwiches and sweet treats. Our ideas of old grumpy men drinking cognac after copious dinners have instantly been replaced, and from now on Fine de Cognac will be associated with chic ladies having high tea in the sunny veranda of a 5* hotel.