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Times have changed since the dark era of 1920's Prohibition, when the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages was outlawed. Unfortunately, the industry is still stuck in the 20th century and we're taking it into the 21st with the spirit of speakeasy.... more inside.
If Cognac is the uncrowned King of Spirits, D’Aincourt rules them all benevolently from its perch on the Iron Throne. And just who is this D’Aincourt? Well. They’re the combined powers of an Hors d’Age Cognac enthusiast, a famous designer and a family producer-distiller united by the same passion for exceptional Cognacs.
And these aren’t your run-of-the-mill Cognacs—no sir. D’Aincourt is producing some of the finest eau-de-vie in all the land from 110 hectares in Grande Champagne.
Their Master Blender works much like a master perfumer with his creations, carefully selecting and subtly uniting their oldest and rarest eau-de-vie (some of which are over 100 years old!) to reveal an aromatic masterpiece in each of their three Hors d’Age: Rare XO, Extra and Premier Cru.
We sat down with Vincent Norguet, founder and CEO of Maison D’Aincourt, and asked him a few questions about this Cognac House extraordinaire.
D’Aincourt aligns its story with French nobility and military heroes, specifically, Marquis de Caulaincourt. Why was that choice made?
We wanted to pay a tribute to our forefather the Marquis de Caulaincourt, General of the Napoleonic Army, Foreign Minister of Napoleon and French Ambassador to Russia.
D’Aincourt celebrates the nobility, loyalty and strength demonstrated by French Empire generals through the exceptional quality of the aged Cognacs we’ve selected, our masculine and powerful handcrafted decanter and our elegant design.
Our emblem recalls the French Empire insignia worn on their military uniforms.
To share this heritage, we welcome some of our customers for private and prestigious Cognac tastings at our family House in Paris. There, they peruse original letters from Napoleon and many historical objects owned by the Marquis de Caulaincourt.
How does D'Aincourt Cognac stand out from other Cognacs?
D’Aincourt is the only boutique Cognac House that offers three Hors d’Age Cognacs, starting from an average of 35-year-old eau-de-vie.
We’re also an incredibly exclusive and limited Cognac brand, with only several hundred bottles released per year.
Our three Cognacs express their character in a unique handcrafted decanter designed by the famous designer Patrick Norguet, who signs an elegant reinterpretation of an original and authentic bottle of Cognac.
There are currently three expressions of the brand (Rare XO, Extra, Premier Cru)—what can one expect to smell and taste in each bottle?
D’Aincourt Rare XO is a blend of 10 eau-de-vie, each one between 20 to 50-years-old. The nose reveals notes of candied citrus fruits and are supported by aromas of candied apricot, fig and cigar box. Delicate notes of oak, Sichuan pepper, vanilla and cloves appear and intermingle one by one. The finish is long, harmonious and masculine. Taste-wise, it’s lively and powerful, with exotic notes of Madagascar vanilla and Sichuan pepper. These are followed by the richness of aged Grande Champagne Cognac, which warms the palate with fruity notes of dried apricot, pear, and candied orange peel. The finish is silky and harmonious with hints of smoke.
D’Aincourt Extra is a blend of 12 eau-de-vie, each one between 25 to 70-years-old. The nose is a complex, blend of cooked and candied fruits (apricot, pear, prune and orange peel) and delicate dried flowers (iris and narcissus), interwoven with spicy, oaky notes of saffron, cigar box, smoke and bark. The attack is an ode to rancio, with generous notes of candied orange, prune, fig, and honey alongside surprising aromas of exotic fruit and sumptuous spices (cinnamon and saffron). The exquisite finish bears soft smoky notes of Havana cigar, cigar box, wax, leather, and forest floor.
D’Aincourt Premier Cru is a rare blend of very old eau-de-vie, some of which are over 100 years old. They have been selected for the roundness of their texture as well as for the harmony, powerfulness and elegance of the aromatic notes.
Is there an optimal way to enjoy each D'Aincourt Cognac?
At the end of a good meal, you take your time and appreciate a D’Aincourt Rare XO served in a tulipe glass. In the tulipe, the aroma is concentrated before revealing itself steadily, allowing time to discover its subtle fragrance, observe its delicate colour and mellow out before taking a sip.
D’Aincourt Extra is a favorite of cigar aficionados. Its fine aromas are a perfect match for a good cigar and provide a very pleasant and harmonious experience.
You would appreciate a glass of D’Aincourt Premier Cru with a roaring fireplace and a long stretch of time at your disposal. This elixir is a rare and unique sensory experience that will delight lovers of fine Cognacs.
What dishes or cuisines would you recommend pairing with each of the three expressions?
Our Cognacs should be appreciated on their own, to explore the finesse, elegance and complexity of their rich aromas.
If I had to recommend a food pairing, I would suggest pairing D’aincourt Rare XO with meats that have been marinated. The notes of ground spices, such as black pepper and even the almonds, lend themselves well to the heavier meat dishes or more surprisingly with matured cheese.
D’Aincourt Extra, with its delicious and subtle dried fruits aromas, pairs perfectly with chocolate or caramel desserts.
What is the best way to store your Cognac?
Always store your Cognac up, as the Cognac should not be in contact with the cork. In the decanter, the Cognac stops maturing.
You could drink an opened bottle of D’Aincourt after several months, but remember to put the cork back in immediately after pouring to keep the full aromas. Unopened, you could keep our Cognacs for ages.
What can we look forward to from D'Aincourt in 2017?
We’re developing several projects—all in the French “savoir faire” spirit. One is a collaboration with a French malletier workshop, another in the universe of cigars and one in the yachting world. All of these collaborations are really exciting and exemplify a new attitude in Cognac that D’Aincourt is setting the standard for. One that mingles savoir faire and tradition with the insolence of new codes.