The 21st century has certainly thrown up some challenges never before encountered in the history of mankind. One of the most pressing of these is surely the protection of our planet. Industries have a massive responsibility to ensure that products created are done so in an eco-friendly manner. And we as consumers have an equal responsibility to ensure that we make our purchase choices wisely. So in the case of Cognac, it’s wonderful to see the increase in the use of a by-product of our favorite drink; Cognac oil.

Eau-de-vie is a multi-faceted product

Cognac oil is what, exactly?

You might not have heard of Cognac oil, but we’re pretty sure you’ve used it. It’s an essential oil that’s literally exploded in popularity as a component utilized by the perfume industry, in aromatherapy, and within various other natural remedies.

Cognac essential oil is extracted and refined during the very first part of the Cognac production process. The process involves steaming the waste products of Cognac, known as ‘the lees’. These are the yeast and particles that deposit at the bottom of the copper stills during distillation. The result is a heady, fruit scented compound. Without getting too ‘sciency’, the main component of the oil is ethyl perlargonate, which—despite the name—is a wholly natural compound.

Pot stills park: 40 Alambics!
Traditional Cognac copper pot stills

There are two different kinds: Green Cognac oil and white Cognac oil. The green oil really is green in color. This is because of the copper stills in which Cognac is distilled, thanks to the oil oxidizing when it comes in contact with the copper. White Cognac oil comes from wine that’s manufactured in stainless steel stills.

What is it used for?

Cognac essential oil is a relatively new product that’s been embraced by various different industries. High end perfume brands have used Cognac oil for some while, with producers utilizing its ability to draw out aromas from other components in the blend.

But the market for the oil is predicted to explode in various other sectors, especially those of aromatherapy, natural remedies, and cosmetics such as hair products, thanks to its ability to add volume to hair, stimulate hair roots, and increase blood flow to the scalp. 

In addition, Cognac oil is also used in the food and beverage industry. The oil really does offer aromas and flavors of its namesake. One such use is for mixologists to add it to low or no alcohol cocktails. It gives the ability for a bartender to create a drink that appeals to the senses in the way alcohol does, but without the fear of over-indulging or drinking when the occasion doesn’t warrant it.  Another is that manufacturers are replacing artificial colors and flavors in various foods and drinks with natural ingredients.

As we mentioned earlier, the consumer is becoming far more aware of the impact of products they purchase. A massive proportion are gravitating towards natural and organic products, and this buying choice is beginning to snowball. This is the key driver behind the growth of the Cognac oil market, as we all become far more choosy about what we buy. We want natural ingredients that are produced in a responsible manner, and Cognac oil really does hit the spot.

10 magical healing properties of Cognac oil

Well, perhaps not quite magical. But increasing research is suggesting some remarkable effects of this sustainable essential oil.

1. A natural mood enhancer: The aromas and scents from Cognac oil is believed to trigger certain chemicals in the brain that create a feeling of euphoria. We don’t know about you, but the smell of Cognac always raises a smile with us, so we’re very happy to believe that this is the case. A great mix to use in a diffuser in the home is equal parts of Green Cognac Essential oil with lavender and bergamot oils.

2. Prevents food poisoning: It’s possible that the oil might have a positive effect on the intestinal tract. In fact, some believe that it can actually inhibit pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli.

3. Fights aging, disease, and immunity: This is thanks to its likelihood of strong antioxidant properties. Boosting these within the body helps slow the signs of aging. They can also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and other life limiting illnesses. 

4. Stress reduction: Let’s face it, we can all do with some of this. Diffusing Cognac oil might have a calming effect on the nervous system, aid in concentration, or even reduce nervous tension.

5. Supports all-round health: There’s even some evidence that the oil provides the body with very real support for the immune system, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. How amazing is that? 

6. Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels: Two of the biggest issues for many in the western world are the dangers of high cholesterol and increased blood sugar levels. So wouldn’t it be amazing if Cognac oil really did have a positive effect on them? Sure, there’s no conclusive proof at the moment. But advocates of the power of the oil have suggested that this is a very real possibility. They’re sure that proof of this, and many other potential health benefits, will have the backing of scientific results over the coming years.

7. Supports a healthy digestive system: There are some studies suggesting that it might help with the function of the digestive system. You can take a couple of drops of Cognac oil in water, or even add to a carrier oil and massage it directly onto the belly area.

8. Stimulates healthy, shiny hair: The addition of Cognac oil to your hair regime has some wonderful effects. Not only does it increase volume, but it also makes hair softer, shinier, and healthier looking. You could simply add a few drops to your favorite shampoo, or there are a few companies that include them in their products, such as Lush.

9. A natural laxative: Without going into too much detail, we’re told that taking a drop or two in a glass of water then this can gently easy you back into regularity.

10. An appetite stimulant: For anyone who needs a helping hand for their appetite, then a drop of the oil in water before a meal is believed to help stimulate the desire to eat. Now, for us we don’t usually have such a problem (quite the opposite, in fact). However, if you’ve been under the weather and can’t face eating, then such an ‘aperitif’ could be a major help to getting back to full health once again.

Of course, we’re not doctors and we’re not scientists, so we can’t confirm or deny the above claimed attributes for Cognac oil. But it does appear that evidence is leaning towards this being the case. And if the demand for the oil increases in the way that those in the know are predicting, then we can expect for further studies and their results to hit the headlines.

Cognac Oil: A global product

Whatever way you look at it, the demand for Cognac oil is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. The largest market is Europe, followed by North America. The Japanese market is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years, as is that of sales to the Asia-Pacific region.

It appears that Cognac is even more of a ‘green’ product than we already thought. We love the fact that it’s actually produced from the waste product of Cognac production. And in our current throwaway society, this really is something to be embraced.

So there you have it. Another way to feed your Cognac habit, and a healthy one at that. It really appeals to us that even the waste products of Cognac are a valuable commodity. Add to that the fact that we can enjoy the aromas and flavors of our favorite drink in a totally new way, and this makes us very happy indeed. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to hunt out a diffuser…


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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.

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