It’s that time again… When we usher out the old and welcome the new. But we can’t let 2019 leave us without a recap on some of the Cognac-related highlights we’ve enjoyed. So come with us on a as we revisit the big events and some of our favorite finds of the last year of the decade…

1. 2019: The year that Cognac further embraced diversity

Diversity has been slow-coming to the Cognac industry, but 2019 saw some very real change appearing. Entrepreneur, Norvell Lasserre exploded onto the scene with his Cognac Honey Liqueur, an honor that saw him become the first African-American producer in the Cognac region. Read more about his award-winning offering in our exclusive interview, Norvel Lasserre: The First African American Producer.

Looking Back: Our 9 Top 2019 Cognac Moments
Norvel Lassere: The man behind this innovative Cognac liqueur

We also had the scoop on the ultra-premium Monfleurie, a high-end Cognac created specifically with the female drinker in mind. Brought to reality by Olga Otrokhova. This exciting limited edition is the first in a planned series, so we’re excited to see what comes next. Read more in our article, Introducing Monfleurie: The Cognac Women Have Been Waiting For.

Looking Back: Our 9 Top 2019 Cognac Moments
Olga Otrokhova: The creator of Monfleurie Cognac

2. 2019: The year that Cognac Expert brought Audry to your attention

And not only made you aware of it, but made the purchase of this exquisite artisan brand possible from anywhere in the world. Their Cognacs haven’t only impressed us, but they’re also getting rave reviews from those who try them. Discover more about the range of Audry Cognacs and join their ever-growing fan club of connoisseur tasters.

Looking Back: Our 9 Top 2019 Cognac Moments
No gimmicks, no bling, just pure, simple presentation of the excellent range of Audry Cognac—our find of the year

3. 2019: The year producers started to experiment with XXO

Still a fledgling new category, the past year has seen two more XXOs join the groundbreaking Hennessy XXO Hors d’Age. These two new offerings are the Martell Chanteloup XXO, a beautifully presented blend of over 450 eau-de-vie, and the delightful Prunier XXO Family Series Number 1. We’re sure the up-coming year will see even more of the extra extra old Cognacs being launched.

Looking Back: Our 9 Top 2019 Cognac Moments
Another of the “Big 4” houses entered the XXO category—Martell Chanteloup

4. 2019: The year Jay-Z made billionaire status (and Cognac lent a helping hand)

The guy finally made the big time (as if he wasn’t already huge!), when he was officially declared to be a billionaire. Jay-Z is one smart cookie, building himself an empire that includes the instant success that was D’Usse Cognac. The brand is conservatory valued at around $100 million—and growing. Check out our article Has Cognac Made J-Z A Rap Billionaire? as to where the rest of the dough comes from.

Looking Back: Our 9 Top 2019 Cognac Moments
Jay-Z with wife Beyonce,: Cognac played a part in his rise to billionaire status

5. 2019: The year of the artisan cask-strength Cognac

There’s been a lot! But two of note are the houses of Grosperrin with their many vintage expressions bottled at 45%  ABV and above, and the tiny craft producer of Naverre Cognac with their small but perfectly formed range.

Looking Back: Our 9 Top 2019 Cognac Moments
Grosperrin‘s range of over-proof Cognacs are well worth your attention

6. 2019: The year we ‘fessed up” about who was one of the biggest influences for Cognac Expert

We all have role models, and for Sophie and Max growing up in the Charente, the man who became one of theirs was Jacques Petit, the head of the artisan house of Andre Petite. He and all his craft Cognacs, are at the very heart of why Cognac Expert champions such small, traditional producers.

Looking Back: Our 9 Top 2019 Cognac Moments
Rustic and authentic, the house of André Petit Cognac

Read more about Jacques, the house of Andre Petite, and the intimate relationship that sparked the fire that eventually led to the launch of Cognac Expert in our article, Andre Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac.

7. 2019: The year that the Cognac industry really got into tech

Every industry, no matter how traditional, is going to have elements that take advantage of the latest technology. And Cognac is no different, with even the smallest of houses relying on various ag-tech that brings the most accurate weather forecasting to the region. During events such as the harvest, all eyes turn to the BNIC and their intense data courtesy of a plethora of weather stations strategically placed around the region.

Looking Back: Our 9 Top 2019 Cognac Moments
Drones, robots, and weather stations: Tech is big in Cognac

Other technology, such as drones and robots are also a reality. Read more in our article, 7 Robots Altering The World Of Cognac As We Know It.

8. 2019: The year of the award winners

We can’t finish such a round-up without featuring a range of some of the best award-winning Cognacs to grace the stage this year…

Looking Back: Our 9 Top 2019 Cognac Moments
Medals and awards are a great way to select good Cognacs

Deau XO – Elegant in looks and taste, this stylish Cognac from one of our favorite houses is definitely worth your attention.

Maxime Trijol VSOP – Another great multi-medal winner, this is just one example from an artisan house that delivers truly great quality Cognacs.

Pasquet L’Esprit de Familie series, including the Jean and the Bernadette are delightfully pure Cognacs, each created by the artisan house to honor some very special people connected with the estate. Discover more about one of the most influential small Cognac houses in our article, Jean Luc Pasquet Cognac: Where family matters.

Another multiple award winner is the strictly limited edition that is the Gilbert XO. It may be a name that’s new to many, but we can guarantee that this is a Cognac that, once tried, will make you a lifelong fan.

We love the Rare Cask Finish Cognacs from Comandon, and their XO Signature is also a standout candidate that deserves your attention. Fresh, vibrant, and lively, this is a Cognac that’ll spark conversation as to the use of younger XO eaux-de-vie within the blend and the subtle differences that it brings.

Pierre Ferrand 10 Generations Grande Champagne Cognac is an over-proof Napoleon quality delight that pays tribute to, as the name suggests, a lengthy family history of the brand. Great value, impressive presentation, and just the right mix of fruity aromas and flavors make this a versatile Cognac to enjoy neat or within a Cognac cocktail.

9. 2019: The year that Cognac Expert rolled out some great customer tools

We’re all about making your Cognac journey more inventive, exciting, and—for the novice and connoisseur alike—as fun and knowledgeable as possible. We began with the addition of our pictorial tasting notes listed on all of our Cognacs. This way you can see at a glance as to the primary flavors and aromas in every individual offering.

Looking Back: Our 9 Top 2019 Cognac Moments
The pictorial tasting notes make it easy to spot Cognacs that fit your personal taste profile

Next we brought the Cognac Recommendation Assistant, a handy tool that allows you to answer a few simple questions and we suggest some great Cognacs determined by your personal taste.

We also grew and expanded our Cognac Subscription Service, bringing three options tailored to customers’ personal stage on their Cognac journey. With options for “Learning, Advanced, and Connoisseur”, plus the ability to customize, change, cancel, or skip at any time, it’s the ideal method by which to grow your knowledge and Cognac collection.

Looking Back: Our 9 Top 2019 Cognac Moments
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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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