If we had to create an alias for Jacques Petit, the owner and master blender of André Petit Cognac, it would be ‘The Heisenberg of Cognac’, after the lead character, Walt, in the series Breaking Bad. Of course, Jacques doesn’t have a tragic backstory and bring us illegal substances—instead he weaves his magic in the natural chemical reactions that take place within the Cognac barrel.

André Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac
Magical things occur within oak barrels to create the wonder that is André Petit Cognac

We’re proud to count Jacques Petit not only as one of our neighbours, but also as a close friend. So come with us as we regale the tale of how Sophie and Max were taken under the great man’s wing as they forged their own path into the enchanting world of Cognac.

André Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac
Jacques Petit was pivotal in Sophie and Max’s Cognac education

A pathway to yester-year

To understand how our love affair with the Cognacs of André Petit began it’s necessary to delve into the intricacies and unique character of the house. This tiny craft brand began its journey around 1850, when the weaver, Monsieur Goulard—the great, great grandfather of Jacques Petit—built a distillery and began producing Cognac from his own small cultivation of vines.

Fast forward to 1921 and, two generations later, Jacques grandmother married Albert Petit, and the vineyard and brand embraced the couples surname, becoming known simply as ‘Petit’. In time the business was, as is the tradition in the Cognac region, handed down to their son, André Petit, father of today’s cellar master and owner, Jacques.

André Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac
The iconic, delightfully rustic sign that announces you’re at the house of André Petit Cognac

1965: A momentous moment

André Petit certainly wasn’t afraid of a little controversy, and—still using the most traditional methods to create eau-de-vie—decided to take the step of bringing their own brand to market. But not only did he decide to market André Petit Cognac, he also ended the lucrative contract the house had that provided eau-de-vie to the behemoth of all companies, Hennessy. 

A brave move, and one that epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit of the family behind the brand, not to mention the wonderful opportunity to bring their own unique take to the art of Cognac creation.

Sophie, Max, and the birth of a lasting friendship

One of the earliest memories both Sophie and Max have is of visiting the home of Le Maine Giraud Cognac with their father. This impressive chateau was once the home of novelist and playwright, Alfred de Vigny, a wonderful location for another traditionally produced artisan Cognac. Indeed, it was the favorite of Sophie and Max’s father, something that left a lasting impression on the youngsters who would one day found the global platform that is Cognac Expert.

André Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac
Sophie and Jacque Petit

The delights of the artisan creation, the traditional, and the story behind the Cognac their father favored, the brother and sister team were  keen to find their own such magic. Fate most definitely intervened when their paths became intertwined with one of their closest neighbors, that of Jacques Petit.

Now let’s be very clear, in rural Cognac a neighbor isn’t someone you chat to over the garden fence—their estate of André Petit at Berneuil is some 15 kms (10 miles) away from the home of Sophie and Max. But meet they did, and their mutual love of Cognac saw Jacques become not only their friend, but their mentor into everything to do with art of enjoying Cognac. This includes, incidentally, the planting and cultivation of the vines themselves, something that Sophie and Max are currently re-introducing to their own estate.

André Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac
The vineyards of André Petit

The chemistry of Cognac

The aging process of Cognac is where the magic happens. If there’s anyone in the region—or indeed the industry—who truly understands the chemical reactions that take place during the long years eau-de-vie spends whiling away within the barrel, it has to be Jacques Petit. His own background in the subject of chemistry provides him with an understanding that’s truly at a higher level than most. And the proof is certainly in the Cognacs he creates.

The house of André Petit isn’t grand—it’s a beautiful traditional house, boasting rolling vines and bordered by a quintessential Roman church so typical of the region. Sophie and Max are frequent visitors, sipping Cognac and putting the world to rights in the wonderful entrance hall that’s home to 60s style decorations, hanging postcards, and the inimitable scent of delicious eau-de-vie.

André Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac
The 1960s-esque entrance hall and ‘tasting room’ at the estate

Any visitors to Sophie and Max’s estate, Logis de Beaulieu, are always offered the opportunity to visit the house of André Petit, and Jacques is sure to provide the warmest of welcomes.

André Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac
The Petit estate in fall

The rebel inside…

Jacques has most definitely inherited his father’s sense of entrepreneurialship and a delightful sense of individuality that’s brings truly unique Cognacs to market. He firmly believes that each and every year’s harvest brings its own game-changing nuances from the vine to the glass. Not for him the standardized (dare we say, boring?) taste of each and every bottle, no matter the different eaux-de-vie within. Instead, he embraces the character each year brings, and this truly makes the Cognacs of André Petit one for both the connoisseur to appreciate and the beginner who’s keen to understand the difference Mother Nature brings with the fruits of her harvest.

André Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac
The André Petit XO Extra in its showstopping decanter

Cognacs of note: Cognacs to treasure

We love the fact that André Petit Cognacs are such a well-kept secret. Not available internationally, up until now only the privileged few in the know are even aware that the brand exists. But we’re delighted to tell you that this is about to change, as we’re proud to announce that we’re soon to launch the brand to our global readership.

If you’ve not already done so, be sure to sign up for our Newsletter, follow the brand, or sent the word ‘Petit’ to us via WhatsApp to our number at the bottom of this post, and we’ll let you know just as soon as it’s available.

We particularly love the XO and the wonderful limited edition that is the André Petit Hors d’Age Reserve Familiale.

André Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac
Aged to perfection, the André Petit Hors d’Age Reserve Familiale

The whole Cognac Expert team continue to be astounded that Cognacs of such quality are offered at such great value. Those of you who were lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle of our first limited edition Cognac, Sophie & Max Sélection Nº 1, will already be familiar with quite how good Jacque’s Cognacs are, as this was produced in collaboration with him. It sold out almost immediately, and is a project we’re particularly proud of.

André Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac
The production of Sophie & Max Sélection Nº 1 was in collaboration with Jacques Petit

The home of tradition

Another aspect we adore about André Petit Cognac is that the whole method of production is carried out using only the most traditional of methods. From hand picking the grapes to using only his incredible sense of smell and taste to determine exactly when the Cognacs are ready to drink, this is the closest you’ll ever get to enjoying eau-de-vie created solely thanks to the skill of the man—there’s not a piece of tech in sight…

In addition, Jacques is also passionate that that his bottle, labels, and everything to do with his Cognacs remains true to the traditions of his forefathers. You only need look at the design of the label of the recently re-introduced André Petit Napoléon Cognac, a throwback to when it was last on the market in the 1980s, but with a curiously clever take that makes it completely up to date. We love the design—what do you think?

André Petit: The Alchemist of Cognac
The re-introduced André Petit Napoleon Cognac

A multifaceted producer of pear liqueur, Pineau, and green tea Cognac liqueur…

Not only is this house a master of Cognac, but they are also keen on experimentation. They produce a range of stunning regional Pineaux des Charentes – the famous fortified grape wine made with matured grapes and eaux-de-vie.

Jacques himself has created the likes of the Cuvée Yann, which is an exact blend between Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes, and also his Red and White Pineau – which demonstrate the power of different grapes variety including Colombard, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Ugni Blanc.

In collaboration with Claire Coates, the former head of marketing at the Cognac body BNIC, André Petit created a stunning selecting of Cognac liqueurs infused with green tea – under the name SO YANG Cognac.

Their work doesn’t stop there – they even have their very own Cognac pear liqueur, which is a gorgeous blend of Williams pears and eaux-de-vie.

From the heart of the Cognac region to your table

For anyone who craves the authentic, who appreciates the finer things in life, or who simply wants to increase their knowledge of the wonder that is Cognac, then join us in what we think is our discovery of a lifetime—the iconic Cognacs from André Petit.

Once the only chance visitors to France had to taste the wonderful Cognacs of André Petit was to take a trip along the Seine River in Paris on one of the famous Bateaux Mouche boats, where his Cognacs used to be served. That’s not possible any more, but happily we’re about to bring you the opportunity to have these incredible masterpieces delivered directly to your door, wherever you might live in the world.

For the unique opportunity to buy André Petit Cognac, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, follow the brand or send us a message via WhatsApp:

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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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