A selection of 14 Books about Cognac

A selection of 14 books about Cognac.

Here you find a selection of 14 different books about Cognac. Of course we haven’t read all of them. Whether it’s cooking, about history and geology or the distilling process – you’ll find it in these books. Some of those books manage to present the relevant information in a great way, even adding unique pictures and photos of the world of Cognac.

You have the opportunity to buy Cognac books via the link at the end of each article.

1. Cognac: The Seductive Saga of the World’s Most Coveted Spirit

This is a great book. Very detailed though.

“…informative and entertaining…the sort of admirable guide you’d want on hand if you ever visited the region of contemplated buying a bottle…” (Business Traveller, 1st November 2005)

“…a good read…” (Wine International, October 2005)

Cognac isn’t just any brandy. Named after the western French town on the Charente River near Bordeaux, only those spirits distilled in the Cognac region may carry that distinction, according to a 1909 French law.
Cognac: The Seductive Saga of the World’s Most Coveted Spirit delivers plenty of factoids about the famed brandy, which has been produced there since the 1500s.
Jarrard is an American journalist and novelist based in France since 1981, when he married into a Cognac-region family.
Today, the four top-selling manufacturers, Hennessy, Remy Martin, Martell, and Courvoisier, control 74 percent of world Cognac sales, which in 2003 amounted to 1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion). Of 127 million bottles of Cognac produced in 2003, 121 million were exported, according to the Cognac trade bureau.
Jarrard offers picturesque details about how the industry leaders got started: Hennessy Cognacs was founded by Richard Hennessy, an 18th-century Irish soldier of fortune who fought for French King Louis XV, after which he stumbled onto the Cognac region and decided to get into the less perilous business of distilling brandy.

Lice, Mildew
There are dramas like the 19th-century epidemic caused by a louse, the Phylloxera vastatrix, which ate the roots of vines and threatened the entire region’s production. Grape vines imported from north Texas, where chalky soil was similar to that of the Cognac region, saved the day but also caused a devastating epidemic of mildew. Both of these scourges, Jarrard gloats with the aplomb of an assimilated emigre to France, came from plants imported from the U.S.
Jarrard also freely casts blame about Cognac’s record during the Nazi occupation of World War II, when business boomed. “In 1962, after the death in Germany of Gustav Klaebisch, the Nazi Lieutenant who was overlord of wartime Cognac, some local Cognac businessmen still wanted to name a square after him,” he writes.
While this may dismay some Cognac consumers, others will be pleased to read about the Hennessy Tasting Committee, which meets at 11 a.m. daily to sample some 40 drinks, in search of perfect “elegance.”
Some brandy drinkers may legitimately prefer Armagnac, from the Gascony region south of Cognac. Or they might follow Winston Churchill, whose favorite “Dvin Brandy” is made in the Ararat Valley in Armenia; a bottle of Dvin was presented at the 1945 Yalta Conference by Joseph Stalin to Churchill, who said, “Always remember that I have taken more from brandy than brandy has taken from me.”
Readers of “Cognac” will take away lots of information about the alluring—if not, in fact, unrivaled — French brandy. ( Bloomberg News wire, March 15, 2005)

It’s fitting that a Paris-based novelist and International Herald Tribune editor should chronicle the history of the famously refined French brandy. And Jarrard does a nice job of it, offering a thorough, well-researched and objective history of cognac. He begins with a geological history of the French province of Charente, on the Atlantic coast, where the town of Cognac is located. The Romans brought the first grapes to the region, but it would be centuries before viniculture really took root there. The earliest attempts to make what we now call cognac began during the Middle Ages, as alchemists and apothecaries experimented with putting local grape pressings through their distillation apparatuses. While France evolved from a feudal kingdom into an imperial, colonial power, the cognac-making process developed, although factors like weather and warfare often prevented distilleries from obtaining the necessary raw materials. By the Napoleonic era, however, cognac began appearing on the world market, and its makers worked at refining their product and their methods as demand for the elegant, amber, aromatic brandy increased. Jarrard brings the story to the present, examining the various brands dominating the market today, including Hennessy, Rémy-Martin and Courvoisier. Although a more driving narrative and some strongly defined characters would’ve given this text more life, it’s a must for aficionados. B&w photos. (Mar.) (Publishers Weekly, January 10, 2005)

2. The Little Book of Cognac

The United States is the number one market worldwide for cognac, with sales nearly 40 million bottles, reflecting the rare quality, diversity and sophistication that cognac offers. This book provides in valuable information and is the perfect introduction for a wine lover ready to experience the intricacies of cognac. All aspects are covered, including it’s history and production.

Flammarion presents its series of informative, richly illustrated guides, covering lifestyle and cultural topics. Find out everything you want to know about your favorite subject in one handy volume.

• Unique thematic treatment with extensive use of key words and cross-referencing
• Over 70 alphabetically organized bite-sized entries in every title
• Attractive slimline format
• 100 color illustrations
• Summaries of key facts and dates in easy-reference tables
• Exclusive buyer’s guide or list of useful addresses to find out more

3. Cognac – by Nicholas Faith

This illuminating study of cognac—written by an internationally recognized expert and leading authority on the subject—explores the fascinating, often dramatic history of this spirit and the world-famous town of its origin. Nicholas Faith tells an extraordinary story of fraud and reveals how it helped provide the foundation for the system of control that now protects its manufacture and sale. He closely examines every aspect of cognac’s increasing prominence in today’s markets, gives detailed profiles of cognac’s key producers, and presents a full account of the intricate production techniques used to make cognac. To top it off, there’s a complete guide to drinking and enjoying the wide range of cognacs available worldwide.
Nicholas Faith’s first wine book, The Winemasters, was published in 1978 and won the André Simon award. He is the author of Mitchell Beazley’s Classic Wine Library Cognac, which won the Gourmand Best Spirit Book 2004, as well as other well-received works on Champagne and on major Bordeaux châteaux.
About Nicolas Faith

Nicholas Faith’s first wine book, The Winemasters was published in 1978 and won the Andre Simon award. He has written other well-received works on Champagne and on major Bordeaux chateaux, including The Winemasters of Bordeaux. He was editorial director of the leading French wine magazine L’Amateur de Bordeaux. He is also the author of Mitchell Beazley’s Classic Wine Library Cognac and Australia’s Liquid Gold in this same series, and he writes for numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Financial Times. Nicholas lives in London. Craig Easton’s philosophy is that a great picture captures a moment and conveys a message. His curiosity about people and the lives they lead started him in his career and his style is defined by work that appears in a number of international publications, including The Independent.

4. Cognac: A Liquid History

It’s called the noble spirit and king of brandies–and who better to explain why than the celebrated bartender and world expert on cognac? This royal drink is his obsession, and before you’re through with these elegantly illustrated, information-filled pages, it will be yours, too. Calabrese introduces the leading families and houses in the business and, decade by decade, gives the fascinating, sinful, and seductive history of cognac. Here, too, are the personal stories of those in the small area in France who produce the golden liquid, a summary of the distillation process from grape to cask to bottle, tasting notes for a selection of the finest vintages, tips of the trade, and handsome photography. An insightful reflection on a very special liquor.

Salvatore Calabrese is Bar Manager at the prestigious Lanesborough Hotel in London. Well known throughout the world as an author, cognac expert, and creator of many unique drinks, he is one of only a few experts on vintage cognac. Among the many honors he has received are The Campari Bartender of the Year award; the Chevalerie du Verre Galant, the Chevalier l’Ordre des Côteaux de Champagne, and winner of the Lea & Perrins International Healthy Cocktails Competition. His books include the bestseller Classic Cocktails, which has sold more than 150,000 copies.

272 pages

5. Cognac

Handsomely illustrated, this comprehensive guide to one of the world’s classic spirits features an annotated alphabetical listing of the finest brands–more than 100 producers. The entries contain extensive tasting notes describing aroma and flavor and providing information about the quality and individual character of each brand. 167 illustrations, 156 in color.
Text: English, translated from German.

6. Die Cognac- und Weinsprit Fabrikation (Deutsch)

A German book. 170 pages and it is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.

7. Cooking with Cognac

First published in French in 1978 under the title “Le Cognac Gastronome”. Eels stewed in wine sauce a la Charentaise, steak au poivre flambé, chicken liver pate, zabaglione with cognac…

8. Le Cognac

50 pages about the famous eaux-de-vie from Charente, Southwest France.

Hommage à la liqueur des dieux à travers son histoire, sa fabrication, son terroir.

9. Cognac and Other Brandies

98 pages of Cognac and description of other brandies, spirits and beverages.

10. Cognac Cookery

57 pages of Cognac Cookery… could be interesting. Haven’t read that one.

11. Cognac: The Illustrated Guide to the History and Taste of Cognac

Presenting the most up-to-date illustrated guide to cognac! Here is the intriguing history of this delicious spirit, and a discussion of its increasing prominence in today’s markets. The first part explores the intricate and diverse methods of producing cognac, and tells the extraordinary story of a brandy-producing region that fought to establish its own name and place. The second section describes how to get the most enjoyment out of drinking this superb liquor, and offers a selection of cocktail recipes. There is also advice on choosing the perfect cognac glass, matching different ages and styles to your personal taste, and even pairing a glass with a fine cigar. A directory—illustrated with cognac labels—profiles more than 100 top varieties, and provides details on the producer plus the author’s own tasting notes.

Nicholas Faith’s first wine book, The Winemasters, was published in 1978 and won the André Simon award. He is the author of Mitchell Beazley’s Classic Wine Library Cognac, which won the Gourmand Best Spirit Book 2004, as well as other well-received works on Champagne and on major Bordeaux châteaux.

12. The Cognac Companion: A Connoisseur’s Guide

Ideal for the cognac connoisseur or the avid armchair traveler, here you will learn the history of cognac, the challenging production techniques, what qualities impart distinctive taste, tips for tasting, and a complete gazetteer of great cognac houses, with notes on individual styles and differences, and whether visitors are received. Full-color photos and illustrations.

“I purchased this book as a Christmas gift for my Cognac-loving fiance and wrapped it up with a bottle of Congnac. He was so thrilled with the book that he actually liked it more than his new tasty beverage!

The best part of this book is the many pages dedicated to the history of Cognac and the various brands and sub-brands. I now know the meaning of VSOP, and I learned that Cognac is named after the town of Cognac in France. And I had no idea that Cognac was basically a descendant of Brandy!

The book is great for someone just beginning to explore Cognac (you might be surprised to learn that certain drinks you’ve tasted before are actually Cognac). But it’s also good for experienced Cognac drinkers who are intersted in learning a little more. There’s great tips on how to read a Cognac label and what type of drinkware to use. We’ve used this book as a reference for months now, and I can honestly say it’s been one of the smartest purchases I’ve made.

It’s not a large book, but the information is plentiful, making it a great coffee table book.”

“If you wonder what XO or Fine Champagne stands for this book is for you. The Cognac Companion provides helpful information on how to read Cognac labels, what glassware to use, and if your favorite Cognac house accepts visitors. The Cognac house listing is a great way to expand your knowledge beyond what you might find in your local retailer. I would recommend this book to the casual consumer as well as the connoisseur.”

224 pages

13. A taste for Cognac

A 64 pages fiction book. I have no idea how the story is like, but I found it somehow interesting. On the cover it says:

“She spotted Michael Shayne by his red hair just before everything exploded into violence and bloodshed.”

14. World of Cognac (Hardcover)

Cognac, a product of the land, climate & traditional know-how of the Charente region of France, is the world’s favorite brandy. Its celebrity is due to the innovations of generations of winegrowers, distillers & above all merchants who, from the 16th century on, went to great lengths to introduce to the world the wonders of cognac. From the small vineyards of the Grande Champagne area to the major multinational producers such as Hennessy, Martell & Remy Martin, over 80 different houses of cognac are presented in this book. Here you will discover the richness & variety too little known even in its country of origin. Beautiful color photographs by Matthieu Prier & Jean-March Lalier. Translated from the French.

Hardcover: 160 pages

Comments (3)

  1. Mroe68 March 14, 2010 at 2:42 am

    Thanks for the list. Would be great if you could add french books, too.

    A nice book about Cognac and Brandy you might have missed is COGNAC COUNTRY.

  2. nathalie raissac June 3, 2010 at 5:45 am

    There is also this book in french that i just finished and found very interesting and that you could add to your list : Cognac, la saga d’un esprit by croit vif !

  3. nathalie raissac June 3, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Actually, COGNAC, LA SAGA D’UN ESPRIT is by an american author Kyle Jarrard (and not by croit vif which is the publishing company).

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