Last week we were invited to La Part des Anges, the annual charity auction gala at Château de Brillac near the town of Cognac. Every year, the BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel de Cognac) organizes this charity event in order to do good in the world; this year it was by supporting the Red Cross. Every cognac house participating creates and donates a special edition bottle especially for the occasion. This year, an incredible 175,450 euros were raised, a record sum for La Part des Anges. Find out more about this year’s bottles and decanters in our previous article about La Part des Anges 2013.

So, here’s an account of what was a wonderful evening…


We arrived at the Chateau in the evening to a massive crowd of around 650 people, all from the world of cognac.  Wow, we thought it would be a much smaller event!  Feeling slightly overwhelmed by this gigantic audience, we smiled for the camera on the red carpet as we faced the crowd. Of course we’re used to communicating to hundreds of thousands of people per month, but never in person.

Beautiful cocktails were being served, including the classic Cognac Summit and the more experimental Cosmopolitan – both with cognac as their base ingredient, naturally. We loved the Cosmopolitan.  In fact, it was Patrice Pinet from Courvoisier who first introduced us to this drink.  It was a very elegant start to the event, with all the guests standing outside in front of the impressive French Chateau sipping their cocktails and engaging in polite cognac conversation. We saw good friends, but also were excited to have the chance to meet some other really great people who we’d not yet had the chance to become acquainted with.

But what made the evening extra specia was that we were not only invited by the BNIC to attend as guests, but that we were in fact receiving an honorary award: The Cognac Award 2013.  Cognac Expert was receiving this award for special achievement in the world of cognac, presented by none other than the BNIC President, Monsieur Morel and Director, Madame Le Page. We were so proud for to have been recognised in this manner.

It’s been four years now that we’ve been bringing news from the magical world of cognac to cognac lovers around the world. And believe it or not, we gave a speech in front of those 650 guests – in French! It was pretty scary…but we got incredible feedback afterwards. Perhaps the cognac industry had been rejuvenated a little? After having been called to the stage we were given an engraved bottle of Extra Cognac we might not ever open, because it’s a wonderful souvenir.

(Find our speech later on our blog, we’ll paste the link here.)

We saw friends and supporters from Bache-Gabrielsen, Hennessy, and HINE.  The De Luze team sat at the table next to us, and the fabulous Distillerie des Moisans team was in great spirits. It was also good to see the head honchos from Prince Polignac and Hardy – Benedicte Hardy was charming as ever. Then there were new contacts that we made.  For instance, from French WhiskyMag & Fine Spirits and Tom Fischer from BourbonBlog.  We were congratulated by a whole bunch of people, and have never shaken so many hands IN OUR LIVES.  Even a minister from the European Union stood up after our speech to express her gratitude.  Basically, everybody from the business was there, from Ferrand’s Alexandre Gabriel, to Norwegian Cognac Blogger Andreas, and many, many more…

We were also delighted to meet Mister Man’s Chan from Hong Kong, a very knowleageble man when it comes to cognac.  He owns the largest mini-bottle collection in the world (an insane 14.000 bottles), and as if this wasn’t enough, he’s also got another thousand bottles of rare vintage cognacs mainly from the 1950s and 60s.  You should visit his website – definitely worth a look for  every cognac enthusiast.

A very interesting and motivating conversation was with Rémy Cointreau’s Directeur Génerale, Frédérique Pflanz, who was keen to find out more about our activites.  In fact, he’s said that when we reach the one million hits per month that we are anticipating in the nearish future, Rémy shall invite us for dinner…  Wow.  So let’s make these 1 million hits soon.

And get this: We even gave an interview to German broadcaster ARD/Bavarian Broadcast for an upcoming radio feature – all very exciting. We’ll post the link once the feature is online.

Our friend, Vincent Gerard-Tasset, who is the auctioneer of the Part des Anges, a friend of the family and a regular at our home, was in great shape.  The auction itself was split in three parts, and it was really impressive to watch. Vincent is not only a good auctioneer, but he managed to keep it fun and diplomatic at the same time.  Try to imagine all these different cognac houses, and one auctioneer who is supposed to push up the bidding prices.

The most expensive cognac was the Louis XIII Jeroboam which was sold for 32k€.  And we also shouldn mention Hardy’s Printemps, which was really popular.

Auction Sales

DE LUZE GÉNÉRATIONS sold for 2,000 €, HINE’s 250 year decanter sold for 12,000 €, Hennessy Part des Anges Edition 1900 sold for 20,000 € (a beautiful bottle), LEOPOLD GOURMEL QUINTESSENCE 30 CARATS CRISTAL DECANTER sold for 1,500 €, BACHE-GABRIELSEN, L’ASSEMBLAGE sold for 3,500 €, MARTELL THE CELLAR MASTER SELECTION sold for 11,000 € . PRINCE HUBERT DE POLIGNAC KNIGHT TRUNK sold for 10,000 € and COGNAC HARDY, “LE PRINTEMPS” sold for 13,000 €. See all the cognacs from the auction at BNIC’s Part des Anges website.

By the way: The dinner was marvellous, of course. With every course we were served a good wine and, naturally, some cognac, starting with a VSOP. The dinner was created by the chefs of the big cognac houses, a very special commitment.  We’d like to express our sincerest thanks once again to the BNIC and everyone else for this superb event.

Copyright of first Image(s): ©BNIC/Tanguy de Montesson/Albane de Roffignac 

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Max is a spirits expert and speaker, into marketing, technology, startups, and business development. He’s also a farmer. He likes tools and machines, Game of Thrones, and Better Call Saul. Included in his Top 10 Cognacs are the Audry XO and Bache Gabrielsen 1973. Max founded Cognac Expert in 2010 at his family’s estate in Poullignac, in the Cognac region, France. Started as a blog, today Cognac Expert is the world’s largest website about all things Cognac, a blog, and a specialized online shop featuring 800+ different Cognac bottles.

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