Cognacs are a thing of beauty. Named after the commune of Cognac, France, the drink is produced in the surrounding wine-growing regions of Charente and Charente-Maritime. The French say it's made from l’eau de vie which translates to ‘water of life’. The grape varietals used for producing the cognac include ugni blanc, Folle Blanche and colombard. Some lesser-known grapes are used in small quantities. These include jurançon blanc, sémillon and folignan, to name a few.
The French undoubtedly produce great Cognacs, however, you need to know which cognac to drink to enjoy it the way it's meant to be. The Bartender Spirits Awards, judged by exemplary bartenders, bar managers and off-premise managers for the on-premise industry is the perfect competition to trust in such a scenario. The true influencers of the bar industry are the bartenders, who, with their passion, knowledge and taste are able to drive consumers in the right direction with their unbiased choices. They did the same, except that this time they had a pen in their hands.
At the 2021 Bartender Spirits Awards, judges like Eryn Reece (Head Bartender at Banzarbar, New York); Christopher Longoria (Bar Director at Che Fico, San Francisco); Natasha Mesa (Head Bartender and Bar Manager at Deadshot PDX, Portland) and more judged spirits from around the world. They rated spirits based on their quality, value and packaging to bring the U.S. bar trade its next set of top-shelf drinks. This year saw entries from 45 countries and only a select few had the distinction of being the best.
Cognac Jean Fillioux, Source Facebook
Among those spirits awarded the highest of scores and conferred with the top awards was the Jean Fillioux Cognac Grande Champagne La Pouyade from Jean Fillioux. The cognac was recognized as Brandy Cognac of the Year with a double gold medal and tally of 97 points. It was also awarded the Best Value of the Year Spirit at the competition.
The Jean Fillioux story
Started in 1894 at La Pouyade, their estate to this day, Jean Fillioux is the story of a wonderful family of spirits producers. A family of master blenders and avid travelers, the Jean Fillioux story travels through time. The initial seeds for the distillery were sown in 1880 when Honoré Fillioux, a technician, got married. His wife owned a vineyard 3 km away from Juillac-le-Coq called the property of “Puits”. Honoré decided it was time to start their own brand here, initially naming the brand H. Fillioux. In 1894, Honoré acquired the “Domaine de la Pouyade” in 1894 and renamed the brand Jean Fillioux.
Cognac Jean Fillioux, Source Website
Honoré’s son Jean took the mantle of sales, getting the bottles to Europe, other regions of France and the USA during his travels. He was also one of the first people to export the Grande Champagne during his travels to Japan in the 1960s. Jean Fillioux increased the size of the vineyards so that his son Michel could take the brand to greater heights. Jean also increased the stocks of the brand, which went on to become the first vintages offered by the Jean Fillioux brand.
Michel and his wife found extensive clientele across France, developing on the trust a lot of the companies and groceries had in them as the brand that supplied the best Grande Champagne. Under Michel, the Jean Fillioux brand won numerous accolades including the prestigious Cep d’Or award of the International quality in 1972.
The reins were then handed over to Pascal Fillioux. Influenced by his internships at Beaulieu Vineyards in the USA in the 1970s, Pascal brought a new cask ageing technique to the brand. He created many exceptional vintages along with the blends of La Pouyade or the Réserve Familiale which helped elevate the Jean Fillioux brand to where it stands today. The current chapter of the brand is written by Michel and Monique’s son Christophe.
Pascal Fillioux and Christophe Fillioux, Source: Website
Christophe Fillioux inherited the Jean Fillioux brand from his father in 2015 and thus the fifth generation of the Fillioux family began to put its imprints on the story. Christophe’s first challenge was to increase the stock of cognacs. He also plans on building a new cellar by 2025. Christophe along with his team of Christine, Emma, Phillipe and Virginie have already got a piece of history with them with the victory at the 2021 Bartender Spirits Awards.
The best cognac in the world!
A rather young Grande Champagne Cognac, the Jean Fillioux Cognac Grande Champagne La Pouyade is a complex and perfectly balanced cognac expression. Floral notes of spring flowers lend a very interesting personality to the cognac. A very lively cognac with aromas of fresh fruits exploding on the palate which is full of flavors of apricot, greengage and grapes along with subtle notes of almond.
The Jean Fillioux Cognac Grande Champagne La Pouyade is the perfect cognac for a party with friends. Accompany it with some toasts of smoked salmon, blue cheese or pate de foie gras. If you wish to keep it simple, it can also be paired with sausages or dried ham. The cognac can be enjoyed neat, with some ice (just a little) or with some cool sparkling water. The perfect end of an afternoon drink to recover from a busy day. A cognac with the potential to become a favorite of whiskey lovers.
The distillery also produces other great expressions that have been divided into classics, vintages, cognacs of exception and decanters of style and prestige. From the Cep D’or and Cigar Club cognac to the 1994 vintage and Moulin Rouge XO, Jean Fillioux’s team knows how to produce great cognacs, one after the other. To see what the Fillioux family does next, make sure you follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Header Image- Cognac Jean Fillioux, Source Website