Back to the email from Mr. Palazzi:
A friend of mine sent me the link to your post: and YES there are some great stuff out there and not necessarily made by big houses.
Truth is, few people actually know that cognac is like wine in that sense that there are as many styles, flavor and aroma profile as they are guys (girls?) distilling and aging this spirit.
Most of the stuff out there is “manufactured” and artificially brought down to 40% so more bottles can be sold by making some extra volume, adding distilled water to the eau-de-vie.
For a VS or VSOP, I agree, a bit of liquid sugar will help making the brandy smoother, a tad of boise will help with the natural pale golden color.
But now for the older stuff (and by that I do not mean all the XOs out there but really the older ones, those XOs that are – or should I say “taste” - 30+ years) 2/3 of what’s on the market has been made quickly, not respecting the time necessary for the components within the different cognacs blended to marry etc… making the best selling XOs plain bad…
To try to give a voice to the small guys and make people understand that they are artisan cognacs really worth being discovered I have started a one-man-operation artisanal cognac company based out of New York. Working by myself and being self-funded (which basically means that I am operating on a pretty limited, finite, amount of money…) I am relying on word of mouth and the help from my friends to let people know what I do and develop my business.
Bellow is who I am and what I do. Please read bellow….
How I got into Cognac:
Raised into a wine making family in the Bordeaux area (AOC Cotes de Bourg), my grand father’s best friend – Pierre – is an 80 years old gentleman, the 9th generation cognac maker in his family (see pic; and no, it is not staged…). His two sons are not interested in taking over the business. Pierre has been my mentor for years; he taught me all I know. He introduced me to all his friends small cognac distillers and allowed me to have access to some very special casks in those people’s family’s cellar. Two years ago I ended up purchasing the best part of Pierre’s own family cellar.
What I do:
1- I started 2 years ago by selling single casks of special cognacs from my cellar (some coming from Pierre, others from people I met through him and from whom I purchased single casks) to private collectors who wanted to have their own unique house cognac.
2- a year ago I decided to import the cognacs from 2 small families (Guillon-Painturaud and Paul Beau) from the Grande Champagne area – both at the opposite end of the spectrum as far as aroma/flavor profile as the distillation and ageing/maturation techniques are completely different.
3- six months ago I have started bottling under my own label - Paul-Marie & Fils - one of those precious casks I was, at first, selling to collectors. My goal here is to release on the traditional market once or twice a year a single cask of something (cognac or pineau) that I find really extraordinary; something with quite some age to it, elegant and out-of-the-beaten-path, something that I bottle myself, unblended, unfiltered and at cask strength so whoever will drink this can experience the closest sensation from being in one of Cognac’s best family cellar and drinking/tasting from the cask.
Hence to look for special casks and work on my cognac project in general I spend roughly 2 weeks a month in Cognac, the rest in the US.
For a bit more info, you can go to my website: www.npalazziwine.com
You re obviously in Hamburg; I have never been and do not sell there.
Now you seem to know what you re talking about so I would simply take the liberty to suggest one thing:
Go on www.winesearcher.com, look up for Paul Beau Hors d’Age; it s one of the cognacs I import and distribute in the US; I have obviously no financial interest in you buying some where you are at but still, I am into education, trying to get people to discover new things…so try it, and tell me.
And then may be one day you ll be inclined to look for my own stuff.