October 25, 2021
Cognac’s only female distiller is pushing the boundaries of terroir as she crafts her vision of the future
The term auteur is often reserved for filmmakers. Francis Truffaut, Alexandre Astruc, Paul Thomas Anderson – filmmakers who artistic control is so great, they are considered the “author” of the film. Such is the artistic expression of Fanny Fougerat’s brandy, one could reasonably call her an Auteur of Cognac.
Though Fanny Fougerat is a 4th generation distiller, she is the first in her family to bottle her own Cognac. She also happens to be the only woman in Cognac doing so. With 30 hectares of plantings in Borderies and the Fin Bois, Fanny perhaps considers herself a farmer and winemaker first. Producing complex, floral eaux-die-vie that Borderies is known for, Fanny maximizes the impact of terroir by using extended lees aging and mostly neutral barrels to age her brandy. Additionally she doesn’t use any additives so each of her Cognac’s is complex, flavorful and unique.
There is no cloying sweetness, nothing vague about these brandies. The flavors are so nuanced it’s as if you’re sniffing a glass of Grand Cru Burgundy. It’s one thing to be interesting, it’s another to be interesting AND delicious. Fanny Fougerat accomplishes both and her Cognacs are better suited for a night out on the town than for a quiet evening by the fireplace in a smoking jacket.
Fanny’s overall production level is quite limited – only 13,000 bottles annually – so we are happy to offer 3 out of her 4 current Cognac releases.
The Petit Cigüe is her VSOP. Bold, fruity and tangy with citrus undertones, this is an incredible entry point into the world of Fanny Fougerat. A delicate acidity on the finish lifts up all the fruit flavor and makes this a VSOP worth spending a few hours on.
The Iris Poivre is her XO, again mostly spent in neutral barrels so you’re not going to get a lot of those heavy wood notes. Dried apricot, toffee, honeysuckle, peach cobbler with orange blossom and lemon citrus circulate both on the nose and palate. A rich creaminess again gives way to a subtle acidity that encourages one to drink all too quickly.
Arguably the star of a show of stars, the Le Laurier d'Apollon Limited Edition Cognac is one of the most fascinating Cognacs I’ve ever tasted.. Only five barrels of the single harvest were made, from the chalky soils of Petite Champagne, one of the region’s most sought-after growths. Aged in oak long enough to be considered a V.S.O.P., it's not labeled that way because it's so fine it transcends the normal age scale. No additions like caramel are made, meaning this small-batch Cognac boasts an enticingly fresh feel. It combines a wonderfully aromatic palette with a style that's both rich and powerful. Sweet spice, cedar, herbs, leather and pepper give way to orchard fruit, roast coffee bean and purple flower. The layers seem to go on and on with a smoothness that makes the alcohol seem to flutter away.