Industry News

Armagnac vs Cognac Seminar with Heavenly Spirits & Hoke Harden

This year’s Society of Wine Educators Annual Convention was held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. and after a call from esteemed wine and spirits educator, Hoke Harden, we were invited to participate with him as presenters in an Armagnac vs. Cognac throwdown. However, due to unexpected Fedex shipping problems of our samples, discovered an hour before we were to begin, it almost didn’t happen. Thankfully, the day was saved by heroic efforts on the part of our distributor, Shannon Crisp, of Craft Wine & Spirits, who was able to collect the samples needed for our presentation and rush them to the convention with only minutes to spare. At the end of the day, the seminar went just as planned; Hoke slowed down his slide presentation and I don’t think any of the Master class participants even knew the stress we were feeling behind the scenes.

This tasting seminar topic, “Armagnac vs. Cognac” is something we’ve been doing for several years and it is always one of the most popular for a number of reasons. First of all, a majority of Americans have sadly never tried or even heard of Armagnac, the oldest spirit in France, yet everyone in the U.S. it seems has heard of Cognac (due to marketing from the big four). Secondly, we represent some of the finest examples of these products available anywhere, hand selected by us. Most of our suppliers are small-to-medium-sized, family-owned distilleries that have been in business for at least four generations. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the differences involved in smaller, artisinal production methods. Finally, attending one of our seminars is both educational and fun, as we share pertinent historical information, as well as personal stories about these products and producers, then we let the participants decide which quality and style is right for them.

Some of the spirits we featured in this seminar include: Du Peyrat Organic Cognac, Marie Duffau Bas Armagnac, Jean Fillioux Cognac Grande Champagne, Artez Bas Armagnac, Normandin-Mercier Cognac Fine Champagne, Dartigalongue Bas Armagnac, and Delord Bas Armagnac. As a bonus, we offered the highly-awarded Delord Blanche Armagnac before the main flight and Artez Arvani Armagnac Vanilla liqueur served both neat and on vanilla ice cream with a Nilla wafer for dessert. The SWE put on a fine event and we hope we’ll be invited back to do another one in the future.

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