- Delamain are bottlers, not distillers. Typical of the small independents, Delamain bottle in a year what Hennessy produce in a day.
- Age-wise, “The Delamain range starts where others end” – at around 25yo.
- They use really really old Cognac that’s fallen below 40% to reduce their blends down to 40% abv. Using around 15%>40% Cognac, their reducing process takes around 18 months.
- Their blends are then married for around two years.
A Grande Champagne blend averaging around 25 years in age.
- C: It’s in the name. Lacking richness and body, the minimum bottling strength telling, this was initially underwhelming. But as time went by I became enchanted by its soft whispering spell. In context of the older offerings in the Delamain range, this is competitively priced. Online from £70, though many are asking nearer £100, I simply had to buy a bottle
Scores 84 points
Here’s a novel flavour profile approach for the XO Pale & Dry, from distiller.com:
Delamain XO Vesper  Ob. Grande Champagne 40% WF85
Around 35 years old.
- N: Richer than the Pale & Dry,..
- T: .., and broader, though less gainly.
- F: Gentle sweet chalky fungal finish.
- C: The younger, richer, fresher Cognacs I tried at the show hadn’t noticeably suffered from a 40% bottling strength, but these creaking XO oldies require some support.
Scores 82 points
Delamain Tres Venerable  Ob. Grande Champagne 40%
This I’m told is 40-45yo juice with an abv of 45%, reduced to 40%, again using weaker Cognac. Let’s hope this practise suits the Tres Venerable a little better than it did for the XO’s.
- N: Malty-like and fruity-fungal, here’s an oldie still with a spring in its step.
- T: A little pokey & oaky with chalk, char & popcorn and a waxy-oily chew. The abv is probably right here. A higher strength might have made it even more pokey otherwise.
- F: I only noted that I found it grape-y-winey & char-y, but there was plenty more action besides.
- C: Really, I needed an hour with this. It comes in at £330 [May 2018].
Provisionally scores 85
Delamain Extra  Ob. Grande Champagne 40%
More really old Cognac, 40-50 years I’m told. The ambassador gave this one a big thumbs up.
- N: Thumbs up indeed. Fruity [Mirabelle plums, gala melon>pear>ripe apple]>waxy>fungal,… this one knocks the previous Delamain’s out of the park.
- T: For me, fruity~fungal par excellence.
- F: Ashy fruity>fungal. Ideal once again.
- C: Without any strength issues whatsoever, this is finely balanced and effortlessly consolidated extra-mature Cognac with rancio undertones. A cracker to finish, with thanks to Hugh.
Scores 88 points
- http://www.delamain-cognac.fr [currently under construction]
AND OF THE SHOW ITSELF?
The first of its kind, The Cognac Show was beautifully executed by Sukhinder Singh and TWE team. Set in the exquisite grand old, relaxed, cosy & comfortable Bloomsbury House in central London, visitors experienced a fine array of exhibitors, masterclasses and quality Cognac. With just the right numbers for this fitting venue, the show offered a golden opportunity for people like myself, from different drinks backgrounds/experiences, to become acquainted with Cognac, its processes and some of the people behind the products.
I learned a great deal, my appreciation & respect for Cognac increased exponentially and I even bought a bottle! I only wish I had also visited Vallein-Tercinier. Next year!
With so many Cognac houses in operation [‘over 300 houses and close to 600 direct vendors & a few co-ops‘ – cognac.fr], I expect The Cognac Show to grow and flourish. I do hope it returns to London year on year, and hopefully, with Darroze making an appearance. Bravo!