Larsen Cognac barrel ‘first’ to age on Atlantic Ocean
Larsen has sent one of its casks out to sea to the 19th-century Napoleonic Fort Boyard, making it the first house to finish a Cognac on the Atlantic Ocean.
Cognac Larsen transported a barrel of its new Hymne au Voyage Cognac to the 20-metre-high sea fort in April, which sits between the Île-d’Aix and the Île d’Oléron on the west coast of France at the mouth of the Charentes River. It will remain in the Fort for several months.
Jean Larsen, son of Jens Reidar Larsen, who established the house in 1926, distilled the eaux-de-vie for this Cognac batch more than 40 years ago.
The liquid was decanted five years ago and blended by Larsen’s current master blender, Robert Andrieu, to create Hymne au Voyage, which translates as a ‘tribute to travel’.
The brand aims to replicate the ageing conditions that Cognac would have undergone hundreds of years ago and see how maritime weather affects the finished product.
Jérôme Durand, Larsen managing director, was granted permission to age the barrel in Fort Boyard after nearly two years’ negotiation with the Charente Regional Council.
Andrieu said: “I have no idea what the result of this unorthodox third maturation at sea will be. No one has done it before.
“Traditionally, shallow boats – gabarres – were loaded with barrels of Cognac. These travelled down Atlantic coast, before crossing oceans to markets all over the world.
“The sea and sea travel had an unquestionable influence on the final ageing of eaux-de-vie in barrel, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries.”