Saturday 17 December 2011

The production of alcohol

Our Christmas pudding wouldn't be a Christmas pudding unless we poured lighted brandy over it.  I'm not saying we use the top quality brandy that used to be produced in the distillery shown here.

The postcard shows the distillery of Bisquit Cognac.  The House of Bisquit was founded in 1819 by Alexandre Bisquit at Château de Lignères but, in the way of so many things, it was sold to a bigger business, Ricard Pernod in 1966, who only two years ago sold it on to a South African company, Distell.  Once it was one of the biggest vineyards in the Cognac area.

After double distilling the wine produced by the local white grapes, the eau-de-vie is put into oak casks and left to age in cellars for at least two and a half years and up to 15 or 20 years.  The ageing gives the brandy flavour and colour.  During this time the alcohol content evaporates at a rate of about 2% a year.  This is called the angel's share. It has to be topped up with eau-de-vie from the same source.  The loss of alcohol is associated with the growth of a fungus which gives the barrels and cellars a characteristic sooty appearance.

Both these cards come from the same person, Nick, during 1982, and both addressed to the same family in England.  The first in July says how much he enjoyed seeing them and hoping to see them again in September.  The second, dated October , says he'd had a good trip back and will contact them next time.  Obviously someone who travelled frequently between England and Cognac, but I wonder why?

A post for Sepia Saturday

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  1. Enjoyed the cards and especially the text. Have a great rest of the weekend.

  2. I've been searching my back posts, the distillery is vaguely familiar. Perhaps it's the smell of Cognac!

  3. I don't think I have ever had cognac. I didn't know that brandy was made from grapes and wine.

  4. Watched a show this summer of BBC America that had James May from Top Gear and Oz Clark traveling around Britain to different breweries and distillers. Quite amusing.

  5. Something else to try this holiday season - cognac anyone? Interesting post. I'm loving learning more about so many different holiday, food and drink traditions.

  6. Two interesting cards there and an educational text to go with them. I shall look upon cognac with new eyes.

  7. Its too early in the morning here for me to totally appreciate this post, but I will remember it on Christmas eve.!


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