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Looking to buy a bottle of the best brandy? Read our expert review of this cognac by heritage distiller Augier
The oldest cognac house, Augier was recently revived by Pernod Ricard. In 2013, the brand was relaunched with a craft image, producing small-batch cognacs with an edge. The Augier L'Oceanique is made using ugni blanc grapes grown on the Île d'Oléron, an island off the Atlantic coast of France. This cognac is fresh and light, marrying raisins with orchard fruits and hints of tobacco.
Augier is the oldest cognac house. Founded in 1643 by Philippe Augier, son of a well-to-do legal family from Châteauneuf-sur-Charente, the cognac house likely predates the term 'cognac' itself. The firm was recently revived when Pernod Ricard reintroduced the brand to the market in 2013.
Philippe and Daniel Augier were in the right place at the right time: Châteauneuf-sur-Charente is the smallest of just three towns in the epicenter of the Charente vineyards. Savvy businessmen, the Aguier boys established ties with other prominent families, such as Martell, and worked in tandem to export their bottles to Great Britain, Germany and the colonies.
By 1745, the firm’s eaux-de-vie was crossing the Atlantic under the watchful eye of the French Marquis de Vaudreuil, the Canadian-born commander of the Royal Marines who would become governor of French Louisiana.
But, Augier’s market share was gradually swallowed up by the great cognac houses, such as Hennessy and Martell. Though it wasn’t as prominent by the 20th century, Augier cognac was still popular enough with the right people to be served to the Paris Liberation Committee following the liberation of the capital in 1945.
Now, Augier stands out for doing things differently. While other houses primarily use ugni blanc grapes, Augier employs the lesser-spotted Folle Blanche. Lees (dead yeast cells) are deployed carefully in distillation, and non-chill filtration is used to preserve the precious aromas.
Thanks to the distillation of various under-utilised grape varieties and production in small batches of 10,000 cases, Augier has become a go-to bottle for enthusiasts looking to try something new.
The Augier L’Oceanique uses ugni blanc grapes grown on the Île d'Oléron, and has everything you’d expect from a cognac born by the sea.
There's a spring Sunday morning freshness to the nose, full of pears and honey. The salty sea air that braced the grapes is sprinkled throughout the palate, seasoning a light citrus and orchard fruit combination; apple comes to the fore with grapefruit before leaning into a tobacco and leather finish.
This review was last updated in December 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.