Faith pours doubt on elderly Cognacs

07 November, 2014

Cognac expert Nicholas Faith has panned some of Cognac’s most expensive bottles, saying the French spirit rarely improves after 40 years of ageing.

Speaking at the London Cognac Summit this week in what was an otherwise positive appraisal of the Cognac category’s quality credentials and prospects, the author and commentator expressed his misgivings about antique Cognacs that sell for thousands of pounds at auction.

“There are not many Cognacs that can go on for a long time. The older a Cognac, the more things that can go wrong with it. There’s a lot of danger in really old Cognacs. At 35-40 years old, are they going to get any better?”

Faith, considered by many as the leading independent authority on Cognac, argued that “some Cognacs are too woody”, “some have been left in wood that is rotten” and claimed he had observed demijohns of old Cognac that had not been sealed properly.

Citing the recent sale of a Cognac from the 1800s, Faith said it was hard to prove the age of such a Cognac, as official records were not then what they are today, and concluded that a Cognac of such age would be “almost certainly crap”.

He added with resignation that “you will never persuade people of this”.

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