Water of Life - Braastad
It all started with a Norwegian by the name of Sverre Braastad, who moved to the French Cognac region at the beginning of the Twentieth century to join the ranks of one of the pre-eminent Grande Champagne producers, i.e. Biscuit. Meeting his future wife led to Sverre to take on the reigns of the House of Tiffon, which eventually took on the name of the Braastad family and established itself quickly on the forefront of Cognac houses.
With the home of Braastad being the castle Château de Triac in the cru Petite Champagne in the cognac area of France, surroundings could not be more conducive to the creation of formidable Cognacs, with their cellars being strategically located at the southern bank of the Charente River, which provides an adequate of dampness and humidity for maturing their cognacs.
Traditional in every sense of the word and still maintaining the status of a being private company, Braastad produces a range of expertly blended cognacs, the quality of which is not further wondrous as Master Blender Richard Braastad has access to an arsenal of close to fifteen thousand casks of cognac from different crus and differently age, to calibrate the achievement of distinct flavour profiles and consistency as far as taste is concerned.
Not only owning a castle but also forty hectares of vineyards enables the Braastad family to be in full control of each individual production step once grapes are harvested, with their vineyards being in the regions within Grande Champagne and Fins Bois.
Braastad’s core expression, i.e. the VS variant, is a Ugni Blanc based cognac, a light and perfectly balanced blend of different eaux-de-vie but mainly from the FIn Bois region and what I specifically like about it is how the oakiness weaves in with the array of fruit notes, sweet vanilla and delicately burned nuts.
The light caramel hued Braastad VSOP Cognac has an average age of eight years, as compared to the minimum age of four years that a VSOP cognac must have lain in oak barrels for. What tickles the nostrils is a nice bouquet of fruity and floral notes, which is seamlessly transitions to what materializes on the palate complemented by soft and some brown chocolate nuances with a nice finish, that rounds the experience out with spicy highlights.
Amber brown in colour, Braastad’s XO expression is medium full bodied and adds another dimension with apricot notes, which rest on a backbone of cocoa and a dominant woodiness. Given the designation Fine Champagne, it marries the best of what the Grande and Petite Champagne regions have to offer. Given the quality of the XO expression, one can only imagine what the XO Superior variant is like, which has been aged for fifteen to twenty-five years in the family’s private cellar, which I hope to be able to visit next time I hold court in France.
Not usually being too much into Liqueur, I found the latest addition to Braastad’s portfolio, i.e. the cognac based Crème Liqueur to be the ideal accompaniment for a late expresso and one can only imagine what a capable mixologist would be able to create with it.