Once shipped abroad, a bottle of Cognac is enjoyed in different ways in different countries. Our Cognac International series is an overview of the different ways of drinking Cognac around the world. Discover how Cognac is tasted and the future prospects for this cosmopolitan spirit. After the United States and the Netherlands, we invite you today to explore Cognac in Norway.
The Vinmonopolet to access Cognac
To obtain an alcoholic beverage above 4.75 degrees of alcohol in Norway, the consumer has to go through a state monopoly store: the Vinmonopolet.
With more than 350 stores in the country, there are 23,000 references including about 400 cognacs.
The spirits which sell the least are taken out of the circuit each year to be replaced by new references, via a call for tenders to wholesaler-distributors. Once available on the retail market, the Cognac brands must maintain their presence in Norway. Through bars for example, or by opening their own Cognac Club.
The Cognac Club, a place like no others
A Cognac Club can live in several ways depending on the mood of its members. Either as a classic club to meet up with acquaintances, but with a wide selection of cognacs available. Or as a place truly dedicated to the understanding of Cognac. Indeed, if the members wish, the staff on site is available to give their advice. The Norwegian Cognac Educator Kjetil Hansen explains:
“Sometimes the customer just wants to taste a Cognac with his friends or his professional network, and that’s all. Sometimes he will ask for recommendations on how to choose his Cognac, how to make a new cocktail at home or how to understand the nuances of the production process.”
These spaces of exchange around Cognac are above all managed by the brands. They thus maintain a privileged link with local consumers and bar professionals. Dozens of Cognac Clubs are present in Norway, with thousands of members throughout the country.
Cocktail with Cognac ©Konoisseur
The art of simplicity
In recent years, a new generation of mixologists is reinventing the art of the cocktail around the world; recipes are becoming more sophisticated and technical.
“When I first talk to a bartender about Cognac, they don’t immediately know how versatile the product is. When you think of Summit or Mojignac, it’s very simple to make with ingredients already available locally. And everyone who tastes it is immediately convinced.”
The bar is indeed a place of discovery. A simple recipe allows the bartender to simply transmit information about the Cognac: such and such a flavor of the spirit goes well with such and such an ingredient for such and such a reason. Added to this is the Covid19 crisis which has encouraged consumers to prepare cocktails directly from home. The simplicity of the recipe is then essential to obtain a perfect balance in the marriage of flavors, without necessarily being a knowledgeable mixologist.
As the reputation of French products is well established among locals, the bar can become another space where the history of the spirit is perpetuated. Cognac has great potential on the Norwegian market which will be developed through educational work on the spirit.
Photo cover : ©Unsplash / Michael Fousert