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CONVERSATIONS

Éric Forget

Journalist Alexandre Vingtier met with Éric Forget, cellarmaster at the Hine House, to ask him what his magic word is. He answered with “perfume”, which he often uses in the plural.

“My job is to bring out all the perfumes of a Cognac, including those coming from grapes – the esters – which, thanks to the magic of the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne terroirs, give these wine spirits fruity and highly floral notes (rose, carnation, jasmine, and lilac). These are mingled with rich and pastry aromas resulting from distillation on fine lees. While all these perfumes are ephemeral, our expertise helps to preserve and enhance them.

However, when tasting in the cellar, you sometimes need to find a balance between Cognac’s intrinsic aromas and those arising from oak barrels. Oak, because of its origins, toasting, and typical characteristics, will also have an effect on Cognac aromas. At the Hine House, we prefer medium- or fine-grained Tronçais barrels, which will give notes of spices, vanilla, and honey over time.

The idea of a bouquet, as perfumiers put it, is essential. For example, here at Hine, we prefer rich and expressive Cognacs. This is the style of our brand, which, through the ages, has become our trademark. In a sense, there is a sort of “aromatic framework” that transcends the entire product range. We first have to assimilate this “aromatic framework” in order to create new pre-blends. This is a rare event that has only happened twice in twenty years at our house.”

Éric Forget

Éric Forget maître de chai Hine Cognac
© C.K Mariot
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