Courvoisier tour


Today’s post is another alcoholic tour post. My Dad’s job is focussed on alcohol, he sells it and even has a diploma in wines and spirits. So when I was younger we went to a few different houses and he had always told me about the BIG five. These were/are the biggest producers of Cognac and are Martell, Hennessy, Otard, Remy Martin and Courvoisier.

Over the past few years I had visited 4 of them, but with Courvoisier you have to do a tour by appointment only and finally we decided to complete the set. This will be my post explaining the tour and what you get for your money.

Courvoisier tour

What is Cognac?

This is an important piece of information. Cognac is a brandy, that is made under very strict rules within the city of Cognac in France.

“You can make Brandy anywhere in the world, but you can only make Cognac in 79,000 hectares” I will explain more about the process later on but, this is what makes this spirit so special. It is blended from different eau de vies (distilled wine based spirit) that have been aged for a minimum of 2 years in oak barrels and blended to taste almost exactly the same every year.

Cognac and Brandy originated in the 17th century from the Dutch, but the regions of Cognac and the distinct soils have made it this extremely sought after spirit. You may have even heard rappers talk about it – especially Henessey.
Courvoisier tour



Known as Napoleon’s drink, Courvoisier has an international reputation for being a very sought after drink.

Even being the official drink at the opening of the Eiffel Tower! I will explain the sections of the tour – but first the price.

Courvoisier tour

The price of the tour is dependent on the tasting you have at the end: –

For VS and VSOP the tour is 12 euros per person

For VSOP Exclusif and Napoleon with chocolates it is 20 euros per person

For XO and Initiale Extra with Macaroons it is 36 euros per person



As someone who would not appreciate the older and heavier Cognac’s I opted for the VS and VSOP Classic tour.

My parents also opted for this choice too!


The History of Courvoisier

Courvoisier tour

This was the start of the tour. Our tour was done by the lovely Amelie, who was so enthusiastic about Courvoisier and explaining the process. Our tour group was originally only 6 of us, but two others came late. Amelie informed them that she would explain the bit they missed at the end after the rest of the tour which was super lovely!!

We looked at the original family tree and the history of how their Brandy became to be made in Jarnac. (Not far from Cognac, still in the region but not close to most of the other houses)

This area of the museum bit had some amazing things. Including one of Napoleon’s hats and a scroll of a letter from him – with a lock of his hair.







The next area of the museum was focussed on the advert campaigns of Courvoisier. This included an amazing paper model of the Eiffel Tower. Every part of it was made of paper including the little bikes.

We also watched the most recent advert, which I had seen on the tv. This also explained that their logo was the bottom shape of the Eiffel Tower with the silhouette of Napoleon. Which I had never noticed before!

The next area was some special bottles that were made and a lot of links to Paris. There was posters linking Courvisier to the Moulin Rouge and so many amazing designs of it being the drink of Paris. (Despite being made so so many miles away!!)


She also informed us that only 2% of all Cognac is bought in France. The rest is prepared for export which blows my mind!!

The Process of making Cognac

I will try to describe this very very simply – they harvest grapes from 6 different areas that make up the different regions of Cognac.

In Courvisier they use only from Grande Champagne, petite champagne, fin bois and borderies. These all have different types of soils which produce different flavours. There is 3 varieties of grapes used – but 98% of them are Unis Blanc.

Then they are left to ferment and are distilled twice, before becoming Eau de Vie. The process of Cognac distillation need to be done with copper distillations and then it is stored in oak barrels. The newer barrels have a higher concentration of Tannins and most eau de vie is stored in these for 2 years, before being blended into different Cognacs.

Courvoisier tour

What do the letter’s mean?

VS – This is the newest Cognac, that is aged for a minimum of 3 years. It stands for Very Superior and is usually more vanilla and caramel flavoured.

VSOP – Very Superior Old Pale. This is normally aged for a minimum of 5 years. This often tastes more floral and caramel scented.

Napoleon – This is a special from Courvoisier, which is aged for 5-7 years in oak barrels. This has more of an apricot and sandalwood flavour.

XO – Extra Old. This is normally aged for at least 11 to 25 years. This is very oak flavoured, with a floral richness.


The rest of the tour and tasting

After we walked into their display warehouse and saw how the Cognac is aged. Once it is bottled in glass, the process stops ageing. However, they still need to be stored in the dark and cool.

Courvoisier tour

In the warehouse, Amelie explained how warehouses are placed near the river as the damp helps with the ageing process. Also about the angels share, how many bottles are lost each year to it evaporating.


Afterwards, we looked at the role of the master blender and who it currently is. Then continued on into the shop area.

We assembled by a bar, where our tasting drinks were laid out ready for us.

Courvoisier tour

She explained what we should be tasting and I tried the VS first. It was still strong to me as I am not a neat spirits drinker, so they added ginger ale and orange into mine. It was so lovely and easy to drink that way.

Then she explained to other members of the group what their flavours and tasting notes were.

I then tried the VSOP, but the same thing happened with my uneducated palette, so my Mum finished mine for me.


My review of Courvoisier

I really enjoyed my time at Courvoisier. Amelie was so lovely and made the tour so personal. The group was a lot smaller than other times I have been on the tours. I was also able to drink as I was overage this time – so that helped!

We all enjoyed our time there and felt it was a lovely experience.

Let me know if you’ve been here before in the comments!


Until next time,

The Great Ambini

X x X

If you loved this, please pin it for later!

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23 Replies to “Courvoisier”

  1. We as a family avoid alcohol so this was a very educational post.A lot of interesting info indeed.Tours like these can help you know abput beverages in detail.

  2. I tend to be a wine drinker, so I found this post fascinating! Like you, I have a hard time drinking hard alcohol neat. Next time I’ll try adding a little ginger ale and orange to mine, too!

  3. This is so interesting!! I’ve never tried Cognac and truly didn’t know much about it until now… I just want to be fancy as ever and sip some now 😀

  4. It seems like a great tour it’s so nice to learn new things and about the history behind things , the testing bits must have been great also!

  5. I don’t drink much just because I don’t inherently like the taste of alcohol, but I have heard of Remy Martin. Interesting that the process of Cognac distillation is done with copper. I have seen VS before and I guess I thought it was more a part of the name and didn’t consider it might the type. I think they would have to add ginger ale and orange to mine too!

  6. It could’ve been a no brainer but your post has shed away my ignorance that cognac is exclusively made in Cognac! It is interesting to know how unique the soil properties are in Cognac to be producing one of a kind grape type. This post has convinced me that I should try some wine tour in the future, too!

    1. It isn’t really a no-brainer as some products aren’t limited in the same way, as London Dry Gin can be made anywhere – not just London! 🙂 Yes, vineyard tours are really insightful!

  7. I avoid neat spirits because like you I find the taste hard to take, but I suppose I should try one with ginger ale or something :-). I really enjoyed reading this informative post, learned a lot. Interestingly, whenever I think of France and alcohol it’s usually wine and champagne that comes to mind, never Cognac. I didn’t know it was Napoleon’s favourite drink. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Yes, try it in things and they are so much nicer. You still get the taste, if it isn’t too diluted 🙂 Glad you enjoyed my post

  8. This is a fascinating post, with so much of information about Cognac. Reading about the history and making of Cognac has been very illuminating. Its true…if you want to go deep into any subject, you can go as deep you want…the pit is endless.

  9. I do love a great alcohol making tasting tour. I used to work for several different spirit brands and one of my favorite things was getting to do the deconstructed tastings. This tour looks like a great and tasty tour especially if you love cognac.

  10. I really enjoyed reading this informative post, learned a lot. Vineyard tours like this are high on my wish list. Have to take one soon. Never knew France hs brandy too and that too it was Napoleon’s fav drink. Will search for Cognac at my place for my admiration to Napoleon.

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