Pierre Ferrand 1840

$$ — 45% ABV

A collaboration between Pierre Ferrand and cocktail historian David Wondrich, 1840 is an attempt at recreating the flavor of Congacs that were so prevalent in 19th-century American bars and cocktails. This was no doubt a challenge, given the fact that phylloxera aphids famously destroyed the vineyards that made those Cognacs, and most European wine as well — so they 'cloned' an 1840 vintage bottle from the house's personal cellars.

If just for its strength, 1840 is a unicorn among contemporary brandies. Virtually all brands are released at the legal minimum of 40%, but old brandies would've been sold by the cask — and therefore at cask strength of well over 50% ABV. Original is not a cask strength brandy (wouldn't that be something?) but it is a highly respectable 45%, allowing for more vigorous cocktail shaking without quite so much dilution.

Ferrand's specialty in cellar mastery showed in particular at the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition where the label's 70-year-old Ancestrale won world's best cognac. Ferrand's zealous dedication to old brandy has led them to bottle their spirit to order, which means only high-end shops and bars will be able to carry Pierre Ferrand — but it is available if you shop around.

At around 5 years, with a touch of 25 year old spirit, despite being designed for cocktails, 1840 is still a lovely sipping brandy. Ferrand does however sell many brands that are slightly more predestined for a snifter, including their 20 year Reserve and their hard-to-find 30 year Selection des Anges. For 1840, some lemons and a bottle of Cointreau is a nice thing to have on hand, but you really can't go wrong.

Cognac Ferrand is located in Cognac, Poitou-Charentes in southwestern France. Established in 1989 by Alexandre Gabriel, it remains an independent distiller.

Flavor Notes

Cherry / Apricot / Vanilla / Marshmallow / Tea / Cucumber

Cherry / Apricot / Vanilla / Marshmallow / Tea / Cucumber