The History

1875: Cognac Tiffon is founded

In 1875, Médéric Tiffon founded his own Tiffon House of Cognac on the banks of the River Charente in a time where about 30 other such houses existed. Médéric chose his spot wisely; near the centre of the village Jarnac, close to other world-renowned Houses such as Alexandre Bisquit and Courvoisier. And as the distillery was placed on the southern bank of the river, the distillery was (and still is) located in Cognac’s Premier Cru, the Grande Champagne.

1899: Sverre Braastad arrives in Cognac

Sverre Braastad was born in the small town of Gjøvik, Norway in 1879. After studies in Germany and England, he eventually travelled to Cognac, France in December 1899. Following his passion for Cognac, he joined his uncle, Halfdan Braastad, who was already working at the Bisquit House of Cognac. With knowledge of trade and foreign languages, Sverre started in the sales department, in charge of exports to North America, England, Germany and the Scandinavian countries.

1913: Sverre Braastad marries Edith Rousseau

Sverre soon found other passions besides the Cognac trade. Edith Rousseau, a striking young woman who worked at her grandfather’s House of Cognac, Cognac Tiffon, caught Sverre’s eye, and not before long they were a romantic item. After a long courtship during the first decade of the 20th century, they were finally married in 1913. It would, however, take another six years before they started building their company into one of the leading Houses of Cognac.

1919: Sverre and Edith takes charge of Cognac Tiffon

While Sverre was seeing Edith, he started working for Cognac Tiffon while he was still in employment at Bisquit. Because of the First World War, there was a shortage of male workforce in the French countryside, and Sverre had promised to stay with Bisquit until the end of the war. True to his word, Sverre stayed until the war ended in 1918, but when peace arrived, Sverre could finally join his family at Cognac Tiffon. In 1919 Sverre and Edith officially took charge of the company, and they never looked back.

1979: Sverre Braastad passes away

Just two months short of his 100th birthday, Sverre Braastad passed away on May 16th 1979. He had worked hard all his life, but fuelled by his passion for cognac and the love for his family, his life became a long and eventful one. In his time he saw members of the Braastad family at the helm of world-famous cognac houses, such as Delamain, Courvoisier, Salignac and Bisquit. Sverre left eight children in this world, and died knowing what a profound effect his family had had on the world’s cognac industry.

Today: The Braastad Legacy lives on

Five generations after Médéric Tiffon founded the company, and three generations after Sverre Braastad took over, the Braastad family is still producing their cognac in accordance with ancient laws and old family traditions. The Braastads are still in charge of their true House of Cognac, doing everything from harvesting grapes, producing wine, distilling cognac and maturing the noble, golden liquid for generations in their own, humid cellars by the River Charente in the heart of Cognac.

The District

The term Cognac may only be used for describing distilled wine produced within this particular district of western France. The Cognac District is further divided into six different crus: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaires. Due to the variations in the nature of the soil, the different crus produce wine of differing qualities and characters.

The Drink

The grape juice from the different crus is fermented for about a week, creating a rather acidic, low-alcohol white wine, which is then twice distilled in copper stills. The colourless, fruity distillate called eau de vie is then placed in oak casks for years of maturation. When a Master Blender creates a new cognac, he normally blends different vintages from different crus to create the specific aromas and flavours he’s looking for. Like a painter needs different colours to create his masterpiece, a master blender depends on having a variety of eaux de vie to choose from. When the Master Blender is satisfied with his blend, the golden liquid is finally named Cognac – the world's finest spirit.

The Process

The Braastad family pursues its production of cognac in a traditional manner, with control of the entire process from grape to bottle. The art of cognac making is an exercise of patience, as decades may pass in the process of making one bottle of the world’s finest spirit. Roughly explained, a true House of Cognac will harvest grapes, ferment the grape juice into a low-alcohol wine, distil this wine twice and mature the distillate, the eau de vie, for a number of years before blending and bottling the final cognac.

A house of Cognac

The Distillation

Cognac is distilled twice, ensuring a product of the highest quality. The first heating produces brouillis, a distillate containing around 25-30 % alc.vol. The second heating produces eau de vie (water of life) at an alcohol level of approximately 72 %. The fresh distillate is then drawn off and placed in oak casks for maturation. The distillation season begins on November 1st and continues, day and night, until March 31st. On April 1st, the entire season’s production is set to be aged 0 years. Two years later, these barrels will contain two-year-old cognac, which would qualify as the youngest element of a VS Cognac blend.

The Taste

Enjoying a glass of cognac is a relative concept since it depends on the quality of the cognac and the preferences of the individual concerned. The Braastad family’s cognac is rather dry on the palate and produced in accordance with ancient laws. When tasting a cognac you should look at the colour, smell the aroma, searching for oak, vanilla, rancio, dried fruit or toasted bread. In the mouth you could feel flavours like almond, walnut, figs, apricots, violets, liquorice, coffee beans or pepper. A well-matured cognac might give you a long aftertaste of vanilla, dark chocolate and rancio.

The Master Blender

The Master Blender, or Maître de Chai, is responsible for the blending of the different products within a House of Cognac. As well as creating new cognac blends, the Master Blender aims to achieve the exact same bouquet and sensory experience in each bottle of a certain product. But, as no harvest is equal and no oak cask exactly the same, this is easier said than done. Master Blender Richard Braastad has about 13.000 casks of cognac from different crus and of different ages to keep track of and to choose from when seeking perfection in his products.

The Grapes

The harvest takes place in the beginning of October every year and last about a week. The honourable title of Cognac may only be used of distilled wine produced within a particular district. This district is further divided into six different areas known as “Crus”: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois, and Bois Ordinaires. The division is based on the nature of the soil in the various areas, Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne generally producing wines of higher quality.

Le Château de Triac

Introduction to the Château

The Château de Triac has been a landmark in the heart of the Cognac Region for about one thousand years. First erected in the Middle Ages, the estate has over ten centuries seen empires come and go, kings prosper and perish and golden eras ended by plagues and famines. For the last half-century it has been the natural centre of the Braastad family, giving residence to 4 generations of Braastad after they first moved in during the 1940s.

Built in The Middle Ages

The origin of the château dates back to the 11th century, but the foundation of the main building is sadly the only part of the original structure that remains. The two towers guarding the entrance from the main road of Triac were raised in the 13th century. The towers stand as proudly today as they did some 800 years ago, a first-rate testimony to Medieval craftsmanship.

Destroyed in European Wars

During the Hundred Years' War between France and England (1337-1453) the Château was first destroyed. About 150 years later, in 1569, a Huguenot leader was killed in an important battle taking place in Triac in a war between Catholics and Huguenots. The Huguenots were angry and humiliated, and burned the Château to its ground as revenge on the Catholics.

Residence of The Braastad Family

Today, the main building is kept in its original architectural style, which dates back to the 19th century. When the Braastad family took recidence th the Château in the 1940ies and 50ies, the Château itself was the place of work for nearly everyone living in the small village of Triac. Alongside the distillery in downtown Jarnac, the Château de Triac is still the natural centre of the Braastad family's business and everyday life.

Products

V.S

VS (Very Special) or *** (three stars), where the youngest brandy is stored at least two years in cask. Ageing Minimum 2 years,Our blend 2–6 years old, average 4 years old.

V.S

Braastad VS is blended from specially selected cognacs, mainly from the Fins Bois region. The blend even includes cognacs that have been matured for 12 years in Limousine oak casks in Cognac Tiffon’s private cellars in Jarnac. In 2007, Braastad VS received the Silver Medal in the VS category of the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London.

Grape Region

Mainly the Fins Bois – Forming a large ring with various types of soil, this region produces cognacs of many different qualities. The best of them see the light on hard limestony soils to the north-east and south-east. Fins Bois spirits are heavier and age rapidly but their fruitiness, roundness and smoothness on the palate are what give them their charm.

Tasting Note

Tasting Note – Fruity notes combined with a pleasantly fresh character and an aftertaste of nuts and vanilla.

Usage – Could be enjoyed alone, with coffee or even in longdrinks. Traditionally, all Cognac has been enjoyed undiluted on its own, but VS level cognacs are used as base for cocktails and longdrinks in an increasing fashion.

V.S.O.P

All cognac in the blend is aged 6 years or more, and the VSOP is therefore per definition an XO. A cognac suited for all occasions

V.S.O.P

All cognac in the Braastad VSOP blend is aged 6 years or more, which actually qualifies the product as an XO. A very high average maturing age of the eaux de vie included in the blend gives this exquisite VSOP an opulent, harmonic flavour. The Braastad VSOP has received both the Gold and Silver Medal in the VSOP category of the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London, rewarded for the elegance of its taste.

Grape Region

The Petite-Champagne - This large semi-circle covers an area whose soil is very rich in limestone. A few regions in the Petite-Champagne produce a Cognac that may equal and even surpass the quality of some Grande-Champagne Cognacs. It also distinguishes itself by a dominating floral and somewhat fruity scent but the bouquet is much shorter.

The Fins Bois – Forming a large ring with various types of soil, this region produces cognacs of many different qualities. The best of them see the light on hard limestony soils to the north-east and south-east. Fins Bois spirits are heavier and age rapidly but their fruitiness, roundness and smoothness on the palate are what give them their charm.

Tasting Note

An elegant nose with floral character and mellow rounded aftertaste with hints of spice and chocolate. Usage – A very flexible cognac. An excellent choice on its own, but also perfect after a fine meal, maybe accompanied by a nice French Roast Coffee or a strong Italian Espresso.

XO

Extra Old – where the youngest brandy is stored at least six years in cask. Our blend is from 15–40 years old, average 20 years old.

XO

This special XO blend contains cognacs ages up to 25 years old, and has an average maturing age of a little less than 20 years. The quality designation Fine Champagne requires that at least half the cognac in the blend comes from the Grande Champagne region and the rest comes from Petite Champagne. Braastad XO has on three separate occasions received the Silver Medal in the category for XO Fine Champagne in The International Wine and Spirit Competition in London.

Grape Region

The Grande-Champagne is the most prestigious cognac vintage. It has a very specific type of soil called the campus. Grande-Champagne spirits distinguish themselves by the floral dominance of its fragrance which is reminiscent of the vine’s flower, dried vine shoot or even dried lime tree leaves. After ageing, the aromas grow and mature. Floral scents turn into fruity aromas.

The Petite-Champagne – This large semi-circle covers an area whose soil is very rich in limestone. A few regions in the Petite-Champagne produce a Cognac that may equal and even surpass the quality of some Grande-Champagne Cognacs. It also distinguishes itself by a dominating floral and somewhat fruity scent but the bouquet is much shorter.

Tasting Note

Tasting Note – Developed, complex nose of great finesse with persistent aromas of ripe fruit, floral scents and a touch of rancio flavour.

Usage – Best enjoyed alone, perhaps after a late dinner. And as with all cognacs of higher quality, a tulip-shaped glass is recommended to release the spirit’s aromas and give the user an increased taste experience.

XO Superior

Extra Old – where the youngest brandy is stored at least six years in cask. Our blend is from 15 to 40 years old, average 20 years old. “Trés Vieille Réserve”

XO Superior

This splendid cognac is Master Blender Richard Braastad’s special selection. To create an especially complex blend, Richard has handpicked very old cognacs from four of the six regions. The result is a cognac that is very rich and powerful, yet harmonic and balanced. The XO Superior first entered the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London in 2007, and Master Blender Richard Braastad was proud to receive the Silver Medal.

Grape Region

The Grande-Champagne is the most prestigious cognac vintage. It has a very specific type of soil called the campus (where many fossils are to be found). Spirits distinguish themselves by the floral dominance of its fragrance which is reminiscent of the vine’s flower, dried vine shoot or even dried lime tree leaves.

The Borderies - This enclave of vineyards to the north of the Champagne districts produces excellent nut-flavoured spirits on decalcificated soil. Some Houses of Cognac use eaux de vie from Borderies as a base for their best cognac blends. A collection of suave scents brings to mind the floral fragrance of violets or irises. Very finely scented, Borderies spirits have the added ability to age and mature faster than that of Champagne.

Tasting Note

Tasting Note – Floral and elegant, with unique balance and complexity. Dark red-brown colour. Light and pleasant with hints of jasmine flowers. A sublime cognac with a remarkably long finish.

Usage – This treasure should be enjoyed on its own, preferably savoured slowly from a tulip-shaped Master Distiller’s glass.

Chateau de Triac

The secret of a rare vintage. Most of the blend is between 40 and 60 years old.

Chateau de Triac

All the cognac in this blend comes from the vineyards of the Braastad family’s castle. The blend has matured in very old oak casks, mostly from the Tronçais forest, for about half a century. When a cognac becomes this old it will develop relatively marked cask bouquet also known as rancio. A cognac from the limestone-rich soil of the Château’s vineyards on the border to Grande Champagne, develops floral tones when aged for a long time.

Grape Region

The Fins Bois – Forming a large ring with various types of soil, this region produces cognacs of many different qualities. The best of them see the light on hard limestony soils to the north-east and south-east. Fins Bois spirits are heavier and age rapidly but their fruitiness, roundness and smoothness on the palate are what give them their charm.

Tasting Note

Tasting Note – A very sophisticated cognac. Developed, complex nose of great finesse with the persistent aroma of boiled apple. Pure oral harmony, followed by notes of vanilla.

Usage – This is a cognac for very special occasions, and should be sipped very slowly from a tulip-shaped glass, taking time to experience the entire spectrum of aromas and flavours while you ponder if life really could get any better.