Audry Tres Ancienne Reserve Aristide Grand Champagne Cognac is made from exceptionally small lots of the same origin (unblended), from vintages at least 60 years old and bottled at Cask Strength. Audry believes that an appellation’s qualities only come to the fore when they are tasted in their natural state, before distilled water has been added. Because natural reduction of alcohol is extremely slow and costly, very few Cognacs are made this way. Très Ancienne shows surprising vigor and regional character with a remarkably rich, complex bouquet and an astonishingly long finish. The rate at which a Cognac’s alcohol level goes down varies over the years. It depends on the type, size and age of barrels used, but more importantly on storage conditions (temperature, aeration and humidity). There is thus no hard and fast rule on the subject, although it has been noticed that a Cognac often loses its first 10% alcohol (from 70% to 60%) after about 20 years, and the next 10% another 25 years. The rate of further alcohol reduction slows down as time goes on. The long, slow development of natural sugar is one of the main facets of barrel aging, as are increased tannin, oxidation, and evaporation (both in terms of total volume and alcohol). Wood aging gives very old Cognac its incomparable quality and flavor. Oenologists at the Cognac viticultural center analyzed a test sample of Grande Champagne Cognac and discovered that the natural sugar levels were as follows: nil at one year, 0.1 grams per liter after 5 years, 0.5 grams per liter after 15 years and 1 full gram per liter after 40 years. This helps explain why small lots of “Très Ancienne” Cognacs have their own special identity. They show a surprising amount of vigor and regional character, coupled with a remarkably rich bouquet and an astonishingly long, refined aftertaste.
The house of A. Edmond Audry was founded in 1878 by the great-great-grandfather of the current owner. In the early 1950s, the Audry Company stopped selling cognac. However some very old stocks were held back in reserve in the hopes that Audry would one day rise again to the fore. That day came in 1978 when Bernard Boisson, a lawyer by training, decided to resurrect the family tradition that had remained dormant for four decades. The family stopped distilling in 1974, so Audry is made from blends of the original reserve and a few lots bought from a small group of Charentais growers.