Cognac aroma wheel has seasonal twist

Cognac producers have developed an aroma wheel which they hope will help the trade and consumers appreciate the complexity of the spirit – and also its links to the seasons.

The wheel is the result of work during the second International Cognac Summit, organised by the Bureau National Interprofesionel du Cognac, involving four days of intensive tasting and discussion by 50 top international sommeliers, Cognac cellar masters, spirits specialists and journalists.

Over 100 fine and rare Cognacs were nosed in tulip shaped glasses. The five principle aromas that characterise Cognac were found to be vanilla, prune, caramel, orange and apricot.

The format of the wheel differs from other versions in that it categorises aromas by seasons. “Subtle floral notes recall spring, while its headier notes of apricots, citrus and exotic fruit conjure up a warm summer’s day,” said the BNIC.

“Autumn’s mists and mellow fruitfulness are reflected in the spicier notes of ginger, liquorice, vanilla and caramel followed by the powerful wintry scents of coffee, tobacco, toast, cedar and sandalwood.”

Director of marketing and communications Jérôme Durand said: “Not only do Cognac styles range from fresh and light to rich and deep, one’s appreciation of any Cognac will be different in different circumstances.

“It seemed to us that as the aroma wheel is designed to help consumers better understand and appreciate Cognac’s complex flavours and aromas, and help professional such as sommeliers and educators guide the public in this, it would be a good idea to link it to something like the seasons, which everybody can relate to.

“Cognac’s palette of flavours fits the seasonal cycle perfectly, reflecting its aromatic richness.”