17th century

HISTORY OF COGNAC   

Double distillation makes its appearance

At the beginning of the 17th century, double distillation makes its appearance in the region, which will enable the product to travel as a stable spirit, much more concentrated than the “brandwijn.”

Alambic au XVIIe siècle (Encyclopédie Diderot)The first stills, installed in the Charente by the Dutch, would be progressively modified; the French gradually mastered and improved the technique.

Until the beginning of the 17th century, distillation consisted of only one heating, which obtained the ”brouillis,” a liquid drunk mixed with aromatic herbs.

Legend has it that double distillation was invented by the Chevalier de la Croix Maron, Lord of Segonzac, a pious man who dreamt that Satan was trying to damn his soul. In his dream, he saw himself in the Devil’s cauldron, but his faith was so deeply anchored in his soul that it resisted the first “cooking”. To achieve his ends, the Devil was forced to “cook” it again. When he woke up, the Chevalier had the idea of extracting the “soul” of eau-devie with a second distillation.

This is how the legend on the origin of the discovery of double distillation for Cognac eauxde-vie was perpetuated in the region.

Delays in loading the boats, resulted in the discovery that the spirit improved with age in oak casks made from wood from the neighbouring Limousin forest and that it could be drunk straight. The first Cognac house was established in 1643 : Augier.