Cognac, France


In the Lhérauds’ world, aging is an art to be perfected and maturity is a coveted treasure. With cognac, you have to let time take its time. It works alone. Just keep a watchful eye and let it do its thing.

“Paradis” — a poetic, magical place, a quiet alcove where everything follows its course. Spiders weave their webs. Mystery, angels and dust leave their marks. For Paradis is the Lhérauds’ special cellar, where exceptional vintages and the oldest cognacs rest in peace, awaiting their moment to go out into the world.

In a corner is a cask from 1942, the year Guy Lhéraud was born — he bequeathed it to his grandson on his birth. The cask from 1906 was given to his granddaughter. 1802, 1950…the years marked in chalk on squares of slate fade over time, but before they have completely faded, a small hand restores the vintage years to legibility.

Guy likes to visit Paradis by himself, although he doesn’t go there frequently. He takes pleasure entering on a whim without saying anything to anyone. He finds solace there when he needs it. He communes with the entire family; he sees his forebears, their way of life, and he puts the world to rights. “One hour spent there is like living three centuries full of life. You sip a glass, smoke your cigar. You feel good. You’ve talked to everyone while talking to yourself.”

Today, Guy is planning on enlarging this paradise to store cognacs that won’t be released to market before 2050, vintages that he will never get to experience. You have to plan for the future. Anticipation is a value held dear by winegrowers and farmers. “We do it without even trying, without even knowing it. It is ingrained in us. That’s for sure.”

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