A report by Hannah Lewis for The Moodie Davitt Report.
Ten casks of Camus Caribbean Expedition Cognac have arrived in Bridgetown, Barbados after a month and a half’s voyage aboard tall ship De Gallant. The journey is part of a project to “explore the possibilities of maturing Cognac on the ocean and under the tropics”, Camus said.
As reported, Camus is developing a new limited-edition Cognac that will be matured first in oceanic conditions and then in tropical weather. The aim is to create a liquid with an “unprecedented taste profile”.
Ten sealed barrels of Camus Cognac were aboard De Gallant as it sailed from La Rochelle port in France on 23 November last year and arrived in Barbados on 10 January.
The barrels, when they set sail, contained liquids with a 48% ABV already at their fourth year of ageing.
The Cognac house explained that the casks were exposed to multiple environmental factors during the voyage. These affect the maturation process, creating reactions that would happen at a slower pace under mainland weather conditions.
The next step of the maturation process will now begin. The ten barrels will undergo a year of tropical maturation surrounded by barrels of rum in traditional open-sided cellars at Foursquare Distillery in Barbados.
Camus said Barbados’s temperature and humidity will have a strong effect on the liquid, speeding up evaporation and causing a natural drop in ABV without the need for further dilution.
After a year in Barbados, the barrels will be returned to France and the liquid will be bottled as Camus Caribbean Expedition.
The company described the project as “a first in the world of Cognac” and believes it will result in “a very smooth and mellow structure”.
It added that samples of the Cognac were retained before the ship set sail and will be used for comparative tasting.
The Barbados maturation is being overseen by Foursquare Director Richard Seale, who is also great-grandson of the distillery’s founder.
Seale commented: “We are proud that Camus asked us to join in this great experience. Of course, patience is paramount in our profession, but I can’t wait to taste the result in a year and a half’s time.”
The one-off experimental series will be limited to 5,000 bottles (with variation in number according to the reduction of liquid during the expedition) and will be released through key selected retailers by the end of 2020. 1,000 bottles will be available for sale en primeur.