Augier Frères

Cognac 1906 Augier Frères

Very Rich Old Cognac, Bottled in the 1930's (presumed)

Provenance: Christies, 10/22/1998

70°. Guaranteed to be the distillation of the fermented juice of fresh grapes, produced in the Cognac area.

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Vintage 1906
Alcohol 40.0 %
Bottled Presumed 1930's
Button No button
Fill level High shoulder
Maturation Very Old
Packaging No casing
Shape Cognaçaise
Size 70 cl

Cognac

Renowned throughout the world, the production of Cognac has been regulated by its very own AOC since 1909. Only liqueurs from eaux-de-vie made from crus from the controlled appellation area of Cognac can be labelled as such. This liqueur must be distilled and aged on-site in compliance with authorised techniques: double distillation in a copper Charentais still, ageing in oak barrels for a set minimum ageing period.

A good Cognac is subjected to a complex manufacturing process. It is never made from the eau-de-vie of a single cru, but from a `marriage' of eaux-de-vie that vary in age and cru - some as old as a hundred. To establish the age of a Cognac, only the number of years spent in oak casks or barrels are taken into account. As soon as an eau-de-vie is decanted into a glass recipient, it ceases to age. The longer it is left to age, the more a Cognac gains in complexity, fragrance, aromas and taste (spiced, pepper and cinnamon flavours).

Please note that only Cognacs made exclusively from Petite and Grande Champagne (50% minimum) can use the "Fine Champagne" appellation.

Augier Frères

Augier has the reputation of being the oldest house of cognac, being established in 1643 by Philippe Augier. Today the Augier brand is owned by Seagram and has long been kept dormant until 2015 when they started producing cognacs again, being part now of the Augier-Robin-Briand subsidiary.
It is difficult to explain how a company that has been held in such high esteem for over three centuries has become a second-rate name,  but let’s see what happened.

 

Cognac Augier

Augier-Robin-Briand

Augier has the reputation of being the oldest house of cognac, being established in 1643 by Philippe Augier. Today the Augier brand is owned by Seagram and has long been kept dormant until 2015 when they started producing cognacs again, being part now of the Augier-Robin-Briand subsidiary.
It is difficult to explain how a company that has been held in such high esteem for over three centuries has become a second-rate name,  but let’s see what happened.

paper manufacturer

Paper manufacturer

Philippe Augier was a merchant in Chateauneuf, not only in eaux-de-vie, but also in many other commodities as was the custom in those times. His birth date is not known (possibly 1625), but he married Elizabeth Janssen in 1650, a daughter of a wealthy Dutch paper manufacturer in Angoulême, which proved to be important for a young man such as Philippe Augier to set up trade. 

25

Largest cognac producer

From the Augier letter book of 1681-1686, the oldest written testimony around,  we can deduce that wines were far more important for business than cognac was. His brother Daniel joined him only a few years later and already in 1658 they became Augier Frères. They were doing very well and soon became one of the largest cognac producers, along with Delamain and Martell. They have held this position for over 200 years for only in the middle of the 19th century Hennessy and Martell were outgrowing Augier.

Revolution

Revolution

Étienne Augier (1735-1826) married Marthe-Catherine Martell in the second half of the 18th century. He became well known for being very outspoken in favour of the royalists during the French Revolution when he was a deputy of ‘La Constituante’, the French parliament , for which he was eventually ennobled and  given a baronie as weel as the ‘Legion d’Honneur’.

feed the population

Feed the population

But already before he was important for the people in Cognac who were starving after the severe winter of 1789 and the following failing grain-crops. Specially in this region, where all farmlands were planted with grapes, this was felt heavily. Together with the Martell family they bought huge amounts of grain from elsewhere to feed the population.

marriage and inheritance

Marriage and inheritance

During the last quarter of the 19th and the first of the 20th century the Bournonville and Burignot de Varenne families gained control of the Augier frim through marriage and inheritance. Marie-Louise (Amélie) Augier was the last Augier in the company; she married to a Bournonville.

45

Seagram

Then in the middle of the 1960s the president of Seagram, the famous Sam Bronfman, took an interest in Augier. He wanted to launch an up-market cognac brand. Sadly Bronfman died very soon after he bought the Augier stocks and when the successors at Seagram did not share his passion for cognac, they just resold the stock. They kept the name though.

Mumm

Mumm

Some years later they did try to launch a new brand of cognac under the name ‘Mumm’ – yes, the champagne brand - which was produced by the Augier facilities. This did not catch on. But you can still come across some old Mumm cognac bottles. Twenty years later Seagram buys the Martell brand. Martell was already in possession of the Briand and Robin brands and together with Augier they are now a subsidiary of Seagram with as a result that Augier is being produced again.

musee des arts du cognac

Musée des Arts du Cognac

Augier used to be housed in Cognac at the Place de la Salle Verte where you can now find the Musée des Arts du Cognac. From the mid-1960s till 2015 the brand was not produced. They made mostly three star quality and VSOP, but vintages are around.
Besides Mumm there is another brand name they have used: Roi Soleil. Hence the famous poster of Augier.