Barbados has been chosen as the ideal destination by five-generation cognac brand Camus Cognacs to commence a groundbreaking experiment.
For 45 days, from November 23 to January 11, ten sealed barrels of CAMUS Cognac journeyed the Trans-Atlantic route from La Rochelle, France to Bridgetown, Barbados on the ship De Gallant for an unprecedented project. The CAMUS Caribbean expedition seeks to explore the possibilities of maturing cognac on the ocean and under the specific climatic conditions of Barbados’ tropical climate. This expedition led by CAMUS is the first of its kind.
The 350-liter barrels arrived at the Bridgetown Port on Friday and were stored at the Foursquare Distillery, St Philip on Monday for maturation.
During a press briefing held at the Small Business Association, Fontabelle, St Michael headquarters, CAMPUS chief marketing Officer Jean-Dominique Andreu revealed that the 14-member crew braved the inclement weather and the rough seas to ensure the product safely reached Barbados’ shores.
Andreu disclosed that the ten barrels will undergo a year-long maturation process. They will be tested intermittently and the samples will be sent to France for assessment.
“There is a very big difference in the process of aging if you are in tropical weather or if you are not in tropical weather, so our idea was to say what would happen if we took ten casts of a cognac, bring it to a tropical country and let them stay for a year and see how it affects the quality of the cognac,” Andreu said.
“We said if we are going to ship to Barbados probably it would be greater to put in an old tall ship like the old days and ship it across the Atlantic to see how it goes,” the chief marketing officer added, while also mentioning that the maturation of the cognac would also be affected by the journey.
On average the oscillating temperature should be between 21°C and 30°C during the year and an average humidity of 72 per cent – reaching a peak of 99 per cent during the wet season from June to November – are factors which have a very marked influence on the aging curve of spirits.
The most effective measure of this difference is the evaporation, which is up to 10 per cent in tropical weather, in comparison with a rate of 2 per cent in continental weather which can speed up the maturation process by a rate of 2.85.
In such a heavily humid climate the evaporation mainly affects the alcohol, causing a natural drop which doesn’t require any further water dilution and imparting to the brandy a very smooth and mellow structure.
Should the experiment be successful, there will be a limited release of approximately 5000 bottles worldwide. Andreu indicated that the expedition was the CAMUS brand’s attempt to abide by consumer demand for new and innovative products.
“The consumer wants to have a specific product, different product, they want to have transparency and they want an explanation about what they are getting. They also want something unique that tastes different,” he said. (KK)