Balluet is a small family-owned and artisan Cognac producer in the Fins Bois cru. This cru is the largest of the six Cognac crus with over 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of vineyards. Balluet is known for its small range of exquisite Cognacs that feature grapes grown only in their own vineyards. They are highly prized and sought after by connoisseurs.
Balluet Cognacs are soft and gentle with a rich and fruity character. Notes of dark dried fruits, toffee and caramel mingle with bitter orange zest, wood spices and dark chocolate.
The flagship product is the Jean Balluet Très Vieille Réserve (Very Old Reserve). This features eaux-de-vie aged between 18 and 20 years and has won many awards. This is joined by the VSOP (Very Special Old Pale) which is the youngest Cognac released by Balluet, and the Très Vieille Réserve Napoleon. This is rumoured to be around 40 years of age. All are released in simple, understated and traditional packaging.
Balluet also produces a range of Pineau des Charentes - a type of fortified wine with Cognac eaux-de-vie added and then aged in barrels.
All Balluet Cognac is made using grapes from the company's own vineyards. These are all in the Fins Bois cru and cover 50 hectares (124 acres). They grow mostly the Ugni Blanc grape variety but also small amounts of Colombard and Montils. Fins Bois translates as 'fine woods'.
They use the same alembic Charentais copper still that has produced eaux-de-vie for generations of the Balluet family. Balluet practices double distillation and run the process in small batches. There are six warehouses dotted around the village and these hold the maturing barrels.
Balluet Cognac was founded in 1845 and is in the small village of Neuvicq Le Château. This is in the heart of the Fins Bois cru. For the first century, the boutique house produced and supplied eaux-de-vie to the larger Cognac houses across the region.
One key figure that changed the company's approach was Hippolyte Balluet. During the 1950s one of the large houses heavily reduced their order from Balluet. He, therefore, stopped supplying them and decided to release his own Cognac under the Balluet family name.
Now Jean Balluet, Hippolyte Balluet's son and fifth generation of the family operates the distillery, Jean is known to be a slightly eccentric character with numerous stories of visitors receiving a distillery tour with a difference from him.