Baron Otard

Baron Otard is a Cognac house located within an ancient French medieval castle. The distillery and brand were founded by a man of Scottish heritage and remained under family ownership for almost two centuries. Otard is known for its elegant teardrop bottle shape and sumptuous style. It consistently wins awards in competitions all over the world.     

Rows of barrels stacked on top of each other inside Otard warehouse
Baron Otard warehouse

style

Baron Otard Cognac is often described as being floral, fruity and sweet with a smooth and mellow texture. Reviews state that luxurious notes of dried fruits, green apple, vanilla, toffee and drying oak spices mingle together.    

Collection of various flower heads
Vanilla pods with flower head of vanilla plant
Pieces of toffee
A dark oak cask

production

Baron Otard uses grapes grown in all six of the Cognac regional crus - Bois Ordinaires, Bons Bois, Borderies, Fin Bois, Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne. The grape varieties are Folle Blanche and Ugni Blanc. These are made into a dry acidic wine, which is then distilled twice through copper pot stills. The resulting eaux-de-vie are matured for a minimum of two years in French oak barrels.

The Cognacs are matured in cellars below the company's Château de Cognac. These have three metre thick stone walls and high humidity levels. The conditions allow the brandy to mature in a specific and characteristic way. Otard uses different combinations of these matured eaux-de-vie to create their final products.

The range features a number of expressions that span from affordable to super-premium. VS (Very Special) is a blend made using grapes from different crus and matured in French Limousin oak. The VSOP (Very Special Old Particular) is made using only eaux-de-vie from the Grande and Petite Champagne crus. The XO Gold (Extra Old) is a marriage of Borderies, Fin Bois and Grande Champagne eaux-de-vie. The Napolean is a blend of Borderies, Fin Bois, Grande and Petite Champagne eaux-de-vie.

These are joined by the Baron Otard 55, the first Cognac released by anyone at 55% ABV, and 1795 Extra which is made from 100% Grande Champagne eaux-de-vie and matured exclusively in the company's cellars at Château de Cognac.    


history

Baron Otard was founded by Jean-Baptiste Antoine Otard in 1795. He purchased and renovated Château de Cognac, a castle dating from around 1200. This was located on the banks of the River Charentes in the town of Cognac. Otard used it as the headquarters for his business. It is the only royal castle in the Cognac region.     

Close view on barrels inside Otard warehouse
Barrel maturation at Baron Otard

Otard was the great grandson of Scotsman James O'Tard. He was fought alongside King Louis XIV in France during the early-1700s. He was made a baron as a result. Following this, the family settled in the Cognac region and Jean-Baptiste named his new venture in honour of his great grandfather and royal accolade.

Jean-Baptiste Antoine Otard owned vineyards and was producing eau-de-vie on a small farm scale prior to setting up Baron Otard. However, he saw the potential to increase production. This was due to the rise in popularity of Cognac in the export market, especially the UK.

Baron Otard was operated by the Otard family until 1991. They sold the distillery, château and brand to Italian drinks company Martini e Rossi after almost 200 years of ownership. Martini e Rossi later became part of the Bacardi group. They remain as brand owner of Baron Otard Cognac today.