I do want to start off by saying that my love for “cognac” itself, comes from a place deeper than just the consumption of it. The distilling process, the way it’s served (neat, on the rocks, cocktail format, etc.), the representation of it in the hip hop community (prestige), and so many other factors play a role in what it means to me.
When I was younger, my dad maintained a very nice collection of spirits in his glass bar cart. At the time, I had no idea of what it actually was, but I knew that it was only consumed on special occasions. He’d use a specific glass, never something he’d drink water from throughout the day. He always played Najee or Kenny G during the time. The mood had to be right in order for him to actually enjoy it. If you’re familar with Nigerian culture, you know that when it comes down to a party, the men are showing up with boxes of Heineken, Guinness Stout or bottles of cognac, and that’s for them. Kids drank non-alcoholic beverages of course but it was the way the men consumed the cognac that drew my attention. They never drank a lot of it. They’d pour themselves a small glass and just converse about several topics throughout the night.
As I got older, I recognized the consumption of cognac as a celebratory thing. When I see different types of cognacs in different music videos, it’s always in regards to celebrating something of purpose. I finally tasted it (neat) and yes, it is an acquired taste, so it’s definitely not for everyone but my pallet became accustomed to it. From there, I then started to pair the VS, VSOP, etc. to my favorite era in the 20th century, which was between the 1940s and the ’60s. Sometimes I coin that era as the “vintage luxury” of the 20th century due to the fashion, cigars, the rarity of foreign automobiles, jazz and swing music, and so much more.
From there, I did the research on the distilling process of cognac and what makes it different from your typical brandy and as I dove deeper into its history, I just became a fan of what cognac represented. Now, if you add the concept of its branding from a business standpoint, I found it relatable to me. They all circulate around hospitality: having drinks at a bar, pairing a cognac cocktail with your favorite dish at a restaurant, social happy hours.
Then I created a business and podcast that encompasses everything I just previously mentioned, stemming from inspiration and the urge to have meaningful conversations. Cognac to me was never solely about to consumption, but what it represented: a spirit of choice for celebrations, smooth music to set the ambiance, the process behind the distilling of the cognac. I’m excited to see where this admiration takes me. I’ve learned a lot by just being an avid fan. Anyways, wherever you’re at, I hope you’ve got a glass of your favorite. I know I do. Happy Cognac Day. Cheers!