- Published on Friday, 27 January 2012 16:48
- Written by David Longfield
The fifth annual International Cognac Summit (ICS) concluded this week, following four days of intensive analysis and discussion by an international panel on the theme of "Cognac and women".
Interpreting the Summit title from the original ‘Cognac au féminin', BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac) director Catherine Le Page said in her opening address that the challenge this year was: "How to make Cognac the favourite drink of women."
A total of 1,380 data sheets were completed by 34 invited bartenders, sommeliers and journalists from the USA, UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France, in order to provide a numerical assessment of how appealing to women each cognac was thought to be, in terms of packaging, the appearance of the liquid, aroma and flavour intensity.
Overseeing the data collection, sommelier consultant Dominique Laporte revealed some early results at the event's closing ceremony on Wednesday.
In packaging, rounded and "original" looks were judged to be most appealing to women, while in the aroma, dry and herbal flavours were generally rejected in favour of the fruity and floral, patisserie and spice, with a "slight trend" towards sweetness and vanilla.
While there was no suggestion that women were looking for a "light" drink, for the taste, freshness and complexity were said to be important in appealing to women's palates, while bitterness and iodized characters were not.
Arguably the most interesting conclusion to emerge from the statistical analysis was the fact that in all of the categories assessed, the age, sex and profession of the people scoring and making the assessments had very little, if any influence on any of the outcomes.
Speaking at the closing ceremony on Wednesday, sociologist Elise Gartion of EG Consulting Ladyvin said: "The stereotypes are disappearing and now is the ideal time to work on the appeal of cognac to women."
Philippe Coste, president of the Syndicat des Maisons de Cognac and head of the BNIC promotions commission, admitted: "Cognac and women is quite a daring subject.
"But in Cognac," he said, "we often have women involved in production, and we also have many women consumers. Our clientele is active and broadening."
Concluding proceedings at the 2012 ICS, Jean-Marc Morel, BNIC president since the end of 2011, added: "The future of cognac is certainly in the luxury sectors, and we must concentrate on these aspects."