La Maison Camus occupies a very special place in the world of premium cognacs. Among the handful of cognac producers, Camus, founded in 1863, is the only major that remains entirely family-owned, making current President Cyril Camus, a fifth generation craftsman! And here we are talking of craft. Camus is a family of winemakers, a rarity in the field; typically it is négociants who regroup as larger corporate entities. At La Maison Camus, walk through the 175 hectares of the ‘Borderies’ vineyards, the smallest cru of the cognac appellation and thus the most in demand, of which, ‘La grande marque’ is the most important owner, the signature of Camus.
One can’t help but witness the patience and passion invested in every aspect of the development of Camus products. The independence of the company yields freedom to do great things, as illustrated by the astute decision to create a cognac named Île de Ré. From this small island, the most westerly part of the cognac appellation, it was possible to produce a veritable cognac from the island’s inimitable eaux-de-vie. Camus is the only producer to export it, another example of its pursuit of distinctive cognacs. Another rarity: it creates guaranteed vintage cognacs (millésimés), a process by which ushers seal the open barrels during production to ensure authenticity! A legitimate process repeated as often as is necessary. Traceability is also part of the rigorous practice exercised by the manufacturer. Not to mention the art of ageing in oak barrels. As the grape is well characterized, the cellar master is not obliged to “play” with the wood to adjust the taste, but when necessary can take advantage of this tool in the development of the product. For instance, in the case of barrels of Île de Ré, subjected to humidity from the Atlantic Ocean that surrounds the storage warehouses, the sea spray imparts an iodine flavor to the drink. This example illustrates why Camus speaks of the “accumulated experience” of generations of craftsmen, knowledge the house is only too ready to share when visiting its facilities in Cognac, open to the public from May to September. With the guidance of a master blender, you can create your own cognac!
Camus offers a complete range of products that will satisfy every palate. And also the connoisseur: for example, Borderies XO addresses a female market, its contents housed in the shape of a perfume bottle. Extra for its part, is more design forward, more masculine. The ultimate: Masterpiece Collection by Cyril Camus are rare, limited vintages housed in Baccarat crystal bottles designed by French sculptor Mansau. All this waiting for you at the 150th anniversary of Camus in 2013 – taste new discoveries, and witness new heights for the Camus family reputation.
Photo: Andrew Thomas
Photo: le jardin digital