The Tippling Point | How Satan's Trick of Double Roast Helped Perfect the Cognac
Earlier, the Dutch merchants who couldn’t find any profit in trading the prestigious and the luxurious Bordeaux wine had finally found another spot in interior France where cheaper wine was available. The name of the place - Cognac.
Glasses of Cognac are displayed at the Remy Martin headquarters in Cognac, southwestern France. (Reuters)
Chevalier de la Croix Maron, Lord of Segonzac could not sleep ever since he killed his wife and his neighbor. It happened months ago, the legend says, when he returned to his mansion from the Crusades. Maron arrived home unannounced and had to witness the horrific sight of his wife sharing her bed with his neighbour. How could a husband tolerate such a sight! Definitely not a lord like him.
Maron pulled out his gun and fired. Two times. Two lives.
It was 17th century France. And so the double murder went down without creating much ripples in the society. Murmurs died out pretty soon except those that began to grow within his soul.
Maron could not sleep since then. The moment he closed his eyes he could see Satan popping up from the darkness with a an evil glee. He saw the same dream every night - Satan roasting him alive over fire twice, as if one was not enough.
Then Maron reasoned, it could be the punishment for his double-murder. The lord tried to dunk his sleep in the eau de vine, his servants made for their master. But the Satan never failed to visit him in his sleep.
One night after going through yet another hell of a double-roast, Maron sat on his bed, all sweat. His shivering fingers were wound around a glass of his favourite drink — burnt wine — a recent invention. He took another sip and thought hard. What if this nightmare could be a message from above! He looked into his drink for some time, suddenly his face brightened, his eyes sparkled. Next morning Maron asked his servants to distill the wine twice instead of once, which was the usual practice of making burnt wine. Abracadabra! The drink had undergone a magical change. Its texture had a smoothness he had never felt in a drink.
Earlier, the Dutch merchants who couldn’t find any profit in trading the prestigious and the luxurious Bordeaux wine had finally found another spot in interior France where cheaper wine was available. The name of the place - Cognac. Since the Dutch wanted to carry a lot of barrels across the ocean they had to cut the size of wine. They distilled it. Once. They had the intention of adding water back to wine once the barrels reached the destination.
But merchants only had to taste the burnt wine to change their decision. This is manna, far better and more potent than the wine they tasted back at Cognac, they realized. They touched the soul of wine only through burning, by distillation.
The new drink - the world-renowned Cognac brandy - was still a step away from perfection.
It was then that Chevalier de la Croix Maron dreamt up Satan showing him this trick of a double roast. That did the trick.
And we got our Cognac.
(Manu Remakant is a freelance writer who also runs a video blog - A Cup of Kavitha - introducing world poetry to Malayalees. Views expressed here are personal)
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