Welcome to Experience Cognac. Step into this portal, and allow us to transport you to the Cognac region of France.

Join Paul Pacult as he looks backwards in time to uncover Cognac's long history and illustrious heritage. Paul will reveal the diverse and special geography that contributes to what truly makes this a spirit of place.

Doug Frost, MS, MW, explains the origin of Cognac’s flavors: its grapes, the soils in which they are grown, the way they are fermented and the time honored process of distillation and oak aging, and how all of these work together to create the magical elixir known throughout the world as Cognac.

Dr. David Wondrich will pick up where Mr. Pacult left you in that moment of history, leading you through the evolution of Cognac cocktails from Punch to Juleps and demonstrating how Cognac was one of the original and most important spirits in early cocktail history.

King Cocktail himself, Dale DeGroff, will take you further in your journey of discovery, showing how these early Cognac cocktails evolved into benchmark drinks such as the Crusta and the Sidecar, and how by Prohibition it was again arguably the most prized spirit in the United States.

Then hold on tight as Andy Seymour whisks you into the Bartending Renaissance of today, reveling in the resurgence of the craft and demonstrating Cognac's huge role in that revitalization and its newfound popularity.

Lets not forget about what is perhaps most important of all--- what is in the glass. Cognac is indeed one of the great distillates on the planet, as appropriate drunk neat with food or after dinner as it is as the base spirit in a handcrafted cocktail, and as such we must understand not only where it comes from, but how to experience the spirit itself through tasting, which I will attempt to do with you--- not so easy to do online. Find yourself a glass of great Cognac and let's get busy tasting together!

The Final Step?

Cognac enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike! Listen up! This portal isn't merely a chance to learn about your favorite spirit. You can rank your knowledge throughout this portal. Take our Quiz and test your knowledge. Everything you need to know to pass our series of Cognac Connoisseur tests is here, in our vignettes, on our portal, or in the linked websites;, or

Pass the FINAL TEST, and move to the next level, where you might be chosen as a winner of one of two scholarships to the BAR 5-Day Program, and you could earn a free trip to the region to experience Cognac first hand.

So, get studying, practice tasting, and take that test, and you can become a Certified Cognac Connoisseur!

Who knows?

Hopefully we will all see you in Cognac, or in NYC at the BAR school!

Steven Olson

Steven Olson is dedicated to the education and consultation of degustation for appreciation and celebration. He teaches, lectures, and writes all over the world about wine, beer, spirits, sake, and virtually any other beverage under the sun, discussing their integral cause-and-effect relationship with food as he preaches the gospel of his mission: making tasting fun by removing the intimidation factor and the pretense. Olson is the wine and spirits consultant for Bon Appétit magazine. He was also selected as Santé magazine's Spirits Professional of the Year for 2003, and in 2005, he was chosen as CHEERS magazine Beverage Innovator of the Year, a lifetime achievement award.

Olson designed the innovative beverage programs and service systems for several nationally acclaimed operations, including the Relais Chateau, Mobil Five Star award-winning Mayflower Inn in Connecticut, New York City's #1 Zagat-rated restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, and the Adam Tihany-designed Summit at the Mobil Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond BROADMOOR in Colorado Springs. Most recently, Olson designed the beverage programs for OTG Management, which exclusively operates dozens of restaurants and wine bars in airports, and in 2007 Steve was chosen by Grupo Posadas hotel group in Mexico to design the beverage programs for their Aqua properties, which opened in 2008.