Jean Fillioux: Cognac’s Promised Land

For over 130 years, the Fillioux family name has been synonymous with Cognac. Beginning with Honore in the 1880s, the trade has been handed down for five generations from father to son. Currently, the father and son team Pascal and Christophe Fillioux are working side by side in the distillery and in the cellar, where they have worked now for over a decade. Revered for their immense experience and ability, the Filliouxs have often used their distillery to make Cognacs for many legendary brands, including some of the best-known producers. But the fruit that grows in the vineyard planted on their pristine hilltop in Grande Champagne, estate La Pouyade, has always been reserved for the creation of their own celebrated range of brandies.

In the heart of Juillac le Coq, the center of what is known as the Golden Triangle in Grande Champagne—Cognac’s most important region—the Fillioux estate is perfectly poised to make Cognacs of many different styles that can mature throughout the ages. The art in making the different expressions comes almost entirely from the blending done in the cellar. Admiringly referred to by his neighbors as the “Magician of Aromas,” Pascal uses time-honored techniques to produce singular spirits that each embody their own unique personalities. La Pouyade is a classic, old-school rendition of what many Cognacs used to be like centuries ago. The blend sees an average of eight years of aging, which is considered youthful in Cognac, and which is the perfect foundation for showcasing the distinctive terroir of the region. Refreshing, light, mouth-watering, and highly aromatic, the notes of honeysuckle, vanilla, flowers, almonds, citrus, and white peach are all irresistible in this particular bottling.

The Cognacs blended for the XO are much older, averaging 30 years in age, which is exactly the point at which many Grand Champagne Cognacs begin their transformations, casting off their fruity, youthful robes and becoming more concentrated, with notes of tobacco, chocolate, spicy oak, tannin, raw vanilla, caramel, and toasted chestnuts. The 1991 vintage was never before available in the United States, and the Filliouxs reached out to us and asked if we would be interested in bringing in what was, at the time, the only declared vintage they had on the market. Honored at the proposition, we tasted the Cognac and concluded that this decision was the easiest we had ever made. A little-known fact about the family is that they actually specialize in vintages, but Pascal prefers to subtly blend multiple cuvées together after they have gone through the various and complex stages of aging. The results are unlike anything else available. Bottled directly from the Fillioux cellars, we got the rest of the vintage, so once it sells out, it is gone forever.

 

Jean Fillioux Cognac Astor Exclusive – 1991
Unearthed from the cellar this is currently the only vintage available from this venerable house. Just about 20 years old, this cognac personifies elegance and upholds tradition. Broad aromas of slightly stewed fruit are layered with citrus honey and cinnamon spice. The palate is layered and seamless with peaches, mirabelle plums, caramel and seasoned oak. This is an extremely special opportunity to experience cognac in its purest form.

Jean Fillioux La Pouyade Cognac
Fresh and primary, with a focus on beautiful florals, mouth-watering citrus, and almond notes that fill out the palate. A wonder to discover and enjoy.

Jean Fillioux XO Reserve Cognac
A full-bodied and powerful XO Cognac of over 30 years of age. It still shows quite a bit of fruit for a brandy of this age, along with the all rancio and spice you would expect of an XO without allowing the wood to dominate. Another superb creation from this great Cognac family.