A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.
The region currently exports 97% of its stock - €1.83 billion worth.
An announcement from the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) said 2010 “saw a massive increase across all markets and categories of just under 30%, representing 12.8 million cases or 153 million bottles and an increase of 17.9 % in volume”.
2010 confirmed the shift in demand for high-end cognacs (VSOP, XO and exclusive blends), which now represent the lion’s share of the total market at 54.5%. The XO category grew by 36.6 % and VSOP by 27%, with VS showing 6 % growth over the year.
The BNIC said that the 2010 figures show that the global market for cognac is spread between three major geographical zones – Asia, US, Canada and Mexico and Europe. The Far East, which accounts for 33.2 % of the world market in volume, saw sustained growth at +34.3% over the year. This now makes Asia cognac’s biggest market in volume (4.42 million cases), having held first place in value since 2008.
The US, Canada and Mexico (Alena), with 32.2% of the world market, performed well in 2010.
Europe, where shipments reached 30.5% of world volume (3.89 million cases), grew by 11.7 % in 2010. In its home market, cognac shipments were up 18.3%.
Bernard Guionnet, president of the BNIC expressed his delight at the exceptional performance of cognac in 2010 and his confidence in the future for the AOC.