We find out from brand education and training director Julien Pepin Lehalleur why cognac’s reputation is changing in recent years
Cognac has come a long way from being an old man’s drink. With access to more information online, imbibers are finding out that it’s such a versatile drink that you can have day or night—neat, iced or mixed. The fact that the cognac market is growing across the globe, especially in Asia, has led Moët Hennesy to create the role of brand education and training director a few years ago, with the aim of spreading the gospel about this exquisite brown spirit.
Taking on the position is Julien Pepin Lehalleur, formerly of Ruinart and House of Krug. While it seems like Lehalleur’s first love was champagnes and wines (he was the president of his business school’s wine student club in 1996), he tells us that it is actually cognac. “I had my first internship with Hennessy even before I got elected president,” he muses. During those three months of working at the sales boutique in Cognac, he was exposed to the many ways you can drink it. “I wasn’t aware that you could drink it with Indian tonic water, sparkling water or Coke,” he shares, which was a revelation for him at that time.
That fascination with cognacs has never left him since those fruitful few months in Cognac. And 22 years after his internship, he has found himself at Moët Hennessy again with a new role, and sharing more about his beloved drink.
On his recent visit to Singapore, we sit down with him (with a glass of cognac, of course) to find out how the reputation of cognac is slowly changing and what’s the best way to appreciate it.