Courvoisier is an elite cognac that has been produced in France since 1835—produced by mixing four grape varieties, followed by distillation and aging in special oak barrels. The brand complies with European standards, and one of the few has the full right to be called cognac, not brandy. Its taste was appreciated by the monarchs of France, England, Denmark, and Sweden. The drink was served at the opening of the Eiffel Tower, and instead of stars, diamonds were attached to the labels of this brand.
The company is based in the Charente district – the homeland of all cognacs and is one of the four largest drink producers. The company exports up to 15 million bottles per year. The company’s products include seven classic options. Among them, both the usual varieties of VS and VSOP aged from 4 to 10 years and more elite drinks (Napoleon, 18-Year-Old, Initiale Extra, L’Essence) aged from 11 to 50 years. Each of the species has from two to seven honorary awards. In addition, there are unique blends dedicated to certain dates or events (for example, to the 200th anniversary of the coronation of Bonaparte). They include alcohols of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Since 2005, cognac has been owned by the Japanese company Suntory Holdings Limited, which produces beer and spirits.
Meaning and History
The birth of the business took place at the very beginning of the 19th century, when Courvoisier (Emmanuel Courvoisier), with the support of the mayor of the city, Louis Vallois, opened his company for the sale of elite wines produced in the region. And then he became a winemaker himself. Subsequently, their children moved production to the city near Cognac (Zharnak) so that the drink had the most authentic taste. The company’s headquarters are still located there. In 1843, the partners officially registered the Courvoisier company. Production belonged to the founding families until 1909, after which the brand passed to the English owners. Courvoisier was bought by the company’s agent in the United Kingdom, as this drink was highly valued in Britain. The brand’s original design, its emblems, the merit of the new owners. They connected the history of the company’s logo with France, the founder of the company, and Bonaparte Napoleon.
The first visual sign featured the emperor himself. The company has used his image since 1909. The emblem depicted the waist-deep shadow of the commander, surrounded by clouds, inside an oval, in the center of which the brand’s very name was written. The signature at the bottom read “cognac,” and even lower a small postscript “Napoleon’s brandy.” The label had a cream background. All inscriptions and drawings are in black. The letters increased towards the center, creating a three-dimensional effect, hinting at the shape of a bottle of an elite drink.
The silhouette of Bonaparte on the emblem and an additional inscription with an “informal name” appeared in connection with the emperor’s attention to this drink. It was believed that the commander visited the warehouses of Courvoisier during a visit to Bercy and purchased their products for his soldiers. And four years later, going into exile, he took a couple of barrels of elite brandy with him. On the way, the British who accompanied the captive tried his stock and began to call brandy Napoleon’s cognac. In 1869, the emperor’s nephew granted Courvoisier the title of purveyor to the Imperial Court.
The shadow of Napoleon on the label was supposed to show the emperor’s love, and his location in the clouds was the patronage of the brand even after the end of his earthly journey. It also hinted at the high “ethereal” taste of brandy, worthy of royalty.
The cream background was typical for the decals of that time. In Courvoisier, it denoted the soft taste of the drink.
Simonov left the brand briefly during World War II so that the German invaders would not take him away. The head of the company, George S., who left for the UK for a while, sold the company to his French friends, and after the war, he bought it back. The owner continued to develop the brand in the style of Napoleon and, in 1951, introduced a new bottle of drink with the name of the wife of the commander – Josephine. Gradually, this form became a classic for expensive cognacs. By the end of the century, the brand logo had become more elegant and modern. The change in ownership in 2005 did not affect the main motif of the mark.
The new logo looks much more sophisticated. It has ornate inscriptions inherent in the French style—the main name with serifs on the letters. The center of the composition is the letter V, symbolizing the word “victory.” Above it is the shadow of Napoleon, and below this letter is emphasized by an unusual leg of the letter R. The word “brandy” was removed, since according to the new rules, Courvoisier is one of the few that has the right to be called “cognac.” Therefore, the signature reads: “Cognac of Napoleon.” The image of the Emperor has become more schematic and resembles a golden print of a seal. Everything in the new sign indicates the high royal status of cognac.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Both the first and second emblems of the drink were made in black and white. This is a symbol of classic taste, strict adherence to the recipe, and a sign of the ancient roots of the cognacs of this company. Since 2015, the logo has had the color of gold, which shows the premium quality and elitism of the drink.
The font of the first character is similar to Tw Cen MT Condensed Extra Bold. The new emblem uses the Colonna MT font but a longer R stem. It is more in tune with the drink’s sophisticated bouquet and its French roots.