Guillon-painturaud estate

The secrets of distillation

Discover the secrets of our exceptional Cognac, a clever mix of history and tradition.

La Distillation En Deux Chauffes

The distillation is carried out in two heatings, thanks to a still, known as a Charentais still.
This still is made of a copper pot with a characteristic shape, heated over an open fire (right in the pot) and topped by a "chapiteau", extended by a swan's neck that turns into a coil and passes through a cooling basin called "pipe".

Distillation allows the concentration of aromas by extracting and selecting the volatile products. Only the volatile substances are found in the eau de vie.

These are the ones that constitute the main elements of the bouquet. The alcohol (ethanol) is the vector that carries the volatile compounds.

The distillation also allows to concentrate the alcohol.

Nearly 8 litres of wine are needed to obtain one litre of Cognac eau-de-vie. This must not exceed 72.4% vol. at 20°C.

Ce Distillat Sera Fractionné En 4 Parties

THE HEADS : The first litres of the distillate obtained, which are very rich in alcohol, are discarded. These are known as the "heads" (they contain between 82 and 78% vol.).
The "heads" represent only 1 to 2% of the volume, the selection is made thanks to the human presence, each liter is delicately felt to be chosen.

THE HEART : The alcohol content gradually decreases, and the clear, limpid eau-de-vie that will become Cognac begins to flow.

THE SECONDS : Next come the "seconds", which will be partially preserved to give the characteristics of our Cognac. This delicate operation is known as "the cut", and is the moment when the distiller keeps his or her attention on the still to select the optimum moment to stop the day's selection.

THE TAILS : The "tails" mark the end of the distillate, devoid of aromas and with a low alcoholic strength.

The "heads" and "tails" will be re-distilled with the wine. "The heart", placed in oak barrels, will be able to begin its aging.

Cycle De Distillation

The success of the distillation cycle, which lasts about 24 hours (12 hours for each cycle), requires a lot of attention, constant monitoring and practice on the part of the distiller.

By intervening on distillation techniques (proportion of fine lees, recycling of "seconds" in wines or "brouillis", temperature curves...) we will be able to give our Cognac eaux-de-vie elements of its personality for future years.


To discover all the secrets behind the making of our cognacs and Pineaux des Charentes, don't hesitate to book your guided visit

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