AAnd so, I was born.
Among rough sheets of paper, beside the opaque glass of an ink bottle, emerging from the shiny metal of the pen nib which created me. In the beginning, I was the germ of an idea that became a mark on paper, then a thin stroke that gradually thickened, a sequence of vigorous and well-defined lines, and finally a burst of strength and ink.
I was born fierce and free.
I was born roaring.
I was born a Griffin.
Endowed with the mighty body of a lion, a fierce beak and powerful eagle wings, I was immediately set to become what I was born to be: a noble yet discreet guardian. A worthy descendant of my forefathers, my spirit was forged in the shadows of the basement where the beating heart of our tradition lies, cellar Paradis.
An authentic and exclusive place, thick with over two hundred years of history, in which our choicest distillate serenely rests in oak barrels. At Château B&D, in the Cognac region, my task is to watch over the treasure brought to life by my creators, Bisquit and Dubouché.
Yes, Alexandre Bisquit.
An audacious entrepreneur, he was visionary and far-sighted, as bold in business as he was in life, able to fight his way out of every corner. In the early 19th century, it was he who led a republican battalion from the Cognac region to Paris in order to fight for freedom.
And then Adrien,
who married Alexandre’s daughter. He was creative, refined, educated, an enlightened collector, a keen traveller who loved the differences that unite and make the peoples of Earth so unique: he was an enthusiastic philanthropist. The Limoges museum paid tribute to his unique spirit by taking his name.
It was both of them that I took after, nurturing their ambitions to be unrelentingly free.
I was born with magnificent wings and I wasn’t afraid to fly higher and higher, beyond the borders that protected us, but that also hid the horizon from our view. I left the sanctuary of that nest and travelled farther and farther away from the Cognac region, my homeland. I went beyond the sea, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, beyond all that was known. I was born free to chase the sun so far that it never set.
I travelled far and wide: between the late 19th century and the early 20th century, all the world came to recognise my profile, my seal, my flavour. The unique and refined character, the full-bodied, aromatic flavour of the cognac I guarded stimulated a fascination with me and my story. My sophisticated distillation process, invented by the genius of Alexandre Bisquit, became legendary by word of mouth. The system was as brilliant as it was easy: devised and perfected as it had been over all his years of hard work.
One of my first public appearances was at the International Exhibition of 1862 in London, where I was immediately honoured. Then, at another Exposition Universelle in Paris, a few years later, Gustave Eiffel’s tower was introduced to the world and, beneath it, I met Tzar Nicholas II of Russia and Winston Churchill. Like them, I met thousands of others in the most important and affluent courts and in the influential parlours of Europe and the world.
But still I felt it wasn’t enough: once again I yearned for a different type of adventure.
Those who are born to soar can’t stay still.
And what better way to emerge from the shadows of a basement than to step into the footlights?
I was feted in the lights that illuminated the world’s stages from Broadway to Paris, filled with international celebrities. I swooped into the limelight and met Josephine Baker, who soon became one of my best admirer. We just needed to make eye contact to realise how similar we were. We would share an ardour and a passion for life, the courage to fight for the justice we believed in, and to follow our dreams.
She was an extraordinary artist and one of the first social activists.
We met during one of those nights at Les Folies Bergère, the centre of the Belle Époque, and our friendship was so beautiful and long-lasting that I decided to dedicate one of my most famous Champagne Cognacs to her, the Josephine – Les Milandes label. And so you’ve seen some of my adventures, after all.
I took flight from the depths of a Château full of history, I flew across the world and made my seal and its traditions famous. I spent my time with important and passionate people, and then returned to my heritage, to Cognac, and lay in the dark with the distillate, satisfying my precious duty as an eternal guardian.
Many travels, many discoveries, many ever-changing atmospheres. Every second of my existence experienced with the same enthusiasm, the same curiosity, the same passion for life. Why, would you ask?
Because I was born free.
Because I was born daring and fierce.
Because I was born a Griffin, and I will always be one.