our roots

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In remembering the Ferrand family, we honor both their heritage and the history of cognac as a whole.


The Beginning of Ferrand & Cognac

old picture of manor

So marks the beginning of our wonderful story with the birth of one Elie Ferrand. This story takes us through a long line of Elie Ferrands to Mademoiselle Henriette, the guardian of the family’s distinguished past, and on to Ferrand Cognac today and the proud work that we continue in honor of this family.

Elie I was the start of 10 successive generations of Elie Ferrands who, for over three centuries, contributed to the shaping of the landscape of Grande Champagne and the taste of cognac, be it in the vineyards, in wine-making, in cognac distillation, or as in Elie VIII’s case, all three.


The Birth of a New Era

drawing of ferrand

When Elie VII married Marie Roumagne in 1838 they inherited vineyards and wine-making and cognac distillation materials from his father, Elie VI, on the family land in Segonzac in the heart of Grande Champagne. At this point, the Ferrands had already been involved in the local industry for nearly two centuries. The very next year, Elie VII and Marie gave birth to a son.

While each Elie Ferrand played an important role in the history of Cognac, Elie VIII, born on October 2, 1839, was unarguably the most illustrious and charismatic member of the family.

Elie VIII The prestige of a lineage

old picture of the manor

Over the next 88 years, Elie VIII lived life to the fullest. His curiosity and reverence towards nature extended beyond the vineyards, leading him to build his own zoo, with such magnificent animals as flamingos, toucans, gazelles, kangaroos, and zebras.

His creativity and passion for cognac meant that he was constantly exploring new methods and techniques in production. And his commitment to greatness helped him not only gain recognition the world over, but also ensured that the phylloxera epidemic was conquered, preserving the history of cognac for the future.


The Family Manor

old family in vines

In 1861, Elie Ferrand VII built a noble manor house on the family land. It is this house where the Ferrand family continued to live for a century and a half.

Today, the manor house still brims with the life of past generations, all having been preciously safe-guarded by Mademoiselle Henriette Ranson-Ferrand. Mademoiselle, the great-granddaughter of Elie VIII, and the last of the line of 10 generations of Elie Ferrands, described the manor’s ability to transcend time: “You can see it has not changed much. It has aged, that’s all.”


The Threat of Phylloxera

Phylloxera guide

1877 marked the last unspoiled harvest in the region. Over the next fifteen years, phylloxera ravaged the Cognac vineyards. The town of Segonzac, in the heart of Grande Champagne, lost over half of its distillers.

During this time, Elie VIII recognized the threat of phylloxera to not just his own vineyards, but for the cognac industry as a whole and was convinced that they must act as a united force with strength and determination. He explored and actively studied the different solutions that began to emerge.


The Tables of the Heads of Europe

old letter

Elie VIII’s cognacs were quickly gaining a reputation across France and the world as being the best. Not only had he won top medals, but in a hand-written letter from the family archives, we discovered that his cognacs had been served on the tables of world leaders.

Dated 1882, Elie’s letter responded to a request from the secretary of the Sultan of Constantinople for 40 cases of cognac, stating that he was very flattered that “my cognacs will be served at the table of the Sultan, as they had once been at the table of the Emperor Napoléon III.”


New Century, Same Great Cognacs

old diploma

After successfully rehabilitating the charentais vineyards following the blight of phylloxera as well as more than a decade of international renown, Elie VIII could easily say that he ended the century in triumph.

His dedication to cognac was further recognized with a prestigious gold medal for his cognac at the Universal Paris Exhibition of 1900. Later that year, he also was made a Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit on the proposal of the Ministry of Agriculture.


The Youngest Elie Ferrand, Victim of War

man in war suit

Elie Frederic Paul Ferrand, Elie X, grandson of Elie VIII, enlisted as a soldier in 1913 and was sent to the front following the declaration of war in 1914. During this time he was present on multiple battlefields across Europe.

While still enlisted, he suffered from severe dysentery and then contracted typhoid fever during his evacuation back to France. He died in September, 1915. Thus, as a result of the effects of the bloodiest war in history, the 10th generation and last of this succession of Elie Ferrands, was extinguished forever.


The Birth of Mademoiselle

portrait of child mademoiselle

On June 10, 1922, Henriette Ranson-Ferrand was born, making Elie Ferrand VIII a great-grandfather.

The two were only to have five short years together, but for her entire life, Henriette, or “Mademoiselle” as we have always known her, remembered her great-grandfather and held him in high esteem.

And like Elie VIII, Mademoiselle had a life-long passion for horses, often hosting local equestrian shows on the manor grounds.

Mademoiselle never married. She was to be the last of this long family line, but she kept her family’s passionate spirit alive, remembering the names and important dates of all her ancestors.


Remembering Elie VIII

portrait of elie viii

Elie Ferrand, the eighth of his name, died on October 19, 1927 in the small town of Segonzac. Here, in the heart of Grand Champagne, he lived his entire 88 years, passionately campaigning for his region and for one of the things he loved most : cognac.

He was remembered not just for the many awards and recognitions he received during his life for his work and his cognacs, but as someone who had “great qualities of heart and mind,” as mentioned in his obituary.

Creative, curious, and helpful, Elie VIII lived a full life dedicated to exploring new ideas and enjoying the simple pleasures, be it spending time with his family or trying to see if he could tie the zebras from his zoo onto his carriage.


The Family Manor

portrait of elie viii

In 1861, Elie Ferrand VII built a noble manor house on the family land. It is this house where the Ferrand family continued to live for a century and a half.

Today, the manor house still brims with the life of past generations, all having been preciously safe-guarded by Mademoiselle Henriette Ranson-Ferrand. Mademoiselle, the great-granddaughter of Elie VIII, and the last of the line of 10 generations of Elie Ferrands, described the manor’s ability to transcend time: “You can see it has not changed much. It has aged, that’s all.”


Alexandre Gabriel Looks to the Past to Reinvent the Future

a couple in front of vines

Alexandre Gabriel was born and raised in France on a farm in southern Burgundy, where his grandfather taught him how to make wine and distill spirits. In 1989, Alexandre came upon an ancient cognac house in the heart of the Grande Champagne area of Cognac and the stars aligned. His goal was to create exceptional cognacs that bring forth powerful emotions. Decades later, these wonderful amber-hued elixirs do just that, reinforcing their storied heritage with their rare ability to astonish and exhilarate.

Also in 1989, Alexandre met Mademoiselle Henriette Ranson-Ferrand because he had a blending cellar near the family manor. So began a life-long friendship between the two, sharing stories and anecdotes of histories past, building a relationship that would ultimately lead to Mademoiselle entrusting Alexandre to carry on the Ferrand family heritage.


Passing the Torch

a man in his workshop

The guardian of her family’s history, Mademoiselle Henriette Ranson-Ferrand passed away on September 7, 2016 at the age of 94. Alexandre Gabriel and Jacques Blanc, historian at Ferrand Cognac, had the privilege of spending the last of Mademoiselle’s life with her as she recounted stories and entrusted them with her family archives. The three worked together to write a book on her great- grandfather, Elie Ferrand VIII, with the goal of protecting her family history, ensuring that it was recorded for generations to come.

It was three days after learning of the book’s completion, a project so dear to her heart, that Mademoiselle passed away. Before her passing, Mademoiselle gave Alexandre Gabriel and Maison Ferrand the mission to carry on her family’s legacy, an honor we are proud to continue : “I will soon be 95 years old and it comforts me to know that Alexandre Gabriel, a man as passionate as Grand-père, has a lifelong project to produce great cognacs, just like Elie Ferrand 130 years ago. It is up to him and the entire team at Maison Ferrand to continue this mission and to transmit this heritage in the years to come. My best wishes go with them.”


Nearly 400 Years of Cognac Heritage

ferrand team

Today, at Ferrand Cognac we continue to uphold the legacy and creative spirit of the Ferrand family through our singular cognacs, which are capable of bringing forth wonderful experiences and astonishing emotions.

With hundreds of international awards and recognitions to date, we are following in the footsteps of Elie Ferrand VIII, creating cognacs that are a pleasure to the senses. We continue to experiment and learn, pushing ourselves to bring to life unique cognacs that inspire not just us, but you as well.


drawing of old mademoiselle

Today, we lovingly refer to the family home as Mademoiselle Manor, in honor of Mademoiselle Henriette Ranson-Ferrand, the last descendent of 10 generations of Elie Ferrands. It was she who safeguarded the house, its belongings, and her family heritage. « You can see it has not changed much. It has aged, that’s all. » - Mademoiselle

Alexandre Gabriel shared a close bond with Mademoiselle for decades, having worked in a blending cellar near her family house. In her last years the two worked closely with Jacques Blanc, Ferrand Cognac historian, to write a book on her great-grandfather, Elie Ferrand VIII. Mademoiselle passed away at the age of 94, just days after learning from Alexandre and Jacques that the book had been completed. Following Mademoiselle’s wish, the manor is now under the careful watch of Alexandre Gabriel and Ferrand Cognac.

The Ferrand Foundation

recent picture of manor

Today, the Mademoiselle Manor is the home of the Ferrand Foundation, which is dedicated to the research and preservation of the intangible heritage of Cognac. The foundation finances research and has published several books on the history and the ancient techniques of cognac.

It is also working on the restoration of Mademoiselle Manor, which houses more than two centuries of archives. The goal is to bring back the grandeur and sparkle of the house to honor the commitment and knowledge of those that came before us in a way that can be experienced by others for years to come.

Our published works

a guy in his office

At Ferrand Cognac, we look to the past to reinvent the future. Through meticulous research we’ve gathered hand-written accounts encompassing centuries of cognac secrets. This knowledge, passionately collected by Alexandre Gabriel and Ferrand historian Jacques Blanc, drives us to resurrect astounding techniques of the past in the form of delicious spirits to enjoy today. Often, this research is so novel that we want to share it so that others can experience the wealth of information we have uncovered.

Elie Ferrand VIII, The life and times of an enlightened Cognac farmer

some books of ferrand

This book is the fruit of three years of research in libraries, conversations with Mademoiselle, analysis of over 50 years of Elie Ferrand’s diaries and hundreds of his personal papers, as well as family archives dating back to the early 18th century, all preserved at the Mademoiselle Manor.

Discover the story of Elie Ferrand VIII and his mission to perpetuate traditions and perfect skills and ancestral techniques in order to create the best cognac, and spread knowledge and appreciation of them in France and abroad. Alexandre Gabriel took this mission upon himself many years ago and with his team continues to keep it alive today in upholding the wonder of cognac.

History of Grande Champagne de Cognac

book and cognac bottle

This book is the first volume of the Maison Ferrand Collection, a series of books that make known, through research and publication of a collection of specific works, the intangible heritage of cognac and rum.

As both a cognac producer and grape grower in the Grande Champagne region of Cognac, we find the subject of this area incredibly interesting. No other place in the world has the natural chalk and limestone terroir of Grande Champagne with the potential to produce cognacs of the utmost finesse. Through extensive research, we bring you this book, and the rich history of this prestigious region.