In September 2011, after a successful 24-year tenure as cellar master at the family-owned estate producer Cognac Frapin, Olivier was invited to take up a newly created role as member of the tasting committee and “head of distilleries and communication of eaux-de-vie savoir-faire” at the heart of the world’s biggest cognac house, Hennessy – the region’s most important producer and exporter.
Following his move to Hennessy, Olivier becomes one of the eight chosen members of the company’s “comité de dégustation” – the tasting committee that underpins the creation of the Hennessy blends through its collective expertise, deciding which eaux-de-vie are destined for use in which Hennessy blend.
“We taste between 60 and 70 samples every morning, between 11 and 12 o’clock,” he says. “What is important in a large distillery is to adapt and to make the best blend possible. The wines and eaux-de-vie change every year, so even at a distillery on the scale of Hennessy, each blend must be individually crafted.”