On the banks of the Charente River there lays the Cognac Otard, a cognac distillery established in 1795. Cognac is a beverage or form of brandy made from the white wines of the Cognac region. In 950, a fortress was built to protect the region from the Normans. The Plantagenets gained the property by marriage in 1190.
During the 15th century the Valois family rebuilt the Chateau Cognac and Francois Valois-later King Francis I of France-was born here in 1494. Around the beginning of the 16th century, King Francis redeveloped the Chateau Cognac to embody the Italian style of design.
Baron Jean Otard, Great Grandson of James Otard of Scotland, was born near Cognac in 1773. James Otard, who was loyal to Stuart King James II, joined him in exile in France. James Otard barely evaded execution during the French revolution, however he managed to escape to England.
In 1795, James Otard purchased Chateau Otard and founded the Cognac Otard Distillery. The chateau was ideal, constructed with thick wooden walls for aging the cognac. The Renaissance chapel that existed on the property was of little use to James Otard so it was demolished.
The white wines used in Otard cognacs are distilled twice, and then aged in oak barrels. The Cognac Otard typically uses wine from two areas- the Grand Champagne and Petite Champagne. The resulting cognac is more of a sparkling cognac or fine champagne cognac.