A bottle of cognac.
The term “brandy club” generally refers to a mail-order subscription program whereby participants receive a different bottle of brandy every month or every few months over the course of a year. Cognac clubs often offer reduced prices on bottles and sometimes sell vintages and labels that are not widely available. Joining a cognac club is usually as simple as filling out an order form, providing proof that the individual is of legal age in the jurisdiction of the delivery address, and submitting payment.
A cognac club is best for people who don’t mind spending a significant amount of money developing their cognac palate.
At their core, cognac clubs are often little more than long-term contracts for a fixed number of cognac shipments. Clubs are usually organized around these remittances. Some clubs may ship one bottle a month, for example, while others may ship one bottle every three months, one bottle every quarter, or regular shipments of two or more bottles.
Content may also vary. A monthly cognac club, much like the similar wine club, is usually designed as a way for subscribers to try many different types of cognac. Variety is usually taken for granted. Some clubs focus on cognacs from a particular region or one or more specific brands of cognac. Others promise to include a certain number of bottles of vintage cognac or limit their shipments to what connoisseurs would call “fine cognac”.
Payment options vary depending on the cognac club structure. The most common clubs are essentially a way to buy cognac in advance. Club memberships cost a fixed amount and include the price of bottles and the cost of shipping. For people who like to drink cognac, this type of pre-purchase program can often be a way to save money. More often than not, the price of each bottle, if divided from the annual total, is less than it would be if it were purchased independently.
Other cognac clubs take a billing approach on shipping. Members of these clubs generally pay a flat fee to join and agree to be billed for each shipment as it arrives. A cognac club that follows this model will rarely publish its shipping prices. Club owners usually set a limit – they promise, for example, that no shipments will total above a certain amount – but they won’t reveal the full amount owed until the bottle or bottles arrive. More often than not, membership in these clubs requires a contractual obligation to buy whatever is shipped, making this type of club the best for people who don’t mind spending a significant amount of money developing their cognac palate.