The history of Calvados Comte Louis de Lauriston:
An unusual story
Founded to put an end to illicit distilling of Calvados in the Domfront region, the Calvados Comte Louis de Lauriston cellars today possess forgotten treasures dating back to this period of clandestine production: a unique range of vintages covering several decades.
The Domfront region has always been the cradle of agriculture on a family scale, marked by small farms separated by sunken lanes and impenetrable hedges. With its mixed woodland and pastures on a hilly terrain, the Domfront region has always lent itself to clandestine activities; Calvados has often been hurriedly distilled here on stormy winter nights when no officials were likely to venture abroad to check on the legality of the operation - until one famous night of 1962 when a group of zealous excise-men burst in on the bootleggers and caught them red-handed.
Within an hour dozens of neighbouring farmers had arrived, mysteriously alerted to the fact that one of their number was in trouble. Outnumbered, the excise officials were forced to line up against a stable wall in the glare of the headlights of tractors and cars drawn up in a semi-circle around them. Fearing that the situation might deteriorate, some of those present sent for Count Louis de LAURISTON, then Secretary General of the local farmers´ federation, to ask for his help in finding a way out of the deadlock. After endless negotiations it was agreed that the fine imposed on the distillers would be suspended, on condition that a cellar was set up to store and market Calvados produced in full accordance with the law. Count Louis de LAURISTON undertook to carry the project through. Founder and first President of the CHAIS DU VERGER NORMAND, Louis de LAURISTON very soon handed over control to his Vice-President, Maurice CHEVRET, so as to devote himself to other tasks.
Since 1962, Calvados distilled at home by farmers, using traditional local methods, has been delivered to the cellars in Domfront, the "CHAIS DU VERGER NORMAND", and marketed under the "Count Louis de LAURISTON" brand name. It adds regularly to the stock of ageing Calvados whose quality has been acknowledged by the award of 200 medals and certificates of merit.
In 1992 the Chais du Verger Normand joined forces with CHRISTIAN DROUIN S.A. for the production and sale of their Calvados, poirés, ciders and pommeau. In the framework of this agreement, Louis de Lauriston transferred the "Comte Louis de Lauriston” brand to CRISTIAN DROUIN, imposing just one condition: the quality of the Calvados should remain unimpeachable.
In 2008 Guillaume Drouin succeeded Maurice Chevret as Chairman of the cellars.