David Lawley, in his new biography, tells one of the great stories of Prince Tallyrand. "A Jacobin radical bursts into his study during the Terror and Tallyrand gives him a glass of cognac, which he immediately starts to guzzle. Tallyrand stops him:"

    No, no, no, that is not the way to drink cognac. One does it like this. One takes the glass in the hollow of the hand, one warms it, one shakes it with a circular motion to liberate the scent, then one raises it to one's nostrils, one breathes it in.
"And then?" sighs the panicked visitor.

"And then, Sir, one puts one's glass down and one discusses it."

--- David A. Bell
From a Review of Napoleon's Master
David Lawday
LRB, 16 November 2006
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