A Pokémon Connoisseur (Japanese: ポケモンソムリエPokémon Sommelier) or Pokémon Connaisseuse (Japanese: ポケモンソムリエールPokémon Sommelière) is a person who specializes in identifying the compatibility between Pokémon Trainers and their Pokémon. They are not well-known outside of the Unovaregion.
Pokémon Connoisseurs use their knowledge and experience to diagnose the bond between Trainer and Pokémon, and from there give advice on how to strengthen their partnership. The process of checking Pokémon and Trainer compatibility is known as an evaluation, with methods including field observations, skin condition and aroma. Connoisseurs can also help choose what Pokémon would be compatible for beginning Trainers who have not yet chosen their first Pokémon as seen in Clash of the Connoisseurs!.
When sharing a strong bond with their Pokémon, Connoisseurs will refer to them as their premium brand (Japanese: ビンテージvintage), however, the term is not used continuously in the English dub as it is in the original Japanese version, and is often replaced with other lines. Connoisseurs also use the term for other Trainer's Pokémon as well, as seen in the Japanese version of Battling For The Love of Bug-Types! when Cilan concluded that Pikachu was Ash's premium brand. Additionally, premium brand Pokémon are not limited to humans, as two Pokémon who are in love can be each others' premium brand.
An S-Class Connoisseur Badge
Connoisseur Rank Data
A Connoisseur or Connaisseuse is licensed and given a class-specific Badge by the Pokémon Connoisseur Association after successfully completing a specific Connoisseur Evaluation for each class, starting with C-class. In A Connoisseur's Revenge!, a ranking system for Pokémon Connoisseurs was revealed to exist. There are four different Connoisseur classes:
S-class: Highest of the Connoisseur classes. They are experts and may open their own shop.
A-class: They are known due to their ability and they may open their own shop.
B-class: They are readers and may be assistants but still may not open their own shop.
C-class: Lowest of the Connoisseur classes. They are beginners and are typically only assistants of an A-Class or above Connoisseurs.