Repeatedly at the top of world’s most prestigious cognac lists, LOUIS XIII Cognac is an experience unto itself.
“You’re sipping something that was around even during the era of Charlie Chaplin,” says Jörg Pfützner, the official representative of LOUIS XIII. It is not everyday you sip something that truly warms the cockles of your heart and makes you feel the essence of its rich history in every whiff and sip that engulfs your senses. That’s Remy Martin’s LOUIS XIII for you.
Starting with the unique decanter and the rich gold and amber hues, the experience is ignited through the classic visuals. Next come the aromas, fruity essences hinting at rose, honeysuckle, and plums. Once sipped, a vivacious sensory experience ensues, in that the notes crackling with a different personality at the lips, on the tongue, and at the back of your throat. Notes resembling cigars or walnuts, and figs lead into a mildly spiced flavour of ginger and cinnamon. The combination of nutty and spicy undertones is at once at home with the Indian palate.
Given the exquisiteness of this sensorial journey, it comes at Rs 2.6 lakhs per 700 ml. And there’s a lot more than impeccable taste that adds to its character. Here’s a lowdown of what makes the LOUIS XIII Cognac what it is, and why you’d want to add it to your collection.
Created in 1874, LOUIS XIII has a 146 year-old-history today. The family-owned LOUIS XIII is made using up to 1,200 eaux-de-vie (the water of life) from the first cru of Cognac region, i.e., the best soil in the world for the production of the drink. It’s not just a rich legacy, but its delicate maintenance that makes it unique—which means the taste of the cognac hasn’t wavered from the first decanter till date. This has been ensured by their cellar masters who pass on their superior knowledge down the generations.
Terroir refers to the blend of soil, climate, and human skill that come together to create the product. In the case of LOUIS XIII Cognac, it gets its excellent ageing potential from the eaux-de-vie distilled from Grande Champagne grapes. What contributes to the quality is the chalky, porous soil, the curve of the Charente valley, the Massif Central mountains to the east, the Gulf Stream blowing from the Atlantic to the west, and the skill of generations of local winegrowers and distillers.
The said eaux-de-vie are then matured in casks for several decades. The oakwood for these casks is procured from French forests, and once matured through decades the cognac is transferred to the next step, the tierçons. These centennial casks are the rarest in the house of Remy Martin, and used exclusively for LOUIS XIII. These are special because their thin staves mean a unique interaction occurs among the eaux-de-vie, the air, and the wood. Irreplaceable, these are carefully restored by the cellar masters at regular intervals.
Artisanal in nature, each decanter is crafted by hand and uniquely numbered. Taking on the design of the original 16th-century metal flask discovered on the site of the battle of Jarnac (France), which inspired the creation of LOUIS XIII cognac, the glass decanters today resemble the same. It takes 11 artisans to fashion this decanter, which is embellished with the symbol of French royalty—fleurs-de-lys, hand-pinched spikes, and its neck ringed in 20 carat gold. Today, the decanter is topped by a solid crystal fleur-de-lys stopper, resembling a cathedral spire.
As the current cellar master, Baptiste Loiseau puts it, “When you taste LOUIS XIII, the imagination is let loose to explore its rich territories. There is no set way to experience it. It’s sharing the moment that matters most, and letting the words and feelings flow.”
All images: LOUIS XIII