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This year, to commemorate 100 years since the birth of Andre Heriard Dubreuil, Remy Martin has looked into its tradition and also taking a step into the future. It has unveiled a momentous creation which signifies all the heralded qualities of its past and present, contained in the first-ever 35cl Baccarat crystal decanter produced for Louis XIII. This limited edition release is a painstaking effort which is the result of happenstance, time and a great deal of savoir-faire.
For availability you can email the Louis XIII conciergerie: Cheryl.XIE@louisxiii-cognac.com
1. Perfect Provenance
In 1724, the House of Remy Martin cognac was founded and established by a winegrower of the same name. Its unique location at the heart of the beautiful cognac region also grants it the “Fine Champagne" appellation, with Remy Martin drawing its spirits from only Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne crus. These grape-growing regions, known as The Tuscany of France, are fertile and undulating, featuring a temperate climate and an even spread of above-average rainfall. It also enjoys a balance of the Atlantic’s maritime influences and that of continental Europe proving to be a wonderful place for viticulture, as the Romans had discovered two millennia ago.
2. Chalky Character
Louis XIII, which sits at the top of the pile for Remy Martin, is a product of this remarkable terroir, one which has been sculpted and shaped by geological storms in the Tertiary period (between 65 million and 2.5 million years ago). The result is a ground of deep, soft chalk – the softest in fact of all chalky terrain – which enables the vines’ roots to reach into extraordinary depths with immense ease, and to draw water in ideal quantities to flourish.
3. Ageing Gains
The grapes grown under these stress-free and ideal conditions attain great aging potential and superlative aromas once distilled into eaux-de-vie, a focussed spirit which is the product of fermentation of low-alcohol wines. A bottle of Louis XIII contains only eaux-de-vie sourced from the Grande Champagne region, the first cru and choicest parcel of land among the six recognised grape-growing regions of Cognac.
4. Century Chase
However, the sourcing of Grande Champagne eaux de vie is only the first step in a patient cycle which takes many decades to reach its conclusion. Each decanter of Louis XIII relies on the vision and expertise of generations of cellar masters who come before, enabling the precious eaux-de-vie to continually mature and reach its peak potential, with many requiring a century to eventually arrive at their zenith.
5. Dynastic Mores
Thus, the necessity for cellar masters – the artists and stewards of the precious Louis XIII lineage. This dynastic process was institutionalised by Andre Renaud, Chairman of Remy Martin from 1924 to 1965 – who also served as Cellar Master. When Renaud’s son-in-law Andre Herriard Dubreuil succeeded him in 1965, Dubreuil preserved the tradition, working closely with Andre Giraud – the next cellar master in line. Dubreuil would also exhibit entrepreneurial zeal and a great business acumen, greatly succeeding in the Far East and the U.S markets. His close relationship with his cellar master also meant he could establish a cellar under his own name – a family reserve as it were – which guarded a secret waiting to be unearthed.
6. Cellar Secrets
The Andre Heriard Dubreuil cellar shifts into focus in this narrative. In the half-light of the cellar’s interior, one discovers a chilly air mingled with a sensation of a moist forest carpet; wild mushrooms, mossy banks and tree bark. It is here, in 2017, where the attentions of Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau was turned towards a single tiercon – annotated with N°C100_139 in an alcove within the cellar.
7. Tasting Notes
“I selected this tierçon because it embodies the atmosphere in this cellar: the vision of André Hériard Dubreuil, his pioneering partnership with the winegrowers and the footprint of time," says Loiseau. The outcome is an homage to the former chairman of Remy Martin, a singular and specific expression which carriers notes of dried roses, honey, myrrh, cigar boxes, honeysuckle, figs and passion fruit. This multitude of scents then evolve into a palate of woody undergrowth and fresh essences of the earth, before finishing in the elegant, lingering style of Louis XIII.
8. Crystal Clarity
Naturally, an exceptional drink such as this demands only the most marvellous of decanters to contain it. Remy Martin thus turned to its trusted partners Baccarat, makers of the most spectacular crystal objets d’art, to produce a decanter worthy of the elixir. Using the original inspiration of a royal flask found on the field – believed to have been lost on the battlefield of Jarnac in 1569 – the artisans at Baccarat decided to produce a new size to contain 35cl of the precious liquid, given that there was a limited supply to be bottled. The tiercon had held 576 litres of this precious blend and every drop had been judiciously stored in the especially made Baccarat decanters for this purpose.
9. Shining Steel
These bespoke mouth-blown Baccarat decanters are made with medallions of pearl inlays and palladium plating to showcase the crystal’s iridescence. The final result is a shimmering vision which recalls that of steel. This release falls under the coveted Black Pearl Collection which signifies the rarest blends of Louis XIII cognacs.
10. Fitting Tribute
Named the Louis XIII Black Pearl AHD – the acronym standing for Andre Heriard Dubreuil – only 1,498 numbered editions (each priced at RM52,000) are available worldwide.