Perfection in a glass

Louis XIII de Rémy Martin is a cognac that blends centuries of history and tradition

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04 December 2013

Louis XIII expresses the vision of a family, incorporating the skill of generations of Cellar Masters who skilfully blended 1,200 of the oldest – from 40 to over 100 years in age – and finest cognacs to create a liquid masterpiece.

The story began in 1874, when Paul Emile Rémy Martin blended some very old Grande Champagne eaux-de-vie into a single decanter. The decanter itself is a piece of history. Rémy Martin commissioned a replica of a metal gourd decorated with fleurs-de-lys, an item that had been lost in the 16th century on the battlefield of Jarnac and found 300 years later. He named his blend 'Louis XIII' in honour of the king who had encouraged the production of eaux-de-vie in the early 17th century.

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Today, the process of making Louis XIII cognac has remained the same as in the days of Paul Emile Rémy Martin. The cognac reposes in ages-old Limousin oak wood casks, in dark, cool cellars; its only contact with the outside world occurs in occasional tastings in which the Cellar Master assesses the quality of each tierçon. The result of all this work is a sensorial experience like no other. The bouquet is rich and intense, with delicate floral notes, spice and many other fragrances. On the palate, the taste is incredibly long. Sommeliers generally express 'length of flavour' in minutes, but for Louis XIII, this quality is measured in hours.

Pierrette Trichet is the fourth Cellar Master to have worked on Louis XIII. She uses the old eaux-de-vie selected by her predecessors in the early 20th century, and she also chooses the eaux-de-vie that will be used to make Louis XIII cognac a century from now. Very occasionally, the Cellar Master may discover an exception amongst the hundreds of ancient casks: a tierçon that has a unique richness and intensity. Up until recently, this has occurred just once for Louis XIII. But one day, Pierrette Trichet encountered something unusual. "Finally in the autumn of 2009, I had the feeling that I had found what I was searching for... all the signs suggested that I had found another Rare Cask."

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As for everything in this profession, she didn't announce her news straight away. She waited and observed for another two and a half years before confirming the discovery. In early 2012, she marked the cask '42,6' in chalk, corresponding to the alcohol content by volume, slightly higher than normal and one of the tell-tale signs of a Rare Cask.

Louis XIII cognac is always an adventure in sensation. Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6 is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a rare privilege. The cask contains enough of the precious liquid for just 738 bottles. A special version of the decanter has been created, in sleek black crystal, with rose gold details. Each of the decanters is numbered from 001 to 738. Recommended retail price is €18,000.