Louis XIII Unveils L’ODYSSÉE D’UN ROI40.7128° N, 74.0060° W
"Within the realm of cognac, Louis XIII is the cream of the crop"
Within the realm of cognac, Louis XIII is the cream of the crop; it represents the finest and highest level of spirit making. It takes forty to one hundred years to fill the handmade crystal decanter and the finished product contains up 1200 different eaux-de-vies. The result is a silky, velvety, and rich cognac that leaves you inspired and wanting more.
Our experience with Louis XIII began at the luxurious Pierre Hotel in New York City. It first opened in 1930 and has since been a sumptuous landmark in upper Manhattan. It is located in the heart of Fifth Avenue with Central Park and myriad of designer boutiques at its doorsteps, a perfect location for the clientele it serves. Its guest are of an older demographic but were sprinkles of younger folk who we’ve spotted enjoying breakfast at their diner-esque restaurant. The staff of the hotel is attentive, they make you feel important and most of all, discreet. They don’t ask silly questions like “What do you do? Or what are you here for? Business or pleasure?” Although, when we checked into the hotel, the elevator attendant mistook us for models, and that we didn’t mind at all. Despite its coordinates, the hotel is eerily quiet; it is as if the walls are impervious to the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, the honking taxicabs, the screeching brakes, and the horses’ hooves and the carriages thumping against the street, disappear as you walk past the hotel’s golden revolving doors.
Louis XIII cognac is a lot like The Pierre Hotel, as the world around it changed, the recipe, the attitude, the way in which it operates has not. It is the epitome of consistency. Like The Pierre Hotel, Louis XIII is there for you at the end of your journey, it is a cognac that gives you celebratory welcome and a spirit that you serve to recognize grand accomplishments. It was served to royalty in the eighteenth century, at the legendary bar-car of the Orient-Express, inside the cabin of the Concorde supersonic jet and it is still enjoyed today by many who seek the best out of life and who aspire to be more than what is expected from them.
Dubbed L’ODYSSÉE D’UN ROI, Louis XIII has tapped three prestigious French luxury houses: Hermès, Saint-Louis and Puiforcat to craft bespoke items that pay homage to the cognac’s history of travel and discovery. The elegant, Saint-Louis made, decanters and glasses are etched with North America, Europe, and Asia is housed in Hermès’ handcrafted trunk made from handsome Togo veal leather. While Puiforcat’s white gold pipettes draw out the precious cognac. The three sets are to be auctioned off all three of which will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s in New York, Hong Kong, and London.
As for the Louis XIII itself, Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau and his mentor, Pierrette Trichet, created a special blend that is available exclusively inside. The two discovered some treasured Grande Champagne reserves within the Dames-Jeannes of the house’s cellars and utilized them for this occasion. In a conversation with Mr. Loiseau, we spoke about his most recent appointment as Cellar Master, the importance of having a mentor, and of course about the cognac.
At 34 years old, Mr. Loiseau is the cognac industries youngest Cellar Master and one of his main responsibilities include making sure the Remy Martin portfolio remains consistent. He describes his job as a form of Alchemy and while there is a lot of science involved, Mr. Loiseau attributes a lot of what he does as an experience. He cites Madame Trichet, the former Cellar Master and mentor, as the one who imbued him with this philosophical approach. When asked about his relationship with Madame Trichet, he spoke endearingly about their time in the Remy Martin cellars together. And how her presence is still felt in the lab, as it is her notes that he references when he is working through the blends. “A mentor is someone who acts as a leader and a guide” Mr. Loiseau states and continues by saying “They help you see things from different perspectives but also allow you to formulate your own opinions and allow you to still be you.” And on being the youngest Cellar Master, Mr. Loiseau says “It was not really a surprise because I was being prepared by Pierrette to take over the reigns but it was still an honour for me.”
Afterwards, we had the opportunity to taste Louis XIII with Mr. Loiseau. It is important to mention that it wasn’t from the special blend made for L’ODYSSÉE D’UN ROI. First, Mr. Loiseau asked us to hold the glass a few inches away from our noses; it was there where we picked up the sweeter notes of unripped pear and wild flowers. Next, the glass edge to the tip of our noses and we picked up the vanilla and candied fruit. Mr. Loiseau explained, “the first sip must always be light, just enough to put it on the tip of your tongue.” Our palettes reacted to the velvety texture and as let it warm in our mouth we were overwhelmed with the complexity of the cognac. We were speechless. But if there is one word we can use to describe Louis XIII, it would be “Inspirational.”
Finally, for those who want to know how he enjoys his cognac mixed with ginger ale and ice.
You can learn more about Louis XIII and L’ODYSSÉE D’UN ROI here.
Words & Photography: Jon Carlo Tapia