Toasting the launch of L’Odyssée d’un Roi with Louis XIII in New York City
LOUIS XIII Cognac is often considered the most unique and special spirit in the entire world. And for good reason. Made with a blend of up to 1,200 different eaux-de-vie ranging in age from 40 years to over 100 years old, there really is no other spirit with the same sense of history or heritage.
We recently had the opportunity to attend a private tasting and launch event in New York City for a brand new LOUIS XIII initiative and collaboration – L’Odyssée d’un Roi.
There, we learned about the history of this storied brand, had the opportunity to speak with the brand’s Cellar Master and, of course, taste LOUIS XIII.
Louis XIII L’Odyssée d’un Roi
L’Odyssée d’un Roi is LOUIS XIII’s tribute to its long association with luxury travel – from the legendary bar car of the Orient Express to the S.S. Normandie’s first-class lounge to the sleek cabin of the supersonic Concorde jet.
To celebrate this unique heritage, LOUIS XIII partnered with the French luxury houses Hermès, Saint-Louis and Puiforcat to create three one-of-a-kind pieces that pay tribute to the first shipments of LOUIS XIII in 1874 and its subsequent travels across the globe.
The pieces include a bespoke, hand-stitched Hermès trunk, a white gold pipette forged by the Art Deco silversmith Puiforcat and a crystal decanter and four elegant serving glasses, mouth-blown, cut and wheel-engraved by hand by Saint-Louis.
More than 50 individual artisans devoted over 1,000 hours per piece to produce these items. We had the opportunity to see each of these items up close at the event and I can tell you that they are, as you’d expect, absolutely exquisite.
Speaking of exquisite, let’s talk about the event itself. It’s always exciting to attend events in New York City, but this one was special and very well done. At most events, I’d say that I’m generally fairly overdressed so it was refreshing to be in a room full of people who all seemed to think – as I did – that classic and elegant was the right dress code for the night.
Among the many stylish gentlemen there that evening was Baptiste Loiseau, the LOUIS XIII Cellar Master. HSS readers know that I have an immense interest in whiskey and other spirits, and I was thrilled to have a chance to speak with M. Loiseau.
From the very beginning of our conversation, one thing was abundantly clear: M. Loiseau is extremely passionate about the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into making LOUIS XIII Cognac.
He apprenticed for a number of years before being elevated to his current position, one that he serves in with humility and a deep reverence for the history and tradition of the brand.
I asked him about his personal history, his job, his process and how excited he was to be in New York City toasting the launch of L’Odyssée d’un Roi. Before he could even answer, I could see in his eyes how much it meant to him.
I knew the toast would be a big moment for him – and for me as well, as I’d not tasted LOUIS XIII before – so wished him well and went on to experience the exhibit.
Throughout the room were various listening and viewing stations, where we were able to learn about the storied history of LOUIS XIII as well as the details of each of the pieces designed for L’Odyssée d’un Roi.
Also on display were the artisans’ tools used to create each piece. For me, this was one of the exhibit’s highlights. Seeing these tools really helps you appreciate the craftsmanship and care that goes into the construction of something of extremely high quality.
Real people – not machines – designed and made these things. It’s something we often forget to appreciate in today’s modern world.
L’Odyssée d’un Roi will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in various cities around the world to benefit The Film Foundation, an organization founded by Martin Scorsese that is dedicated to film preservation and the exhibition of restored and classic cinema. Great cause.
How Does It Taste?
Of course, the event we’d been waiting for all night was M. Loiseau’s toast and getting to finally taste LOUIS XIII. As the waiters swept through the room carrying silver trays with crystal glasses of cognac, you could feel the crowd’s energy and excitement.
After raising our glasses, I sipped LOUIS XIII for the first time. Here’s what I thought.
LOUIS XIII is a truly one-of-a-kind cognac. Its aroma and taste are light and complex. For me, the flavors were overwhelmingly floral and vegetal.
Rose had a strong presence, along with grasses and earth. It also had a nice subtle sweetness that emerged as it developed on my palate.
Would I recommend trying it if you ever have the opportunity? Absolutely.
A Quick History of Louis XIII Cognac
Where does the name come from? LOUIS XIII is a tribute to the French King who reigned when the Rémy Martin family put down roots in France’s Cognac region in the 1620s.
What’s the story of the decanter? The LOUIS XIII decanter is an original reproduction of a metal flask found on the site of the Battle of Jarnac in 1569. Paul-Emile Rémy Martin bought the metal flask in 1850 and decided to keep his finest and oldest eaux-de-vie within. LOUIS XIII’s iconic and classic crystal decanter is crafted by 11 crystal workers from the best French workshops.
How is LOUIS XIII Cognac made? Each decanter of LOUIS XIII Cognac takes four generations of Cellar Masters over 100 years to craft. The blends are stored in cellars in Limousin oak barrels. Each year, the Cellar Master will taste the blend to monitor the aging process.
When a Cellar Master finishes a blend, he draws upon an extremely selective collection of eaux-de-vie. A final blend may contain up to 1,200 different eaux-de-vie, ranging from 40 years old to over 100 years old.
Thanks for reading.
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