Louis XIII (cognac)
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LOUIS XIII cognac is produced by the House of Rémy Martin, a company headquartered in the town of Cognac, in the department of Charente, France. The House was founded in 1724 by Rémy Martin, who descended from a long line of wine makers from Charente.
LOUIS XIII cognac is a blend of very old eaux-de-vie from the Cognac area (AOC). The spirit is considered to be one of the rarest and most prestigious cognacs in the world due to its use of high-quality eaux-de-vie, the fact that they are exclusively from Grande Champagne (the finest cru in the Cognac region), their long aging time (at least 40 years) and high aging potential, and their limited supply. It is recognizable by its unique bottle, a replica of a decanter that was discovered at the site of the Battle of Jarnac.
The decanter’s origins date back to the late nineteenth century. In 1850, Rémy Martin V came into possession of a metallic flask supposedly discovered at the site of the 1569 Battle of Jarnac. In 1874, in honour of the House’s 150th anniversary, he designed a glass replica of the flask to use as the vessel for his cognac, which is then named “Grande Champagne Very Old – Age Unknown.” The name LOUIS XIII will be chosen later on, as a tribute to King Louis XIII , who encouraged the sale of eaux-de-vie under his reign. In 1876, LOUIS XIII began exporting its cognac worldwide. The name was trademarked in the United States in 1878, and the decanter was exhibited at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. Since its creation, the brand has remained a part of the House of Rémy Martin.
Production and artisanship
LOUIS XIII cognac is made of grapes exclusively grown in Grande Champagne, the finest cru in the Cognac region. They are harvested and turned into eaux-de-vie, going through two rounds of distillation on lees in small-volume stills before being aged in oak barrels, as dictated by the AOC criteria for cognac (eau-de-vie). The House of Rémy Martin uses aging barrels made from Limousin oak.
The House’s current Cellar Master, Baptiste Loiseau, assumed the position in 2014 at the age of 34. He follows in the footsteps of André Renaud, André Giraud, Georges Clot, and Pierrette Trichet. Since the origins in 1874, each generation of Cellar Master selects in the House’s cellars the oldest and greatest eaux-de-vie for LOUIS XIII. Today, Baptiste Loiseau is setting aside the finest eaux-de-vie, some of which will be part of the LOUIS XIII blend in 100 years. A blend of up to 1 200 eaux-de-vie, 100% from Grande Champagne.
Each crystal LOUIS XIII decanter is individually numbered. In 1981, the decanter was redesigned, replacing the crystal stopper in the form of an upturned decanter with one in the shape of a fleur-de-lis and featuring a gold-embellished neck. In 2000, to celebrate the millennium, LOUIS XIII released the limited edition series Celebrate Year 2000. In 2001 and 2004, the House partnered with diamond company Star Diamond to create the limited edition series LOUIS XIII Diamant.The House released the LOUIS XIII Black Pearl series in 2007. The cognac in this series was sourced from a single, hundred-year-old cask and is presented in a metallic silver decanter designed by Baccarat (company). Two years later, the House released another limited edition, LOUIS XIII Rare Cask 43.8, at the initiative of cellar master Pierrette Trichet. The cognac came from a unique cask with an ABV of 43.8%. In 2012, another edition, LOUIS XIII Rare Cask 42.6, was added to the collection. LOUIS XIII Le Jéroboam was released in 2011. Its bottle is four times larger than the traditional 70cl. In 2015, LOUIS XIII produced a film called 100 Years: The Movie You Will Never See, written by and starring John Malkovich. It will be released in 2115, one hundred years after it was filmed, in honour of the time it takes for cellar masters to create LOUIS XIII cognac. That same year, the 5cl LOUIS XIII La Miniature was released.
In 2016, LOUIS XIII partnered with Baccarat (company) to release Le Mathusalem, the largest crystal bottle ever made for a cognac (6 litres), and launched the limited edition Time Collection with Saint-Louis, a tribute to high points in the history of LOUIS XIII cognac. In November 2016, Sotheby’s auctioned off L’Odyssée d’un Roi, a set of three taylor-made trunks designed by Hermès. Each trunk contained a white gold pipette made by Art Deco goldsmith Puiforcat, as well as a hand-blown and hand-engraved glass magnum made by the Compagnie des Cristalleries de Saint-Louis. Each magnum holds a unique blend of LOUIS XIII, enriched with some of the House’s oldest eaux-de-vie. Proceeds from the sale were donated to Martin Scorsese’s non-profit organization, The Film Foundation.
In 2016, a boutique dedicated entirely to LOUIS XIII cognac opened in Beijing’s SKP shopping centre.
The LOUIS XIII brand belongs to the House of Rémy Martin, which is part of the Rémy Cointreau spirits group controlled by the Hériard-Dubreuil family. It is listed on the stock exchange. Over the course of the 2015 financial year, Rémy Martin had a turnover of €647.8 million, a 15% increase from the year before. The CEO of the House of Rémy Martin is Eric Vallat. The Global Executive Director of LOUIS XIII is Ludovic du Plessis.
The 70cl LOUIS XIII decanter sells for between €2,600 and €2,800. Limited editions can sell for as high as tens of thousands of euros.
A bottle of Louis XIII was offered as a wager in the 1988 film Cocktail. As an indicator of the increase in value, Tom Cruise remarked "A $500 bottle of brandy?"
In 2006 rapper Lil Wayne released "I Feel Like Dying", mentioning a bottle of Louis XIII.
Rapper Fabolous mentioned Louis XIII in his song 'Louis Vuitton' featuring J Cole off The Soul Tape 2.
Rapper Xzibit collaborated with King T in 2012 to make a song titled "Louis XIII."
In the 2013 movie, Lee Daniels' The Butler, lead character Cecil Gaines shows knowledge of the spirit during his interview to become part of the White House staff, commenting that the French have mastered the cognac.
Rapper Young Buck mentioned Louis XIII in the new G-Unit single "Bring My Bottles".
Rapper Young Jeezy mentioned Louis XIII in the song "Vacation" on the album The Recession.
Kid Rock sings "while I'm sippin' king Louie not giving a fuck" in his song "Lay It On Me".
On the twelfth episode of the second season of The Larry Sanders Show it is established that Artie gives a bottle of Louis XIII to Larry every year on his birthday.
References and notes
- "Comment le Cognac Louis XIII va réussir à vous surprendre". Luxury Design (in French). 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- Bernard, Gilles (2011). Cognac : A la conquête du monde. Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux. pp. 12 and 13.
- "Rémy Martin : un jeune visage pour de vieux cognacs". Terre de Vins (in French). 2014-04-13. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Louis XIII Black Pearl Anniversary Edition |". distillatricedesaveurs.fr. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "LOUIS XIII Rare Cask 42,6 | mybestluxe". www.mybestluxe.com. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "A la découverte du Jeroboam de Cognac Louis XIII par Rémy Martin - Web and Luxe - Blog Luxe Marketing". www.webandluxe.com. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "Louis XIII le Mathusalem une histoire de cognac et d'élégance". Riviera Magazine (in French). 2016-08-10. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- "LOUIS XIII - Time Collection - Carafes en édition limitée - JetSociety". JetSociety (in French). 2016-10-30. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- ""L'Odyssée d'un Roi" Louis XIII : la preuve par quatre". Le Figaro - Le Figaro Vin. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- Vidalon, par Pascale Denis et Dominique. "Bons débuts de la boutique de cognac Louis XIII à Pékin". fr.reuters.com. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- Denis, par Pascale. "Rémy Cointreau sort du tunnel chinois et vise une acquisition". fr.reuters.com. Retrieved 2017-01-17.