Precious few things last for one hundred years, let alone age well over that time - I’m only 23 and my hair is already trying to escape. A beautiful suit, even one that has been made to the highest of sartorial standards, might endure for 30 years, but will wear considerably over that time, losing the sharpness and cleanness of its lines. The lifespan of a luxurious automobile might just about make 100 years, but it’ll be in far from drivable condition by its centenary. Indeed, it’s more likely that it will be confined to the dusty pages of history as a static museum piece. Great artworks too, require huge amounts of financial investment and the regular attention of painstaking restoration in order to endure with a seemingly untouched appearance.
The exquisite creations of LOUIS XIII however, universally heralded as one of the most luxurious cognacs on the planet, are the exception that proves the rule. First created in 1874, the name LOUIS XIII pays homage to the French Roi, during whose reign the Remy Martin family settled in the Cognac region. Each and every decanter (the decanters in question are based on the design of a flask found on the 16th century battlefield of Jarnac), requires the exceptional skills of no less than four generations of cellar masters, taking over 100 years to marry and age into its most elevated state. The cognac itself is a unique blend of some 1200 eaux-de-vie, the youngest of which will be but a trifling forty years old. The spirit is aged in LOUIS XIII’s own tierçons – centuries-old casks designed to be packed in sets of three on the back of horse-drawn coaches, made from Limousin oak – the natural composition of which retains the perfect tannins and porosity to age the chosen eaux-de-vie.
With an exceptionally complex composition, the finished cognac combines serious top notes of myrrh, immortelle and the fruity richness of ripe plum with a floral touch of honeysuckle, underscored by the savoury flavours of leather and oak bark. In short, it achieves a depth and complexity un-akin to anything else that one might experience in the cognac oeuvre. It is, as LOUIS XIII so proudly states, a true expression ‘of the mastery of time’.
All of which, has inspired LOUIS XIII to undertake a unique artistic endeavour, one that reflects the founding values of this remarkable cognac. The house’s Global Executive Director, Ludovic du Plessis, explains: “Four generations of LOUIS XIII cellar masters put a lifetime of passion into a single bottle of LOUIS XIII, yet they will never taste the resulting masterpiece. As such, we sought to create a proactive piece of art that explores the dynamic relationship between the past, the present and the future.”