Protecting a legacy: Louis XIII

Louis XIII embraces time-honoured craftsmanship to preserve the legacy of its cognac for centuries to come

Food and Drink 16 Jun 2021

The Louis XIII decanter

The Louis XIII decanter

Created in 1874 by Paul Emile Rémy Martin, Louis XIII cognac is one of the world’s most prestigious cognacs. Its exquisite liquid is made from a blend of up to 1,200 eaux-de-vie using grapes from the Grand Champagne region. The cognac is housed in a beautiful crystal decanter, blown by highly skilled master craftsmen.

It was Paul Emile Rémy Martin who had the vision to create a cognac with the oldest eaux-de-vie, and this notion of the importance of time remains at the heart of the brand today.

Just as the current cellar master, Baptiste Loiseau, sets aside his selection of the finest eaux-de-vie for future generations, he creates today’s blend of Louis XIII cognac using eaux-de-vie set aside by his predecessors, which have been matured in ancient oak barrels – called tierçons – for decades. It means each decanter of Louis XIII represents the life achievement of generations of cellar masters, who preserve the taste of this unique cognac throughout time.

Louis XIII Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau and the glass decanter
Louis XIII Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau and the crystal decanter

To protect this legacy even further, while always thinking ahead to the future, Loiseau is ensuring new tierçons are being created using 180-year-old wood from French oak forests. Louis XIII wood masters select the perfect planks, before stacking and drying them in the open air for three years. Only then can each one be transformed into staves and bent into barrels ready for the eaux-de-vie. Each tierçon plays a vital role in the aromatic development of Louis XIII, allowing an exchange between the eaux-de-vie, the wood and the cool cellar air to occur, resulting in a unique flavour profile.

The final blend evokes notes of myrrh, honey, dried roses, plum, honeysuckle, cigar box, leather, figs and passion fruit and is designed to be enjoyed as part of a sensory tasting experience, which begins with the iconic handcrafted Louis XIII crystal decanter.

“Each tierçon plays a vital role in the aromatic development of Louis XIII

Based on a 16th-century flask, which was discovered on a battlefield in Jarnac, France, its unique design is hand-cut, blown and individually numbered so no two decanters are the same. While the unique design – with delicate fleur-de-lys detailing and an elegant stopper – has not changed over the years, the classic decanter has been projected firmly into the present with a connected topper, which is embedded with NFC technology that allows the owner to connect to the Louis XIII Society. This exclusive members’ club gives owners access to special content, unique experiences and personalised concierge services through their smartphone.

Ancient oak tierçons
Ancient oak tierçons

To further accentuate the Louis XIII experience, the house chooses to partner with other luxury French icons, which share similar values of time and craftsmanship. Baccarat, which make the Louis XIII decanters, is a perfect example, alongside renowned French designer Christophe Pillet, who exclusively designed two tall-stemmed crystal glasses to enhance the radiance and aromas of Louis XIII. Representing the long-lasting flavour of a single drop of Louis XIII cognac on the palate, the “Facets of Louis XIII” glasses emit a clear G-sharp note when toasted, while the vertical grooves radiate the vibrant liquid within.

Since its inception, Louis XIII has always understood the importance of safeguarding its terroir to ensure the house achieves consist results for future generations. Together with its parent company, the House of R my Martin, Louis XIII has initiated a number of sustainable practices designed to ensure the longevity of both its cognac and of the terroir, further proof that the luxury icon is the master of harnessing its rich heritage to cultivate a positive message for the future.

From the decades-long process of ageing the eaux-de-vie to the expertly crafted decanter, and the dedicated tasting experience, Louis XIII celebrates the past by looking ahead to ensure that life’s special moments can be celebrated for centuries to come.