With a heritage dating back to 1874 and a name like Louis XIII, it is fitting that Rémy Martin holds court as the King of Cognacs. This year the house pulls rank, bestowing upon us the crown jewel of its alcoholic empire, the Louis XIII Rare Cask.
In 2004, fourth-generation cellar master Pierette Trichet stumbled upon a most unusual cask as she made her routine tastings of the stock. The cask looked like any other: made of the same Limousin oak, housed in the same cellar, and containing the same 1,200 eaux-de-vie of Grande Champagne, yet it was different. This cask boasted a surprisingly higher alcohol content, 43.8, as compared to the standard 40 degrees, and a robust aroma that told Trichet it was truly a king among casks.
"This particularity is certainly owing to the fact that it was brought about by slight movements in the cask at the time of the final blending, combined with historic conditions at certain moments in the aging process," she says. "These, I think, are the factors that account for the striking aromatic intensity of this particular cask. But that is no more than my personal intuition. These enigmas are all part of the magic of cognac."
And a special cognac deserves an equally special, sexy bottle of course. The decanter, made of black crystal (an especially rare form due to the difficulties in forging an opaque, uniform color) is hand-blown and hand-decorated and takes a team of twenty working in tandem to achieve. To top it all off, it's finished in palladium. The final product is exquisite. For the cognac connoisseur, this is the stuff of dreams.
The only catch is, becoming the proud parent of such an august alcohol will set you back a good $15,000, and though I could go on for hours about the virtues of a $20,000 Dior gown, I think alcohol is a pleasure by which the same result is achieved through less exorbitant means. Does the Rare Cask really taste better? I'll never know.
If you had $15,000 to burn, would you shell out for the Rare Cask?