It was as far back as 1881 when the first shipment of Louis XIII, the finest and most expensive cognac in the world, landed on the shores of India. Not one, not two, but a consignment of forty five cases, booked under the name of a trading company Emsthausen & Oesterley, were off loaded at the Calcutta port before the ship went on to Madras and Bombay. No one knows the final journey of those precious decanters of cognac, whether they found their way to the homes of some rich zamindars of Bengal or were stashed away in one of the innumerable palaces of the hundreds of princely states in India. It is the fervent hope of Marie-Amélie Jacquet, a fourth generation member of the Hériard Dubreuil family, which runs the Rémy Martin cognac house and Christophe Bourrie, Regional Director (SEA, India and Middle East) of Louis XIII, that somewhere in India there still lies hidden an old and rare decanter from that shipment.
It is this hidden treasure, the rarest and best preserved decanter of Louis XIII, which is hoped to be unearthed with the launch of “Quest for a Legend”. This worldwide quest has been undertaken to commemorate the 140th Anniversary of this famous cognac, as it was in 1874 when Louis XIII was first crafted by the House of Rémy Martin. If you are a collector or a fan and wish to be a part of the brand’s history then start looking. The bottle could be stowed away at the back of a cupboard or locked up in a vault. Or could even be lying unnoticed in a cellar. So join the quest and be part of the legend.
An important point to be kept in mind before collectors send in their entry is that the bottle must be unopened, with at least 50% of the original liquid remaining (this is to be verified by RCI and the House of Remy Martin). The criteria for judging include the condition of the decanter (the presentation box), the amount of liquid in the bottle & whether crystal fleur-de-lys stopper is present. Collectors are encouraged to send details and photos of their Louis XIII bottle via SMS, Text, Whtats App or email to the local Rémy Martin office. The owner of the rarest decanter found in India, Singapore, Malaysia or Philippines will win the grand prize to visit the Rémy Martin Estate in Cognac, France. Entries can also be submitted online at www.louisxiii-cognac.com. Contest entry period is between 23rd February 2015 and 31st March 2015.
If you are wondering why such an exercise is being undertaken, here is the answer in the words of Marie-Amélie Jacquet, “It is a chance to unite devotees of legacy, craftsmanship, beauty, history, adventure and legend. This quest is not a race against time, it is time itself that we are after”. Speaking at the launch function at the Oberoi Gurgaon she further added that as curators of this precious legacy they needed to protect the heritage and share it with future generations.
What makes Louis XIII de Rémy Martin so legendary is the fact that it is blended from 1200 Grande Champagne eaux-de-vie (water of life) aged from 40 up to 100 years through four generations of Cellar Masters and packaged in a stunning Baccarat crystal decanter. No wonder it is described as “one century in a bottle”.
By Lavina Kharkwal