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Rémy Martin Cognac: Celebrating 300 years

Following the launch of the Rémy Martin 300th Anniversary Coupe, Richard Woodard talks to cellar master Baptiste Loiseau about its creation, with tasting notes of this exclusive luxury Cognac. 

In 1898, as the Cognac region struggled to recover from the devastation of phylloxera, Paul-Emile Rémy Martin was dazzled by a tasting of extra-aged eaux-de-vie. The tasting inspired him to blend a new prestige Cognac: Rémy Martin Coupe Fine Champagne.

At the time of the creation of Coupe, Rémy Martin was already a Cognac house of some pedigree. It had been established by its eponymous founder, a young wine grower named Rémy Martin, in the small Charente town of Rouillac in 1724. Now, three centuries after that event, a new Coupe is born.

‘New’, however, is a relative term. Rémy Martin 300th Anniversary Coupe, a 100% Grande Champagne Cognac blended by cellar master Baptiste Loiseau and priced at £2,200, contains – literally – liquid echoes of its predecessors.

Past creations

The process began in 1974, when then Rémy Martin cellar master André Giraud created the 250th Anniversary Coupe. This was followed by Georges Clot’s 275th Anniversary Coupe in 1999 and then Pierrette Trichet’s 290th Anniversary Coupe in 2014.

The base for each new iteration is Rémy Martin’s Réserve Perpétuelle, which is then combined with the cellar master’s own selection of eaux-de-vie to create the final Coupe blend. Less than 10% of the liquid is released – there are only 6,724 decanters of the 300th Anniversary Coupe available. The rest is put back into the Réserve Perpétuelle.

‘Each cellar master creating the Anniversary Coupe will release a small amount of this, and then will take it back to the cellar,’ explains Loiseau. ‘We are nourishing the previous Coupes with new eaux-de-vie. It’s a never-ending story and a unique blend.’

A man smells a glass of Cognac in the Remy Martin Cellar

Baptiste Loiseau, cellar master at Rémy Martin

Individual expression

For Loiseau, the main task was to maintain the signature of the previous bottlings while adding something of his own personality to the new expression. ‘For me, the surprise was to go back to what had been left when Pierrette Trichet created the previous Coupe, the 290th,’ he explains.

‘That’s the basis for the 300th Anniversary Coupe, so it’s about paying tribute to what has been done previously, but also sharing my personal vision for respecting the signature of the house,’ he says.

In particular, Loiseau was determined to bring forward more of the aromas of the grapes and the wine that are the foundations of any Cognac. His aim was to inject a little more fruit and freshness into the blend.

‘What I really like in this eau-de-vie is the combination of tension and concentration,’ says Loiseau. ‘There’s a lot of structure with the lees [Rémy Martin Cognacs are always distilled on the lees]. But still I wanted to be much more rigorous and precise with the aromas of the grapes and the wine,’ he adds.

‘With such long ageing, you have candied fruits, but it is still light, with tension. It’s a perfect mix between what the lees can give, but also the aromas coming from the wine. The idea is to stay totally in the Rémy Martin style DNA – candied fruits, rancio notes – but also to bring candied orange, passion fruit, mango, and some freshness and radiance.’

‘The footprint of time’

This philosophy underpinned Loiseau’s selection of the new eaux-de-vie to be included in the blend for the 300th Anniversary Coupe. ‘I was really looking for something fruity, something very fresh,’ he says. ‘The 290th Coupe had a lot of concentration, waxy notes, figs and dates,’ he adds.

‘But I also had some eaux-de-vie that were much more with aromas of sandalwood, leather and oak – really the footprint of time. So it was based on a majority of the 290th Coupe, but there was a twist with these much fresher eaux-de-vie, plus others that were more woody and leathery,’ he concludes.

Loiseau also highlights the fascinating exercise – for those lucky enough to have the opportunity – of comparing the new release with previous Anniversary Coupes. ‘You really feel the consistency and signature of the house,’ he explains. ‘It’s like when you make a vertical tasting of a really great wine. You understand the philosophy of the house, even if the winemaker is not the same.’

Figs and nuts on a white tablecloth with a bottle of Rémy Martin 300th Anniversary Coupe

Tasting notes

Rémy Martin’s 300th Anniversary Coupe (Alc 40%) offers opulence from the off: exotic spices, sandalwood, cassis and an undercurrent of beeswax and dark honey. Then the inimitable, savoury/earthy tang of rancio, with the fruit lurking in the background: dried apricot and mango, plus candied orange peel. The fruit emerges more confidently on the palate, before being subsumed by an explosively aromatic mid-palate. A kaleidoscopic finish shifts from coffee bean into cigar leaf and star anise. This Cognac is a study in power, refinement and vibrancy.

The Cognac is packaged in a clear glass carafe inspired by the bottle used for the 250th Anniversary Coupe, housed in a wooden case. The case also contains a note from Loiseau and a QR code to access exclusive digital content.

There are 6,724 bottles available globally from selected retailers and on RemyMartin.com, priced at £2,200 per 70cl carafe.

Rémy Martin is organising a number of celebrations to mark the house’s 300th anniversary in 2024, including a series of events and the reopening of the house of Rémy Martin in the centre of Cognac.

Rémy Martin 300th Anniversary Coupe: £2,200/70cl, Brunswick Fine Wines & Spirits, Master of Malt, Secret Bottle Shop, The Whisky Exchange 

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