There is a belief that it is rarity itself that makes something precious. After all, mankind, with all our failings, cannot help but lose our ability to hold something dear if it is easily attainable and plentiful. Perhaps that is also the reason why both the noun and the verb “treasure” describe scarce desirables like gemstones and jewels as well as “to cherish something, to value it dearly and setting great store by it”.
It is in tribute to this natural jewel that the House of LOUIS XIII chose to honour the centenary of its late chairman’s birth by creating a limited edition and exclusive version of the LOUIS XIII. Although connoisseurs have long considered LOUIS XIII — and its exquisite blend of no less than up to 1,200 eaux-de-vie sourced completely from Grand Champagne grapes, the premier cru of the Cognac region — to be the maison’s ultimate expression of cognac, LOUIS XIII ups the luxury ante even further with the LOUIS XIII Black Pearl André Hériard Dubreuil (AHD). Dubreuil assumed the guardianship of the maison in 1965 and was instrumental in overseeing its merger with Cointreau in 1990.
The Louis XIII Black Pearl was first unveiled in a classic decanter 2007, followed by a magnum two year later. To mark the cognac house’s 140th anniversary and composed, likewise, of eaux-de-vie sourced exclusively from the private cellars of the Hériard Dubreuil family, a special Louis XIII Black Pearl Anniversary was released in 2014. The Louis XIII Black Pearl AHD, however, also contains spirit drawn from a single limousin tierçon that has been hidden deep within the André Hériard Dubreuil cellar.
If ever you are accorded the privilege to step into the blackened walls of the chai (wine storeroom) built in his honour, you would notice in the half-light the moist warmth that is thick with the scents of the woods: of moss, wild mushrooms and tree bark. It was here, in the deep alcove of a chalky wall, that Baptiste Loiseau, cellar master of LOUIS XIII, first noticed the tierçon two years ago. The cellar is cooler, darker and damper, which, assuredly, affects the final outcome of the cognac, in both colour and aroma, by further slowing down the maturation process. It is the specific conditions of this cellar that give fresh, floral yet earthy aromas to the LOUIS XIII, as well as the remarkable notes of dried roses, honey, myrrh, plum, leather, honeysuckle, figs, passion fruit and even the tobacco nose of a cigar box.
For such an exceptional spirit, it is only fitting that its bottle is equally splendid. The decanter was fashioned by the award-winning and highly-skilled crystal-makers of Baccarat, the legendary French cristallerie. The hand-blown bottle’s design is inspired by a royal flask found on the battlefield of Jarnac in 1569 and acquired by Paul-Émile Rémy Martin almost 300 years later.
The 35cl limited-edition decanter looks similar to the iconic bottle of the LOUIS XIII but it has a metallic magnificence to it. Here, the finest iridescent crystal is coated with precious palladium plating to create a unique hue that evokes optical illusions of forged steel, thunder, anthracite and quicksilver. Combined with work so fine, it is akin to vitreous lace. It would seem the bottle itself, complex yet captivating, is a worthy competitor for the liquid gold within — almost, but not quite, for anyone who has ever tasted the LOUIS XIII, be it the iconic signature blend or the Black Pearl, will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the truest and purest form of beauty always lies, naturally, within.
Only 1,498 bottles — each one numbered — of the LOUIS XIII Black Pearl AHD will be produced and are only available on request through the LOUIS XIII conciergerie. It comes with a recommended retail price of RM52,000.
For enquiries about availability, please email [email protected].