LOUIS XIII – L’Odyssée D’un Roi

LOUIS XIII – L’Odyssée D’un Roi

A tremendous masterpiece has been created by four French luxury houses. A unique collaboration harmonised and perfected under the name ‘L’Odyssée d’Un Roi’. What a wonderful tribute to the outstanding history of cognac and the unending journeys through the ages. To me it reflects the infinite pursuit of integrity. The composition is made of carefully selected elements that each of the four maisons has created. An inspiring wayfare that defintely redefines the luxury art of handcrafting.

Louis XIII and the enduring Art of Travel

As one of the world’s most storied Grande Champagne cognacs, LOUIS XIII has been present at every milestone in the history of luxury travel – from the legendary bar-car of the Orient-Express to the first-class lounge of the S.S. Normandie ocean liner to the sleek cabin of the supersonic Concorde jet. To pay tribute to this heritage of adventure and discovery, the house is proud to unveil L’ODYSSÉE D’UN ROI, a unique collaboration inspired by the first shipments of LOUIS XIII in the late 1870s and the iconic journeys that followed to the farthest corners of the globe.
 
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For this monumental journey, LOUIS XIII has chosen as its travelling companions three French luxury houses that share its passion for rare craftsmanship and unbroken tradition: HERMÈS, SAINT-LOUIS and PUIFORCAT. Each house has contributed its own centuries-old savoir-faire to the creation of a series of three objets d’art. These one-of-a-kind masterpieces will be presented at exclusive events in culture capitals on different continents as part of a yearlong travelling exhibition. Sotheby’s will auction each masterpiece in New York (September 2016), Hong-Kong (October 2016) and London (November 2016), with proceeds benefiting THE FILM FOUNDATION, a non-profit organization founded by Martin Scorsese and other leading filmmakers in 1990 to preserve and restore classic films, ensuring their survival for future generations.
 
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The Ultimate Journey

MORE THAN 50 INDIVIDUAL ARTISANS DEVOTED OVER 1,000 HOURS PER PIECE TO PRODUCE THESE THREE BESPOKE CREATIONS. EACH IS UNIQUE, ITS DESIGN AND CONTENTS INSPIRED BY
THE CONTINENT FOR WHICH IT IS DESTINED.
THE TAILOR-MADE OFFERING INCLUDES:
• A bespoke trunk hand-stitched by Hermès using the finest leathers and evoking a bygone era of luxury travel.
• A white gold pipette forged by the Art Deco silversmith Puiforcat for the ritual of service.
• A sublime crystal decanter and four elegant serving glasses — mouth-blown, cut and wheel-engraved by hand at the royal cristallerie Saint-Louis. Each decanter is etched with a 19th-century map of the continent where it is bound.
• A blend of LOUIS XIII Cognac enriched with a selection of the house’s oldest treasures from Grande Champagne, that each cellar master pass on to each other, from generation to generation. A very special spirit revealing flavours that are at once singular and complementary. A Cognac to savour and admire.
Completing the unique work of art is a beautiful book that chronicles LOUIS XIII’s mythical journeys that begin on a 16th-century battlefield in rural France but will touch every corner of the globe.
 
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Hermes

This bespoke trunk was hand-stitched by HERMÈS using the finest leathers. Modelled on a classic steamer trunk — the kind that would have been taken on an ocean liner or a long journey by train — it evokes a bygone era of luxury travel. In fact, the handles are exact replicas of those used for HERMÈS from the 1920s and 30s. Of course the design of the interior was created for a very precise function, which is to luxuriously house a unique magnum decanter of LOUIS XIII. This unique object is a suitably grand conveyance for this unforgettable journey across space and time.
 
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Puiforcat

This white gold pipette was forged by hand by the Art Deco silversmith PUIFORCAT for the ritual of service. The method is centuries-old: the craftsman spins a plate of silver on a mandril, which is a tapered piece of wood that turns horizontally. He uses a simple tool called a “spoon” to give shape to the object. Several passes are often needed for a piece to take on the desired contours. These steps are punctuated by “annealing,” a controlled heating process used to soften the metal. Etching is another whole step: the piece is wedged on a leather pillow full of sand. With thin notches made on the surface of the metal, the craftsman can draw a coat of arms or some other decorative pattern with exquisite precision, honed through decades of practice.
 
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Saint-Louis

Three sublime crystal decanters and 12 elegant matching serving glasses were blown, cut and engraved entirely by hand at the royal cristallerie SAINT-LOUIS. The ancient, painstaking technique of copper-wheel engraving has given these crystal works their regal profile. Each magnum-size decanter was additionally etched with a 19th-century map of the continent where it is bound. For this project, SAINT-LOUIS capitalized on the savoir-faire of more than 10 craftsmen — including four glassblowers, one engraver, and a specially trained artisan to apply the palladium trim to each crystal object. The crystal was heated to over 1,400°c degrees and then mouth-blown at around 1,200 °c. Each glass required 110 man-hours of work while the magnificent decanter itself took no less than 270 hours to accomplish. 
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Louis XIII

Of all of the legendary travels of Louis XIII, its most important journey is the one taken through time.
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That voyage begins in the rolling hills and chalky soil of Grande Champagne, the strictly demarcated and most prestigious cru of Cognac. Here the region’s delicate grapes — predominantly the Ugni Blanc variety — are harvested and turned into a low alcohol wine, which is then twice distilled in an onion-domed copper pot still, yielding an eau-de-vie of uncommon freshness and power. Only the tiniest sliver of this base spirit will be set aside to become, four generations later, a part of LOUIS XIII.
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That ageing process takes time, but also a tremendous amount of savoir-faire, an almost mimetic genius possessed by each generation of LOUIS XIII’s cellar masters. The chais, or cellars, in which they work are dark, incredibly quiet places, the barrels in which the cognac rests covered in thick blankets of spider webs. As the alcohol evaporates over time, the spirit deepens and darkens, releasing a sweet and rich smell that fills the moist air.With each passing year, the cellar master dips a pipette into the barrel and tastes something different. At 20 years, there is almonds, figs and fresh-baked brioche. At 40, candied plums. At 70, honeysuckle and saffron. All the while, he is blending different eaux-de-vie, searching for perfection through a process called marriage.By 100 years, hundreds of eaux-de-vie have been married together, resulting in a complex, ineffable flavour. On the nose, it is elegant and floral: dried rose and jasmine — the fragrances of Grande Champagne. These are followed by denser notes like dates, dried fig and walnut. On the palate, the first drop of LOUIS XIII unleashes a ballet of flavours; the walnut and fig aromas soften with those of honey as headier notes — of wax, tobacco and undergrowth — roll in like a wave. The tasting is distinguished by a haunting, lasting finish. The century-long journey of LOUIS XIII has come to its triumphant end.

An Unyielding Commitment

L’ODYSSÉE D’UN ROI is a shining testament both to the heritage that created LOUIS XIII and the nature that continues to inspire it. Its grapes grow in the chalky soils of Grande Champagne, the premier cru in the Cognac region. Preserving this terroir and its bio-diversity has always been a priority for the brand. LOUIS XIII has pledged to replant 115,000 oak trees in France in partnership with ONF (French National Forest Office). Some of these will be used to make its centennial tierçons, the special casks that, in one century’s time, will be the vessels for LOUIS XIII journeys of the future.
The protection of cultural treasures – whether the art of filmmaking or the art of cognac – requires time, finesse and care. In this same spirit of preservation, the house has chosen to support THE FILM FOUNDATION in its vital efforts to ensure the survival of our shared cinematic heritage for future generations.
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At the end of this beautiful story, I’m actually very much looking forward to taste the LOUIS XIII, which is one of the leading cognac brands in the world and tell you what it feels like. I’m sure you will hear more very soon!