It’s an incredibly complex Cognac, almost Scotch-like in its amalgam of flavours; rich floral notes; deep leather and subtle spice. TO think this time yesterday morning I was sailing silently across the sloping green vines of Charente. With only the occasional blast of the searing flame of the burner to maintain our leisurely drift, the hot air balloon over great swathes of grape-filled tendrils is a wonderful way to experience the serenity of the Cognac countryside. But 24 hours on, I’ve found yet another way to experience a little of France’s luxury and a lot of its flavour. In the company of the urbane and elegant Alexandre Quintin, I’m comfortably seated in the white-stoned courtyard of Rémy Martin’s exquisite base near Jarnac. And before us on a glass-topped table are; a bottle of newly-released Cognac; four smouldering Havana cigars; two bottles of water; and notepads and pens. This is a pairing of interest for the serious epicure. First cab off the rank is the Punch Serie D’Oro No.2 Limited Edition from 2013. At 5 ½ ins x 52 Ring Gauge, it’s a lovely figurado with a dark, oily wrapper typical of Habanos SA’s Edicion Limitada ethos. And after gently toasting the foot of each of our cigars, Alex – International Ambassador Manager for the house of Rémy Martin – does the honours, and strips the foil and then uncorks the beautiful, golden bottle of Carte Blanche à Baptiste Loiseau. My trip to this delightful corner of France coincided with the launch of this new expression of eau de vix and the night before, I’d been fortunate enough to be seated next to new young Cellar Master, Baptiste Loiseau, to celebrate his first choice from the many thousands of sleeping casks in the Rémy inventory.
/ Cigar & Spirits
It’s an incredibly complex Cognac, almost Scotch-like in its amalgam of flavours; rich floral notes; deep leather and subtle spice. And the first thing Alex and I notice as our palates warm up alongside the splash of sun in the courtyard is the aged leaves immediately give greater expression to the ‘island malt’ character of this Cognac. I detect definite, if faint, iodine and saline notes; there’s a hot spice as the smoke develops but it’s mellow and in no way overpowering. The smoke is a linear one – consistent and straight and it brings out a dry, sherry-like finish in Loiseau’s creation. As the sun rises in its firmament, we switch out attention to a Ramon Allones Club Allones LE from 2015. This is a stronger smoke from the offset, with orange peel and vanilla to take the edge of its rumble. It accentuates the spicier elements, the leather and the earth in the Cognac. And so our tasting and pairing session continues until Midday comes to the peace of Jarnac. A car awaits to dash me to Bordeaux for my flight. And with a final mouthwash of smoke and spirit, I leave Alex to his contemplations. Rémy Martin is a true house of wonders. I hope before long to be back to explore some more.
Published on Sep 19, 2016