How does one quantify the work of generations of cellar masters spanning 147 years? Professor of modern literature, historian and Vogue contributor, Farid Chenoune has done so in a stupendous art book.
Three hundred pages divided into thirteen sections, the Thesaurus is an immersive coffee table book that brings LOUIS XIII cognac to life through a series of stories and anecdotes – some real, some fictional. Alongside authentic materials from the archives, the book features a series of imaginary tales from the past, present and future, written from multiple viewpoints, each retaining the essence of LOUIS XIII at the heart of the story, and supported by original illustrations and impactful photography.
A Cognac that transcends the bounds of time
The world of LOUIS XIII cognac is one steeped in time, tradition and craftsmanship; named after the French king who protected the Cognac region, LOUIS XIII was created by Paul-Émile Rémy Martin.
While a life is measured in years, LOUIS XIII spans the centuries. One hundred and fifty years elapsed between the founding of the House of Rémy Martin in 1724 and the birth of LOUIS XIII in 1874. The purchase of the best parcels of land from 1720, the extension of the cellars in 1774 to allow old eaux-de-vie to develop. From 1821, the third generation of Rémy Martin, the twenty-one-year-old visionary director, blended the first reserves of old eaux-de-vie to prepare the future. His son, Paul-Émile Rémy Martin I, would inherit this know-how and passion. As the apogee of a life devoted to cognac, he created LOUIS XIII and registered it officially on the 13th of June 1874 under the name of “Très Grande Champagne – Age Unknown”.
Since then, each generation of Cellar Master has selected the oldest and greatest eaux-de-vie from their cellars to compose this unique blend, continuing the work of past masters united in a mutual goal: to produce the distinctive, unparalleled LOUIS XIII signature.
The LOUIS XIII Cellar Master looks to the future while honouring the past, sampling the new eaux-de-vie produced by the best Grande Champagne winegrowers and distillers each year and setting aside only those with the very best ageing potential. Only decades later will these be considered by the next Cellar Master to compose the LOUIS XIII blend of tomorrow.
Why call it a Thesaurus?
It’s called THESAURUS, coming from the Greek language meaning “treasure”, because it’s the heart of the system, all the information collected, the intact random access memory, the collection of knowledge of LOUIS XIII.
Exploring the Thesaurus
In keeping with the king the cognac was named after, LOUIS XIII or Louis the thirteenth, the book is divided into 13 chapters, each one covering a key event, concept or moment in the life of LOUIS XIII cognac. Each chapter is given a distinct narrative approach and graphic treatment, and fact and fiction are cleverly intertwined. The book subverts the conventions of a linear narrative, instead jumping forwards and backwards through time, taking the reader on a journey from the 16th to the 22nd century and back again.Expect to explore the story of LOUIS XIII from multiple viewpoints both real and imaginary. Engage with fictional anecdotes from the past include the innermost thoughts of a lost decanter, buried on a battlefield in 1569. As The Thesaurus looks to the future, tales include also an imagined conversation between an oak tree and a dryad (a spirit of the trees) from deep within the Limousin forest in 2028.
All of the content in The Thesaurus is based on real moments in the history of LOUIS XIII, or happenings that we imagine will take place in the future. Each chapter blends together real archive materials and factual reports with fictional anecdotes and stories. These are told from multiple points of view and drawn from different moments in time but are all based on a key LOUIS XIII cognac moment or concept.
The archives show that LOUIS XIII has touched the lives of many prominent figures over the years, from Sir Winston Churchill and King George VI to John Malkovich.
In fact, LOUIS XIII has walked a long road through some of the most significant events in history; it was first shipped to South Africa in 1881, a full six years before the creation of Johannesburg, it was sipped on the Orient Express, present at the celebrations in Paris at the end of World War 2 and aboard the first flight of the Concorde.
The Thesaurus contains contributions from the characters who have played a significant role in the history of LOUIS XIII, as well as imaginary people and objects that have helped, or will help, shape the journey of this extraordinary spirit.
The LOUIS XIII Thesaurus is available nationwide at www.janonline.com or from LOUIS XIII SA Client Sales Director, Jörg Pfützner.