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It might sound inconceivable to most of us to work on something that won’t be enjoyed for a century. But Jörg Pfützner, private client director at Louis XIII, affirms the luxury element of passing on a heritage
Eduan R. Maggo
In an age of instant gratification, companies want quick results. This goes against the grain of the long-term strategy prized earlier, where the delayed payoff wasn’t merely tolerated but celebrated. Premium French distiller Rémy Martin still embraces the latter concept for its flagship brand Louis XIII. After all, as private client director Jörg Pfützner explains, “Time is the ultimate luxury.
“It’s the most important commodity any of us have; it is the one thing that cannot be bought or sold and no one ever has enough of.”
Named after the French monarch on the throne when the Rémy Martin family settled in the Cognac region, the brand puts the spotlight on the time it takes to create the final product — a full century. This means that cellar master Baptiste Loiseau and his team will never get to taste the bottled product of what they’re crafting today.
“Our cellar master in Cognac first introduced me to the product in the cellar,” Pfützner tells Debonair. “I will never forget seeing the centennial-old tierçons (special French oak barrels used for the aging of Louis XIII eaux-de-vie) and then smelling the cognac right from the cask.”
He says his job is to “inspire my privileged guests to discover the uniqueness of this cognac”.
“Louis XIII is one of the leading luxury brands in the world and working with this brand allows me to build on a firm foundation that has been established over the last 145 years. I work to forge meaningful long-term relationship with my clients — Louis XIII enables one to think about the future, not just the short term.”
That future concern might not seem directly related to Pfützner’s remit in the present, but he’s found a way to connect the clients of today with those 100 years from now. “I’m not just sharing the experience with clients now, but through our Legacy Book I also ensure that their descendants can share in their experience many years from now. The Legacy Book was created to allow all our clients to leave a special message for future generations and it’s been incredible to see how much thought and care they put into preparing a message that will be stored in our book in Cognac for future generations to discover.
“What often amazes me are the kinds of people this incredible brand attracts; hearing their stories once I’ve shared ours with them is a wonderful experience. Their lives may be shorter than that of Louis XIII, but the same passion is threaded throughout their stories.
“Saying that, tasting Louis XIII is an inner journey through personal memories that the moment awakens. Each tasting recalls a memory from the past with distinct aromas, and in that moment, people are truly with you.”
In the past the brand has connected the element of working on something that won’t be enjoyed for 100 years in a unique film project. Written by John Malkovich and directed by Robert Rodriguez, 100 Years: The Movie You Will Never See imagines Earth a century from now. Mirroring the time it takes to create the final blend of Louis XIII cognac, it’s housed in a specially designed safe housed in the cellars in Cognac that will open automatically on November 18, 2115.
Most recently, the brand highlighted global warming in support of efforts to stymie climate change by partnering with Pharrell Williams. Titled 100 Years: The Song We’ll Only Hear If We Care, the track was recorded on a disc crafted from the same chalky soil the eaux-de-vie originates from. It was played only once for an audience of 100 before being locked up in a safe, protected from everything except rising tides — which would dissolve the disc. That safe by the same manufacturer can’t be opened until 2117.
“There are many misconceptions about cognac,” Pfützner explains. “The biggest is that you need to drink it in front of a roaring fire in the heart of winter — preferably with a bear rug as decoration. But the perfect time to enjoy cognac, and specifically Louis XIII, is at any moment — at any time of the year, during any season and day or night.
“I always say it’s the best way to celebrate — whether it’s something big or small. Of course, you should preferably toast with Louis XIII crystal glasses; they create an amazing sound that adds to the occasion.”
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