Co­gnac in Kl

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TASTE -

THE smell of eau-de-vie, the sound of the golden liq­uid be­ing poured from de­canters, even down to the some­what chilly tem­per­a­ture ... it was like be­ing in the town of Co­gnac, France, where the spirit is pro­duced.

Well, sort of. Ex­cept that we were not in France, but at Rémy Martin’s The Heart of Co­gnac Ex­pe­ri­ence event held right here in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

The pro­gramme held at French fine din­ing restau­rant Mai­son Française (5 Changkat Kia Peng, KL) was Rémy Martin’s way of bring­ing Co­gnac to Malaysia, giv­ing guests a chance to ex­plore the crafts­man­ship and ded­i­ca­tion that goes into mak­ing Rémy Martin co­gnac.

“This pro­gramme is a way for us to help co­gnac and non-co­gnac drinkers get into the world of Rémy Martin,” said House of Rémy Martin pres­i­dent Pa­trick Piana, dur­ing an in­ter­view held be­fore the event.

“It tells them the story of our co­gnac, the same story they would be liv­ing through if they came to Co­gnac for a day. They would learn about the Co­gnac re­gion and its six dif­fer­ent grape-grow­ing ‘crus’, and how the House of Rémy Martin only works with two of the best crus – Grande Cham­pagne and Pe­tite Cham­pagne.”

The House of Rémy Martin is the only com­pany that ex­clu­sively uses Grand and Pe­tite cham­pagne grapes, from the two best growth ar­eas of the Co­gnac re­gion, and is recog­nised as a Fine Cham­pagne Co­gnac by Ap­pel­la­tion D’Orig­ine Con­trôlée, a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of­fi­cially granted by the French Gov­ern­ment (fun fact: Rémy Martin pro­duces 80% of all Fine Cham­pagne Co­gnac).

Dur­ing the Heart of Co­gnac event, guests were served spe­cial Rémy Martin cock­tails, and got to try their hands at blend­ing aged eaux-de-vie to see what sort of flavours go into a bot­tle of Rémy Martin VSOP.

“The Rémy Martin VSOP is a blend of more than 240 eaux-de-vie rang­ing from four to 14 years old, and here, we ask you to do it with only three! By do­ing so, we want to let peo­ple un­der­stand the com­plex­ity of the blend­ing, and what our cel­lar mas­ter does,” said Piana.

At the event, Rémy Martin brand am­bas­sador Bren­don Fer­nan­dez was on hand to ex­plain the pro­duc­tion process of co­gnac in the Cask Room.

The event con­cluded with a tast­ing ses­sion of the Rémy Martin VSOP, Rémy Martin Club, and the Rémy Martin XO.

To Piana, the true heart of Rémy Martin co­gnac lies with sev­eral el­e­ments, namely na­ture, crafts­man­ship, and time.

From the har­vest­ing of the grapes, dis­til­la­tion of the spirit, and the age­ing, blend­ing and pack­ag­ing pro­cesses, it all boils down to th­ese el­e­ments, which in turn are bound to­gether by one fi­nal piece of the puz­zle – the hu­man touch.

“Ev­ery­thing we do us­ing na­ture, crafts­man­ship and time, has that hu­man touch. The most im­por­tant touch of all is of course that of our cel­lar mas­ter (Pier­rette Trichet), who has the abil­ity to vi­su­alise what we have to do to get to that point. That’s the heart of co­gnac for me,” said Piana.

“Co­gnac is a small town, with only 14,000 peo­ple. But some­thing re­ally fan­tas­tic hap­pens there – there are the co­gnac houses, from the big ones to the very small ones, and then there are the vine­yards, and it’s all one big fam­ily. We all have a com­mon in­ter­est – to bring the co­gnac ex­pe­ri­ence to the world,” he said.

“The peo­ple of Co­gnac are truly proud of what the ma­jor Houses like Rémy Martin have been do­ing for the past 300 years, bring­ing the plea­sure of co­gnac to the rest of the world.

Rémy Martin im­ported the first bot­tles of their co­gnac to Malaysia, at the end of the 19th cen­tury, so the brand has been around for quite some time now.

How­ever, the brand had been quiet here for the past decade be­cause of cer­tain dis­tri­bu­tion com­pli­ca­tions.

“We were not in the sit­u­a­tion to own our own dis­tri­bu­tion at one point, and when you don’t have the abil­ity to ac­ti­vate your own brand, it is very hard to drive the value of your prod­ucts,” said Piana.

“But in 2009, we were able to take con­trol of our brands fully, and start es­tab­lish­ing the right plans for the fu­ture.”

Asked about the fu­ture of the House of Rémy Martin, Piana said that the com­pany is more con­cerned about the abil­ity to grow steadily and the qual­ity of their prod­ucts, rather than how much co­gnac they sell.

“There’s only so much you can sell, and don’t for­get, ev­ery time you sell one de­canter of co­gnac, you have to make sure you have enough eau-de-vie age­ing in your cel­lars in or­der to keep sell­ing that in the fu­ture,” he said.

“We want to bring co­gnac drinkers to a new level of ex­pe­ri­ence, and give them new plea­sure in co­gnac tast­ing. There is a great mar­ket here (in Malaysia), and I think it will con­tinue to pre­mium-ise it­self in the fu­ture.”

Ac­cord­ing to Piana, Rémy Martin is rec- og­nised all over the world as the trad­ing-up op­tion in the co­gnac cat­e­gory, thanks in part to the com­pany’s fo­cus on Grande and Pe­tite Cham­pagne grapes ex­clu­sively.

“We’re proud of the fact that a few gen­er­a­tions back, the de­ci­sion was made that we would only go for the top, and only use the two best crus,” he said.

“Of course, qual­ity al­ways has a higher cost at­tached to it, and we’re proud of it!”

Michael Cheang has been to Co­gnac, and doesn’t re­mem­ber it to be as cold as the air­con­di­tion­ing at the Rémy Martin event. Reader re­sponse can be di­rected to star2@thes­ my.

Style and ex­cel­lence: rémy Martin brand am­bas­sador bren­don Fer­nan­dez ex­plain­ing the pro­duc­tion process of co­gnac in the cask room.

na­ture, crafts­man­ship and time, as well as the all-im­por­tant hu­man touch, are cru­cial in the pro­duc­tion of a co­gnac, says Pa­trick Piana.

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