The Sweet Spiciness of Rémy Martin Carte Blanche Merpins
Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau's hand-selected 27-year-old limited edition cognac
For the second time in the cognac brand's history, Rémy Martin has granted their Cellar Master permission to release a limited edition liquid that represents the values of the house. Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau, operating in the role since 2014, discovered for himself what fills all 9650 bottles (2000 of which are in or en route to the US) and it's known as Carte Blanche Merpins. His selection is one that's been matured for 27 years in a single vat; its color, a glowing amber and its taste unusually smooth. This is a rare product that's sure to appeal to cognac connoisseurs but also to those unfamiliar with the historic spirit drawn from grapes—because it marks the best of a region.
On a recent trip to Cognac and the maison of Rémy Martin, we stepped beyond row after row of barrels and into a dark, dank cellar where Loiseau made his discovery. The atmosphere was noticeably different than most other aging cellars. There, Loiseau breathed life into the tipple's process with fervor. "I was given carte blanche to reveal the treasures of the house that are Fine Champagne," he says, referencing two growing regions where the finest grapes are drawn from, Grande and Petite Champagne. "The youngest eau de vie in this blend is 27 years old," he continues, "so the concentration of time is one of the first experiences you will have by tasting. What moved me when I first tasted this blend is the fact that it is still quite high in alcohol. I don't have the feeling when I taste it that it his high in alcohol because it is so smooth but it is 44.1%. You can't feel that because it is so harmonious between the delicacy and intensity."
"Aromas will come one after another," he explains. A richness is conveyed immediately. Notes of plum, dried fruits and even orange marmalade carry from the scent to the first sip. Carte Blanche is a bit of everything: fresh, fruity, sweet and spicy. The spiciness— cinnamon, cloves and a bit of pepper—distances this tipple from Rémy Martin's core expressions. And delightfully, a long finish carries sweetness onward. Understandably, this is something one should sip neat.
You can purchase Carte Blanche Merpins at select retailers for $500.
Lead image courtesy of Rémy Martin, all other images by David Graver