Microsoft HoloLens + Rémy Martin’s “Rooted In Exception” Mixed-Reality Experience

A tech giant and an iconic cognac brand join forces to educate about distilling

by Kyle Raymond Fitzpatrick

Cognac is perhaps the most luxurious of brandies. It’s a wine that few would choose to drink before it’s twice distilled and matured in French oak casks, where it transforms into a nutty, smooth and refined spirit. While the methodologies involved in creating cognac are timeless, there are new experiences related to consuming the drink, and Rémy Martin is eager to explore the possibilities.

The most recent manifestation of this is an experience that uses Microsoft HoloLens (a self-contained, holographic computer) to mix reality in order to educate drinkers on Rémy Martin’s refined production process. The brand teamed up with development studio Kazendi to create a unique, interactive presentation that traces how the beverage is made before landing on an explorable digital rendering of the French region where the drink is made. The experience begins with a floating island that explains how the grapes are grown in the Grande and Petite Champagne regions, leading to a floating display of the tasting notes—vanilla, jasmine, plums, oranges, hazelnut and cinnamon—encircling a bottle of Rémy Martin XO.

The “Rooted In Exception” presentation is one of the first HoloLens efforts intended for consumer use and works in conjunction with a uniquely constructed physical topographical table that serves as the foundation for the augmented reality display. From start to finish, it took Kazendi three weeks to create the various digital models—from a bottle of XO to weather patterns to the floating island.

Maximilian Doelle, Kazendi’s Founder and Chief Holographic Officer, noted that it took 10 days to design the bottle alone, explaining that perfecting the complicated, embellished glass was a huge undertaking. It’s exactly this tension between new technology and a legacy product that drew him to the project. “Ultimately, mixed reality is deeply about engaging people in new social experiences,” Doelle says, noting that the 300-year-old brand “keeps on nourishing its exception and tradition through innovation.”

The HoloLens experience is also a logical, simplified next step in tasting concepts for Rémy Martin as their previously conducted “Opulence Revealed” tastings involved physical references related to the drinking experience, like being able to smell vanilla for reference first hand or taste related candied fruits. With “Rooted In Experience,” Rémy Martin is able to leverage new technology to share the brand and product story. It turns a rare, isolated experience into a global show that can travel anywhere.

We caught the experience in Los Angeles, but Rémy Martin’s “Rooted In Exception” experience will be traveling the USA, popping up in New York City and other locations (even including some airports) in the near future. It’s a merging of the old and the new, employing technology to enhance the naturally decadent. The only difference is that, by way of the HoloLens, this show can and will wander through time and space, meeting cognac fans where they are to share a bit of luxury from the French countryside.

Images courtesy of Rémy Martin