As spirits go, this one is well travelled. From the dining carriages of the Orient Express to the cabins of Concorde, Louis XIII cognac has an illustrious history of globetrotting. Now this is set to continue with L’Odyssée D’Un Roi (first picture), an elegant collaboration between the cognac specialist and three luxury houses.
The maisons – Hermès, cristallerie Saint-Louis and silversmiths Puiforcat – have each designed different elements of three travelling cases for the artisan-crafted magnum. There’s a leather trunk handstitched by Hermès (second picture), four glasses and a crystal decanter (second and third pictures) mouthblown and etched with 19th-century maps by Saint-Louis artisans and a white-gold Puiforcat pipette.
The trio (Asian, European and American in theme) has just embarked on a round-the-world tour, inspired by the first shipments of Louis XIII in the late 1870s and the ensuing journeys around the globe.
“The creation of the L’Odyssée D’Un Roi started two years ago,” says Ludovic du Plessis, global executive director for Louis XIII. “It is a process that takes time – one entire year to produce and engrave the three bottles and the glasses. For L’Odyssée D’Un Roi, the cellar master wanted to enrich the final blend of Louis XIII. He took eau de vie from treasures transmitted from cellar master to cellar master. These liquids are very old eau de vie of Grande Champagne, which had been stored in demijohn at their climax. These demijohns are visible in the cellar André Hériard Dubreuil, on the Domaine de Merpins, close to Cognac. Of these liquids, the cellar master identified three blends of eau de vie that come to enrich the final blend of Louis XIII. This means that the coupe of L’Odyssée D’Un Roi is then unique.”
The trunks will be on display during the year in a series of exhibitions; kick-off is in China, before travelling to the US and London in September. The cases will then travel to the continent that matches their decoration to be auctioned at Sotheby’s (starting bid £70,000 each) – New York in September, Hong Kong in October and London in November. All proceeds will go to Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to cinematic heritage preservation and the restoration of classic films.