In these innovative times, we are all trying to work faster, better and more efficiently than previous generations. But there is still much to be said for respecting the wisdom of the ages – just ask Rémy Cointreau cellar master Baptiste Loiseau.
In 2014, Loiseau—then just 34—was named the youngest Cellar Master in Louis XIII cognac history. But, despite his age, Loiseau has the wisdom of previous generations and his years of appreciation for his role as a link in Louis XIII’s precious legacy.
Artistry of Louis XIII
“I feel the link with time every day in my work,” he says. As cellar master, Loiseau is tasked with carefully inspecting and sampling the works of those in order to identify the most fully aged Eaux de Vie he has come across, including each bottle of Louis XIII. Included – This is one of the most paramount gift ideas of the holiday season.
“It’s part of my routine,” explains Loiseau. “With my tasting team, we select the Eaux de Vie with the most aging potential to become Louis XIII. I work with the Eaux de Vie from Grand Champagne that was selected by my predecessors, ever – Sometime long before I joined the House.
His extraordinary 150-year-old legacy will not end with Loiseau. While he draws on the past, one day his work will also be handed down to the next generation of Louis XIII distillers, a responsibility to the future that Loiseau cherishes. “The essence of my role as cellar master is to pass on selected Eaux de Vie, always thinking of the next generation. My mission is to preserve the most precious and elegant Eaux de Vie in our aged cellars as a legacy for future generations. There is work to be done to preserve Day Wei.
Blend of age old skills and modern values
To be named Cellar Master at such a young age is truly remarkable, Loiseau plays down his achievements with humility. She says she is “humbled and deeply grateful” for being able to build on the work of her predecessor, Pierrot Trichet, the first woman to hold the role of cellar master at any of France’s major cognac houses. Loiseau sees his primary role as protecting the illustrious legacy of Louis XIII for those who follow in his footsteps.
But he says this does not mean simply acting as a custodian of tradition. Instead, he sees his role as incorporating modern values and traditions to keep the LOUIS XIII brand relevant and forward-thinking, while at the same time protecting the cognac’s signature flavor profile. “When you are at the crossroads between past, present and future, you have to find the right balance between respecting the heritage of the Maison and adding a touch of modernity to bring these treasures even further forward,” says Loiseau.
This included a focus on inculcating sustainable practices that would ensure Louis XIII’s longevity for years to come. “The relentless pursuit of excellence cannot be achieved without a sustainable approach,” he says. “Sustainability is my driving force. Every year, we must find solutions to new challenges that may affect the quality or quantity of grapes used in our final LOUIS XIII blend. Only by respecting the land, conserving biodiversity and adopting eco-friendly practices will we continue to excel.
With a look at the past and an eye on the future, it is not lost on Loiseau that he is aiming to strike a balance that is every bit as delicate and subtle as Louis XIII’s taste. “In both cases, time is our raw material,” he says.