One-On-One With Rémy Martin Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau As He Debuts Carte Blanche Merpins

Remy Martin Carte Blanche
Rémy Martin Carte Blanche

Photo Credit: Rémy Martin

Rémy Martin is a centuries-old brand that signifies history, regality, excellence and consistency—all of which Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau takes to heart as he dedicates himself to maintaining this level of perfection in each and every batch that exits the House of Rémy Martin. With a rich history that spans over 290 years, Rémy Martin remains at the top of the spirits world, which can be credited to each of the cellar masters who work diligently to continue to evolve each blend, while still maintaining its consistency that manifests in each sip. This is a process that cannot be rushed. Therefore, when Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau was granted the ability to develop his very own limited-edition blend, “Carte Blanche,” it was a task that was not taken lightly. Here, Haute Living sits down with the master as he visits Miami for the first time ever at the opulent Faena Hotel Penthouse to get a first-taste of the spirit and discuss the highly-anticipated debut of the Carte Blanche Merpins blend, the process he went through to create it, what one can expect from the exclusive spirit and his greatest lessons learned on the job.

HL: Tell us about Carte Blanche Merpins. How did you develop the blend and how does it portray your own personality?

BL: : It certainly is my baby. It was my decision to highlight this blend. A few months ago, The House told me that they were going to grant me permission to have free reign with Carte Blanche and reveal the treasures of the House. It was completely up to me to select one of the best blends. It took seven years to learn from my previous cellar master and I knew that I had to highlight a superior category and quality than we already had. So, I went back to my notes from over the course of seven years and then I took some samples and did a blind tasting. They were really wonderful samples. I felt I had to relate to the taste on an emotional level—and a particular sample was very intriguing because it had a fruity concentration but it was full of a spiciness that I loved—it reminded me of a Christmas cake—with tastes of ginger, honey, cinnamon cloves, etc. The big question for me was, do I highlight it on its own, or keep it for the next case to be a final blend of the XO in the next few years? I was so moved by the specimens inside that I decided to highlight it on its own. When I had the first tasting with the team, they told me that we were not going to release just one blend, we wanted to reveal other unique treasures in the next few years, so we really see this as a collection—that’s why I wanted to name this edition with the name of the village and the vat where it was found. It comes directly from the vat to the bottle, which is why its percentage of alcohol is high at 44.1 percent. Among this quantity, only 2,000 bottles will come to the U.S. at the end of November for $500 per bottle, and the rest will be distributed worldwide at the beginning of February 2018 as the youngest eau de vie.

Baptiste Loiseau with Carte Blanche Merpins
Baptiste Loiseau with Carte Blanche Merpins

Photo Credit: Rémy Martin

HL: What made you choose the U.S. as your first market to debut it in? 

BL: For a few reasons—one was that we knew all the clients are Rémy Martin lovers here and would be expecting to try it first. We also had a good understanding where we could highlight the superior retail of the brand and the limited edition.

HL: Do you taste each batch that comes out yourself? 

BL: Yes, each and every batch. Because this allows me to determine if it’s heading in the right direction, and if it’s not, then I have to do another blend. The main mission of the Cellar Master in the cognac region is to respect the tradition. You have to respect what has been done by your previous master. I am extremely honored to be the one handling this privilege and responsibility, but tradition is key when you belong to a House that encompasses almost three centuries of history. You have to be creative to keep things fresh but also maintain its tradition. That’s why we decided to launch the new edition.

HL: This seems like the perfect holiday drink. Great timing. 

BL: Exactly! It is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each sip manifests tastes of fresh fruits, and then moves to something lighter and the freshness that comes from the spices is really something special. That’s why I chose it. You have to have the right balance of a sweet taste. It is more than 44 percent alcohol, so one might think it’s too strong when looking at the label. But it is not strong. It’s so silky, so smooth, that we can really enjoy it in many ways.

HL: What would you say is the most important lesson you learned from your previous master?

BL: She taught me everything about making cognac. I started as a winemaker and I joined the company 10 years ago. She taught me everything from the grapes on the wine to the barrel making. And she taught me all the details of the technical aspects. But the most important thing I learned from her is outside the realm of technicalities and science—she told me that I have to be able to let myself go. Of course, at the beginning, the pressure is so huge that this becomes quite difficult. During the first year, I tried to control everything and I spent a lot of time analyzing tastings and seemed to be struggling a bit, and she just smiled at me and told me, ‘you’re doing it the right way, but you also have to understand that from time to time, you won’t have the answer.’ In which case, you have to go with your heart and emotions to trust the blend. If you feel that what you’re doing is right, you have to keep going in that direction. And in the end, when I see the eyes of the people enjoying the amazing taste and spiciness as they tell me what they feel, I know I made the right decision. So, you can’t put time on the process—I can’t say when I will have that feeling again. For the moment, we are appreciating the Carte Blanche Merpins and we will wait for that feeling to come back in the next few years. It’s something that has to be natural.

Remy Martin setup at Faena Penthouse
Rémy Martin setup at Faena Penthouse

Photo Credit: Rémy Martin