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    Christophe Bourrie, Asian regional director for Louis XIII, on luxury and branding

    Christophe Bourrie admits that appreciating the complex flavours of Louis XIII takes a keen mind. You need to build a library of taste, he observes, on his flying visit to the city to share the ultra luxe cognac with a select audience. Hailing from Bordeaux, Bourrie, 41, is no stranger to fine wines. But Louis XIII, he confides, is a very difficult liquid to make. To add to the challenge, the Remy Martin family has no recipe on record for it, yet each cellar master is expected to continue the legacy flawlessly. Bourrie himself picked up the nuances in Cognac, from the current cellar master, Pierrette Trichet, the only female holding this position in the industry. It is a subject he is passionate about (another being skiing, with a holiday at his new ski chalet in Chamonix, the French Alps, just two weeks away). In a quick chat, he talks about branding and why India is the new China:

    ■ Louis XIII is the oldest premium cognac. It used to be shipped to the maharajas. Imagine a 100-year-old cognac versus a 10 to 30-year-old wine or a 10 to 50-year-old single malt. There is no comparison.

    ■ As whisky is becoming popular with women, so is cognac. To my knowledge, the only women’s club for Louis XIII is in Taiwan. Cocktails are a good way to introduce cognac to women, before we graduate to serving it neat. The French mojito with cognac instead of rum, and cognac served with ginger ale are two big hits.

    ■ While Delhi leads the market for Louis XIII, I am pleasantly surprised that Chennai is allowing itself to spend a bit more money. India is the market you want to grow; it is fast rising and the ‘new China’ for the next 20-30 years. There are both aspirational and connoisseur consumers, and while status plays a role like in China, I believe many Indians invest in premium brands for themselves.

    - Rosella Stephen

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