Some things scream fancy: velvet smoking jackets, black and white 1950s French films, Fancy Feast (it’s in the name so you know it’s the filet mignon of feline cuisine, right?).
Remy Martin does not just scream fancy, it bellows it from a mountaintop as it clutches the decapitated head of a foe slain in hand-to-hand combat.
My friend K. invited The Regular Guy and I to an über fancy evening at a Remy Martin tasting. Naturally, I wore my best suit, donned a monocle and spoke in a haughty British accent patterned on the one used by Michael Fassbender in Inglourious Basterds. Actually, no. I wore Adidas. Sambas, to be exact.
So we descend into the event space, a cavernous spot in Soho. We sign in and are given a badge with a number (number 5 for us) and a coin with the centaur logo of the famous cognac.
We then go down a hallway and into the bar area. You had your choice of four cocktails. Our trio ordered the Sidecar. While enjoying the liquid refreshment, we had a chance to learn a bit about the brand’s history. Most people there opted to chat with their friends. The Regular Guy had his photo taken at a prop bar and the staff then sent him the photo via e-mail.
After about 30 minutes, a hostess called everyone in group 5 to follow her. She could have been taking us to our execution but we went with her anyway. They told us to refrain from photographs and we walked into a large section with white walls. The US Brand Ambassador for Remy Martin greeted us. We sat down around a large table. There were about six different setups with various shades of liquid spread around the table. One wall had a display case that housed three rows of unmarked bottles. We learned that these bottles housed cognac at different points along a forty-year span, the liquid growing darker as it aged.
We were given a brief chemistry lesson and then given the opportunity to try to make a mix approximate to a 40-year-old cognac (VSOP, which is 55% Grande Champagne and 45% Petite Champagne). Though the 40-year-old product has about 200 ingredients, we were asked to make due with the three before us. So the three of us (actually we had two other team members but I did not get their names, so they are banished from recorded history. Bwahahahaha!) tried to figure out the right balance. Our group, dubbed the Booze Whores, came up with a mix that earned us third place. This high ranking has spurred me to become a modern day bootlegger, a real life Beer Baron. Now I just need to find a place that outlaws booze.
We then moved to another section where we gathered around a cask that housed XO Excellence (85% Grande and 15% Petite). We were given a sample and it proved to be a wonderful blend of memorable aromas and smooth texture.
Louis XIII was mentioned but alas, no samples of that were given, much to the disappointment of the flourishing booze hounds in attendance (yes, yours truly is included).
I had never had Remy Martin before that night; I doubt I even had cognac (I stress that I am not absolutely sure because I did go away to college and I must have ingested unknown quantities of various alcoholic refreshments).
I will likely make this a future purchase. The smooth finish is probably best enjoyed on cold winter evenings after walking the dog, and before you start reading any of Faulkner’s works. Or as you’re about to dance to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.
Either way, it will be a great time. Be sure to RSVP for VSOP if your friends invite you to one of these fun Remy Martin tastings.
– Alejandro Armenta