By Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Vanessa Obioha
Lovers of cognac brand Remy Martin gathered recently at Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos for an intimate journey with its XO variant. Under the dim lights of the bar and soft jazzy sounds from saxophonist, Femi Sax, the guests were intimated with the history of XO and highlights of its unique character.
The XO Cognac is a distinctive fine champagne of Remy Martin. Founded in 1981 by Cellar Master André Giraud, XO expresses the excellence of the Cognac Fine Champagne.
Guests were encouraged to feel the velvety, rich and lingering body of XO while the country’s brand ambassador, Stephen Jimba gave a history of the cognac which is made from a perfect blend of 400 different eaux de vie- a product of distilled white wines.
Usually, cognac is produced from white grapeswhich is then fermented to get the alcohol content. A standard requirement of any cognac is that it must be distilled twice.
“Making the XO, you have the eaux de vie which is clear as liquid and stored in oak barrels and must be aged for at least 10 years and above to get the XO. So what you are tasting is history, a legacy. It’s not just something that is being bottled up,” explained Jimba.
He further elaborated that the tannin characteristic of the drink comes from the type of oak wood used in storing the whiskey.
He added, “the wood is very porous and helps the Cognac to breathe outside of the barrel and experience the atmosphere of the cellar where it is kept. All the seasonal changes adds to the enrichment of the cognac.”
The guests were encouraged to taste the brandy which is often served straight at room temperature or on ice. To further illustrate the history of the brand, an artwork that clearly depicts the two prestigious vineyards where the brandy is grown: Grande Champagne and the Petite Champagne Crus, was on display.
The XO experience is a part of the Remy Martin series where different brands are profiled. According to the Director of Sales and Marketing of the hotel, Wellington Mpofu, “the series is a way of getting the hotel’s clientele to experience the history and legacy of Remy Martin.”
The achievements of the brand has not gone unnoticed. In 2010, it won a gold medal at the Spirits Business Cognac Masters (UK) and a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2014.