In an unprecedented move, Exsto Cognac has paired one of the world’s best female sommeliers with a master blender to create a modern, vibrant and memorable spirit and it makes its global debut in Singapore.
Inspired by heritage, tradition and craft, Exsto Cognac was created in partnership with Julie Dupouy, the World’s Best Female Sommelier 2016, Sabrina Duong, CEO of Exsto Cognac, and seventh generation master-blender Géraud Vallantin-Dulac. Embracing quality with an accessible and minimalist approach, cognac has been reimagined with an exuberant and youthful French spirit.
Exsto – the contraction of the French word ‘Extase’ (ecstasy) and XO (the highest quality of cognac) – showcases the sophisticated palate of a sommelier married with the technique of a cognac maker.
“A good sommelier lives and breathes wines and spirits and has cultivated a unique understanding of aromas and flavours by exploring the world’s best foods and drinks. Julie’s skills and experience make her the perfect choice to create this new style of cognac – a luxury drink that’s elegant and modern, yet respectful of its heritage. Julie is an inspiring woman and we share a vision of adopting a more feminine approach to what is often perceived to be a man’s drink,” says Sabrina.
Julie adds: “As a sommelier, I analyse wines and spirits in great detail but I rarely get to create anything. When Sabrina contacted me to ask me to collaborate with Exsto Cognac, I saw the opportunity to participate in the genesis of something special and express myself through a product I am extremely passionate about. I also felt that this venture was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the process of creating a high-quality product and bringing it to market.”
Exsto Cognac is being brought into Singapore by local heritage company Tai Thong Wine and Spirits (TTWS).
Redefining Cognac Only the finest white grapes from the wine-growing regions surrounding the town of Cognac are fermented and slowly double-distilled to create eaux de vie – a brandy spirit unique to the craft of cognac.
With Sabrina’s childhood connections to these artisanal producers and guided by Exsto Cognac’s Master Blender Géraud Vallantin-Dulac, Julie worked with 15 small producers from the Cognac region whom work selectively with choice partners – selecting only eight of the best eaux de vie – all of which have spent decades aging in rare French oak barrels.
These chosen spirits are produced in the top four terroirs of the Cognac region:
• Grande-Champagne and Petite-Champagne, revered for their ultra-fine floral characteristics • Borderies, the smallest of the six crus, famed for producing rare, smooth and voluptuous eaux de vie with a delicate violet aroma. • Fins Bois, known for its fruity personalities.
Inspired by the diversity of the cognac appellation, the skills of vineyard workers and long period of cask-ageing, Julie asked Géraud to blend the selection. The resulting profile is a vibrant, complex blend which expresses the nuances of each eaux de vie while harmonising their distinctive qualities.
Julie says: “Until recently, cognac has suffered a lack of popularity in the European markets. Today, people are rediscovering cognac because of its inner quality – it is a drink with a strong personality that has a lot of beautiful aromas to offer. The younger generation is open to rediscover old drinks and will want to enjoy a drink regardless of their social status, their gender and what message it conveys.”
The Exsto Cognac Aesthetic After over two years of trials, Julie has created two distinctive cognac blends: Exsto Cognac Elixir (RRP $688) and Exsto Cognac Or Impérial (RRP $2,888).
At first nose, Exsto Elixir exudes intense notes of caramel au beurre (caramel with butter), red fruits, ripe peaches and apricots, exotic spices – vanilla, cinnamon, and star anise, roasted pineapple and melon with a twist of bitter oak. Upon a drop of water, the cognac’s buttery notes are brought out for a richer finish. The Elixir comprises a mixture of eight eaux-de-vie chosen out of the rarest and oldest stock from the producers.
With only 888 bottles in the world, the Or Impérial, has a more delicate aroma of passionfruit, lime zest, yellow peach, violet and rose petals, exotic spices – vanilla, ginger and nutmeg, and sea salt. When a drop of water is added, it accentuates the tertiary notes of sweet oak, dark chocolate, earth and honey. This limited-edition bottle features a blend of eight eauxde-vie chosen out of the very private family stock from the brand’s producers, that has been kept sacred by generations.
The terroir topography of the different areas of Cognac featured on the bottles were hand drawn to represent the complexity and diversity, while the cap was designed and handblown by talented French glass artists Eve and Laurent George. The cap alone took six months to design and several days to make a single piece, combined with Vinalok technology, this innovative achievement ensures the bottle remains hermetically sealed (air and water tight) to ensure the enduring quality of the cognac.
Exsto Cognac is available at: • 1880 • Anti:dote • The Bar at 15 Stamford • The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore • Fairmont Singapore • Garibaldi Restaurant • Manhattan • Odette • SKAI • Swissotel The Stamford