This article was first published on The Age online October 31 2014.
When I first sat down with the international brand ambassador for one of the world’s most exclusive cognacs – Morgan de Prémorel of Louis XIII – all I could think about was sheep.
Twenty hours earlier I had been in rural Tasmania at Peter Bignell’s Belgrove Distillery watching him shear a sheep. Before that, I sampled his distilled ginger beer, a lovely pear brandy and Australia’s only paddock-to-bottle rye whisky straight out of the cask. These were all distilled in Bignell’s hand-made copper pot still, which he built from recycled materials and runs using spent chip oil collected from a local service station.
The contrast was dizzying: from Bignell’s historic shearing shed drenched with the smell of lanolin and sheep poo, to the plush surrounds of Club 23 at Melbourne’s Crown Towers.
I met de Prémorel to talk about the Black Pearl Anniversary Edition, an exclusive bottling of Rémy Martin’s Louis XIII that retails for around $15,000 a bottle.