Happy Hour With… Louis XIII’s Ludovic Du Plessis
Last year, when Ludovic du Plessis, Louis XIII Global Executive Director, approached American music producer and artiste Pharrell Williams to compose 100 Years—The Song We’ll Only Hear If We Care, the timing could not have been better. Williams, who is notably passionate about addressing climate change, had just had triplets, shared du Plessis. “He told me, ‘wow, that’s the message for my descendants, I really want to do this’.”
This is an artistic project, produced by the lauded 100-year-old cognac as a tribute to its long standing relationship with time, although Williams had full creative autonomy when writing and producing the song.
The only copy of the song was then engraved onto a unique clay vinyl made with the chalky soil from the Louis XIII vineyard in Cognac. It has been sealed behind a bullet-proof glass door it in a state-of-the-art safe designed and made by Fichet-Bauche and programmed to unlock in November 2117. The safe, however, is not watertight and the vinyl will be destroyed should water levels rise and the safe is submerged in water.
Of course, should the opportunity to play the vinyl arrive, there will be a vinyl record player available, he assured T.Dining in an interview ahead of a recent showing of the actual safe and record at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.
Du Plessis has also secured invitations to the premiere for his three children. “You know, a hundred years is just around the corner if you think about it,” he posits, remaining positive despite the project’s seemingly dark title. “I strongly believe that in a hundred years, our descendants will be able to listen to the song because together we would have done what is necessary to preserve the planet.” He believes this to be a positive call to action and is confident that collectively, we can make the necessary change for the better.
What are some of your favourite indulgences you hope will still be available in 100 years?
Ludovic du Plessis (LP) My first drink and cigar were with my grandfather who used to own a restaurant on the island of St Martin—the island’s first restaurant, built in 1960. I was spending all my vacations on the island and I was lucky to try some amazing stuff—it was a good education for me. And to answer the question, I hope that in one hundred years, we would still have amazing Cuban cigars—specifically the Trinidad Robusto—and cigars from the Dominican Republic and Honduras, and for that, we would need to preserve the soil.
I’m also passionate about wine and spirits and there are three wines that I would like to include. The first is from Château Smith Haut Lafitte, then I would say Château Angélus and Château Margaux.
And if you could throw in a dish to go with all that wonderful treats?
LP With the Louis XIII there are two amazing pairings. There’s the jamón ibérico de bellota from Spain, which is the best—you put a little flower of this ham on the tongue and it melts, and then you add a drop of Louis XIII, and it’s superb. The second pairing is the caviar—you put a little beluga caviar on the tongue followed by a drop of Louis XIII and you make it explode on your palate; it’s a good combination of salt, minerality, and sweetness.
How does Louis XIII and the ideals it represents stay relevant in this age of instant gratification?
LP Louis XIII is still here because it is a family business and they have time… and I strongly believe that the new generation (of consumers) is really after a true story and an authentic brand. And Louis XIII is one of the most authentic brands ever—built in 1874 and still here today. This, my iPhone, would not be here in 100 years but I can tell you my Louis XIII bottle, the same design, will still be here. I’m saying this because this bottle (of Louis XIII) has been the same since 1874. Of course, (these days) it’s about instant gratification (especially) with social media … but (consumers today) also understand what is delayed gratification.
How would you sell this to the hipsters of today?
LP I’m not going to sell it to them, they have to deserve it. They have to understand it, meet the right people—you need to be introduced to Louis XIII. You need to understand how it can have such a body but is not heavy; how can it be so complex yet so alive at the same time. In short, you drink time. Generations of men and women have dedicated their lives to that one drop of Louis XIII. A lot of times, people would ask what luxury is for me, and I would say, “stop it” … everybody is using the word luxury in every sentence. For me, only one thing is “luxury” today—time. You can’t buy time.
When the cellar master first told me the story of Louis XIII, one thing stuck I my mind. He told me, "you have to understand that this morning, I put aside some eau de vie for the generations to come to make Louis XIII'. And I told him he was working for people who are not born yet. For me, this is the magic of this Louis XIII. And I decided to put that into music, if I can say that, with Pharrell’s song.