I know nothing about fine drinking, or Rémy Martin. I may be able to taste the difference between corked and uncorked wine, or how a certain vintage has a supple taste which transcends the cheap young vines of a CO-OP white, but that’s the extent of my knowledge and interest. Give me two unlabelled glasses of red wine and ask me which one is the more expensive. I would reply that I have no idea, drink both, and have a fun time with friends at the local pub afterwards after an expensive round of pre-drinks.

Now I mention this because the Rémy Martin XO Revealed experience changed the way I view cognac. No kidding, they actually did it. Though my journey didn’t start very well…

Did you know that there is a difference between the Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal Society of Arts? I didn’t, and I was late for the Rémy Martin XO Revealed experience by about 45 minutes. Great.

And when I navigated their labyrinthine building I found the event in the RSA’s cellars. It was a deep, red area with about thirty people attending, all dressed to impress and having relaxed chit chats dotted around the room. Meanwhile I was dressed in a casual shirt and some baggy trousers; I felt a bit out of place, bit like a stray Tescos Vodka in a upscale drinks cabinet.

Rémy Martin

Regardless I melded into the situation and found what I wanted in the corner – the HoloLens MR experience.

Now, Rémy started the ‘Rooted in Exception’ initiative, partnering with Kazendi to create the experience. As this is such a narrative-driven experience, the company wanted to dabble with some MR tech.

Once you put the glasses on, the table comes to life, and you are accompanied by the voice of Baptiste Loiseau, the Cellar Master of the House. On this raised platform, the Cognac Grande Champagne and Cognac Petite Champagne vineyards are holographically displayed, and told the story of Cognac. It was rather nifty, and was a neat way to tell the story. I especially liked the part when the XO bottle rose from the vineyards and floated above the table, a bit like a 1-Up. I was half tempted to grab it and gain an extra life. 

Rémy Martin

Like many brands, it’s the storytelling element which grabbed them. Augustin Depardon, Rémy Martin Global Executive Director, comments: ‘To us, mixed reality is an amazing opportunity for storytelling. How better could we engage our customers and tell them about our roots than by bringing our story to life, for them to see?’ Solid reasoning, and it was a nice way of showing where the company came from.

Then, we were taken to a table laden with the flavors which complement Cognac. Pears, apples, figs, cheese, fudge, truffle, chocolate, honey – Instagrammers had a minor heart attack. It also reminded me of ‘that’ table from Pan’s Labyrinth, only less sinister. And the UK ambassador walked us through the history of Rémy Martin, their roots (ha), and the process of making the drink. Then he walked us through how to savor it, slowly and delicately.

Granted, it helped that there was such an array of food on the table. The pears and apples were not touched, though I don’t blame anyone – there wasn’t anywhere to put the cores. But it was a lovely way to see what the cognac can complement.

Overall it was a wonderful event, and I learned a lot about the company and how to savour the drink. The mixed reality display was a nice complement to the real show, which was the long table of food. Yum.

Tom Ffiske
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