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The iconic decanter is hand-crafted and also has historic roots – its design was inspired by a royal flask found on the battlefield of Jarnac in 1569.supplied

Age-old traditions that evolve over centuries have the power to connect us to our past and our heritage. The Lunar New Year, for example, is the most important holiday for millions of people around the world. It is a time when people of Chinese, East Asian and Southeast Asian descent celebrate a new beginning by honouring the customs passed to them by their parents, grandparents and the ancestors before them.

Many of the Lunar New Year traditions, rich in symbolism and meaning, are meant to strengthen human connections, from communities hosting fireworks and lion dances to families and friends coming together for a feast and to exchange gifts.

Why not celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Ox with a cognac that is renowned for connecting us to our past by invoking fond memories?

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As the seventh cellar master at LOUIS XIII, Baptiste Loiseau has a deep personal connection to the land and its traditions that were first started by Paul-Émile Rémy Martin in 1874.supplied

Again and again, Baptiste Loiseau, cellar master at LOUIS XIII, has witnessed the power of LOUIS XIII to inspire a journey into personal experiences and memories. “For me, it evokes my mother’s kitchen and sharing simple culinary delights,” he says. “A big copper pot where juicy figs are made into jam.”

Another emotion is unlocked by smelling notes of dried rose petals, which call to mind a sweetly scented rose bush like one in front of his grandparents’ house, says Mr. Loiseau.

Yet with a cognac that is “dense and light at the same time,” it can be hard to pinpoint the exact taste or smell that triggers a memory. It may be the “honeyed notes of fig and walnut or the rich notes of cigar box and leather that give way to the vivid freshness of passion fruit, spiked with ginger, thyme or myrrh,” he says. “With each drop of LOUIS XIII, opulence vies with vivacity in a tension full of paradox and excitement that makes every tasting a special occasion.”

And magic happens when “an exceptional cognac that frees our memories is shared,” suggests Mr. Loiseau. “I am always touched when others recall memories, often with deep emotions. It’s sharing the moment that matters most, and letting the words and feelings flow.”

As the seventh cellar master at LOUIS XIII, Mr. Loiseau follows in the footsteps of generations of cellar masters before him to continue the distinctive signature that started in 1874, when LOUIS XIII was first created by Paul-Émile Rémy Martin.

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Paul-Émile Rémy Martin in 1874.supplied

Each generation has to forge a strong personal connection to this heritage in order to be able to pass it along, says Mr. Loiseau. He credits Pierrette Trichet, the cellar master he succeeded, with inspiring “a profound knowledge of all the precious eaux-de-vie we hold in our cellars to recreate this complexity. It’s a mixture of science, of course, but also intuition.”

It begins with the recognition that the excellence of LOUIS XIII starts in its terroir, which offers a unique convergence of soil, climate and human skill. With its open lands of limestone subsoil, the Grande Champagne terroir covers 13,000 hectares. That’s where 100 per cent of the grapes creating the eaux-de-vie for LOUIS XIII are grown.

“I was born and raised in the Grande Champagne terroir. It’s beautifully picturesque, with hills and valleys, low stone walls and rows of vines,” says Mr. Loiseau, who adds that the growing conditions, combined with the skills of the local winegrowers and distillers, give eaux-de-vie distilled from Grande Champagne grapes their renowned aging potential.

From this connection to the land and its traditions comes the strong desire to look ahead to ensure a continuing legacy for coming generations. “We look to the future while honouring the past, sampling the new eaux-de-vie produced by Grande Champagne winegrowers and distillers each year, and setting aside only those with the very best aging potential,” he says. “Only decades later will these be considered by the next cellar master to compose the LOUIS XIII blend of tomorrow.”

With this incredible time span, cellar masters know they will not see the fruit of their own work. “They are a vital link in a human chain, working to transmit the legacy that ensures the tradition lives on,” says Mr. Loiseau. “I think a century ahead when I set aside our finest eaux-de-vie as a legacy to my successors for the coming century.”

This commitment to the longevity of traditions – and celebrating the best that communities and cultures have to offer – is also an important theme for the Lunar New Year festivities, and Mr. Loiseau and his colleagues are happy to join the celebration by offering best wishes for the Year of the Ox – from Grande Champagne to the world.

Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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