Cognac, orange essence, wood, and time: with the launch of Quintessence, Grand Marnier is proving how deep and complex a combination of these four elements can be in hands of a Master Blender.
Grande Cuvée Quintessence is the first of two grand cuvées in the French Maison’s Exceptional Range, both of which will be debuted this year in very limited quantities. (The second, Révélation, will launch later in 2022.)
While most of us know Grand Marnier’s ever-popular orange liqueur as an essential component for classic cocktails like the margarita, old fashioned, and sidecar, Quintessence is something very different — a rare and exceptional liqueur that’s meant to be sipped and savored on its own. In fact, it’s the oldest and rarest cognac in Grand Marnier’s long history, which began in 1880 when Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle began stirring French cognac with Citrus Bigaradia, a bitter and highly aromatic orange.
Quintessence was inspired by a historic Grand Marnier recipe that calls for macerating Bigaradia orange in cognac: the company’s Historic Master Blender, Patrick Raguenaud, discovered it in the archives. Crafted with hors d’âge cognacs exclusively from Grande Champagne and personal reserves from the Marnier Lapostolle family’s personal cellar, the spirit is then blended with macerated Bigaradia orange peels and double-distilled to create depth of flavor. The result is a rich and velvety copper-colored liqueur with bright aromas of vanilla, almond, and orange blossom, and complex, woody notes of toasted walnut, stone fruit, and bitter orange.
“It’s a rare experience to drink this, even to imagine this kind of cognac is rare. The sensation, the feeling, the perception of what you smell, it is unforgettable,” said Raguenaud.
Just 1,000 bottles of Quintessence were made, each housed in an elegant Baccarat two-piece curved decanter with a sexy swirl design and coordinating base. Since every piece is individually mouthblown by Baccarat artisans, each is one-of-a-kind.
To celebrate the launch, Grand Marnier threw a glam fête at Baccarat Boutique B Bar & Lounge in Miami’s buzzy Design District. Guests — including tastemakers from the city’s art, fashion, and design circles — were welcomed by a multi-sensory installation illustrating the sights, scents, and sounds that went into crafting the rare cuvée cognac.
Then, guests got to be the first to taste Quintessence. The oldest and rarest cognac in Grand Marnier’s long and storied history was poured with white-glove service from its dazzling bespoke decanter, underneath the sparkling chandeliers of the Baccarat Bar.
Grande Cuvée Quintessence retails for $3,500 and is currently available for pre-order on ReserveBar.com. It will begin shipping in May.