Beam Suntory has released the second edition of rare Cognac Courvoisier Mizunara, a “wholly unique” Cognac blend combining French tradition and Japanese craftsmanship.
The expression is made using Grand Champagne eaux-de-vie, blended with liquid from Petite Champagne and Borderies. This is said to add complexity, depth, and result in a long finish.
Initially aged in French oak, the Cognac is then finished in Japanese Mizunara casks. Mizunara oak is well known for being difficult to work with. It does not grow straight, and the high moisture content means the wood needs to be at least 200 years old before it can be coopered.
Courvoisier’s seventh Chief Blender Thibaut Hontanx worked with fifth generation Suntory blender Shinji Fukuyo for the release.
The 2023 Courvoisier Mizunara edition is said to be an “evolution” of the first release, offering an “even more pronounced overture” of Mizurana influence. Despite this, “its heart and soul of Cognac remain unmistakably intact”.
Given tasting notes include exotic fruits, jasmine and cherry blossom, with an “elegant” floral finish.
Courvoisier Mizunara: GTR allocation
Due to the scarcity of Mizunara casks, the release is limited to just 500 bottles, with a suggested retail price of USD$2,500. Of those, just 99 have been allocated to travel retail.
The limited edition is available now in Shanghai, Hainan, Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Paris, Bangkok, Taipei, Seoul, Dubai, New York and Los Angeles.
Within the channel, the launch with be supported by a series of pop-ups, activations and events.
The first of these is with Changi Airport Group at the annual World of Wines & Spirits showcase in partnership with Lotte Duty Free.
Airport activities kick off in November with a Heathrow Terminal 5 activation with Dufry. Other locations to follow in the same month include Paris Charles de Gaulle and in New York JFK T4.
In December, there will be a shop-in-shop animation at Macau and a Level 1 activation space at the Zhuhai Duty Free Shopping Mall.
Coinciding with the Lunar New Year with February 2024, Courvoisier Mizunara will be showcased in the stand-alone Courvoisier boutique at the CDF Haikou International Duty Free Shopping Complex.
Exploring oak possibilities
“As we continue to explore the possibilities of oak, we’ve learned that time is crucial when working with Mizunara oak,” said Hontanx. “It’s important to be patient to achieve its full potential.
“Born out of our desire to experiment with oak sources and harness its impact on Cognac, the 2023 edition of Courvoisier Mizunara pushes the boundaries of traditional cognac even further.”
Manuel Gonzalez, Beam Suntory Brand Marketing Director Global Travel Retail, added: “We are very much looking forward to showcasing this prestige limited edition to our travelling consumers.
“It is such an exciting time for Maison Courvoisier. Following its successful brand relaunch in 2022, Courvoisier is now entering a new era, and we think this is the perfect moment to introduce this exciting new expression in selected global travel retail doors.
“We were thrilled with the performance of the Courvoisier Mizunara first edition, released in 2022, and are confident this second edition will be just as sought after and successful.”
He continued: “At Beam Suntory, we pride ourselves on being pioneers, and this exceptional blend, which combines the absolute best of French tradition and Japanese craftsmanship, is truly unique.
“It also answers the growing demand in the channel for ultra-premium expressions – and reflects our wider premiumisation strategy.”
Beam Suntory is leaning into sharing spirit-making traditions. Last month it launched the Legent Yamazaki Cask Finish Blend line extension, a limited-run release said to “break new ground” in bourbon.
After being made in Kentucky from US grain, the finishing period and blending took place at Yamazaki Distillery in Japan.