The beautifully orchestrated evolution of Courvoisier continues with the release of Courvoisier Mizunara 2023, a blend so exceptionally crafted that only 500 bottles are available. With this second edition, Maison Courvoisier – founded by Félix Courvoisier in 1828, in Jarnac, France – continues its history of presenting unique blends with a cognac that combines French tradition and Japanese craftsmanship. Naturally, this marriage, made in ancient oak casks, has proved to be as desirable as the inaugural edition of Courvoisier Mizunara.
Maison Courvoisier’s seventh Chief Blender, Thibaut Hontanx, is once again at the heart of this revolutionary collaboration with the House of Suntory’s fifth-generation Chief Blender, Shinji Fukuyo. Applying their combined mastery, Hontanx and Fukuyo have ensured that this rare cognac perfectly symbolizes the idea that innovative blends can be the result of the harmonious union of two distinct cultures.
Since being handed the reins from Courvoisier’s sixth Chief Blender, Patrice Pinet, early last year, Hontanx – previously the brand’s Master Distiller – has proved to be a worthy caretaker. Explaining what he loves about the role, he says, “I enjoy the landscape, the grapes, the traditional way we make the cognac and the quietness of the cellars. It is very rewarding to be in this type of atmosphere.”
Maison Courvoisier’s seventh Chief Blender, Thibaut Hontanx, is at the heart of this collaboration with the House of Suntory’s fifth-generation Chief Blender, Shinji Fukuyo.
Meanwhile, the House of Suntory is rolling out its centennial campaign this year; its Yamazaki Distillery was established in 1923. Suntory continues to look to Fukuyo for inspiration, craftsmanship and the relentless pursuit of quality. With such prestigious artistry, it’s no surprise that the 2023 Courvoisier Mizunara blend showcases an even more pronounced overture of Mizunara wood than its predecessor.
This limited series, presented in an understated, elegant bottle, features the most exquisite eaux-de-vie of the house from the region’s top crus: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne and Borderies, for added complexity and depth.
“We’ve learned that time is crucial when working with Mizunara oak. It’s important to be patient to achieve its full potential.”
– Thibaut Hontanx
Featuring a blend of exotic fruits, jasmine and cherry blossom juxtaposed with the house’s signature notes of rich fruits layered with an elegant floral finish, Courvoisier Mizunara began its ageing journey in casks made from the region’s finest oak before being transferred to rare Japanese Mizunara oak casks. Working with this wood, which is left to age over two centuries, is a challenge due to the gnarly nature of the tree and its sideways growth pattern. “We’ve learned that time is crucial when working with Mizunara oak,” Hontanx says. “It’s important to be patient to achieve its full potential.” Available from The Whisky Shop and Harvey Nichols among other retailers in the UK. 700ml, £2,500.
Words: Lisa Marks