Courvoisier's striking new look gives a nod to La Belle Époque
For a brand to tap into its long heritage, it needs to have something substantial in its DNA that’s worth reawakening. Heritage just for heritage’s sake won’t work. There has to be something at the core of the brand to give you that connection, writes Richard Buchanan, founder of an award-winning UK-based branding consultancy The Clearing.
For Maison Courvoisier – the most awarded cognac house in the world – that core is the spirit of joie de vivre, embodied by the charismatic Fe´lix Courvoisier, who founded the cognac in 1828 in Jarnac – the heart of the cognac region in France. And that spirit is now reflected in Courvoisier’s new vibrant signature style and packaging – dedicated to drawing on the life, joy and history of the Maison, the region and its people.
Offering a taste of refined history in each sip, Courvoisier’s new expression still boasts the same exquisite taste that has been expertly distilled, matured and blended in the Maison’s intricate nuances.
The newly updated bottles will now appear the same worldwide, a change to the packaging which existed in various iterations in different territories. There is also a nod to its roots as the official cognac of Napoleon’s Imperial Court, which was served at notable historic joyous occasions, and graced the tables of the royal courts of Europe.
“We are entering a new era for Courvoisier,” says Courvoisier MD Jon Potter. “This is an exciting time for our Maison, as we go back to our roots and embrace what Courvoisier was founded on.”
Lighter and brighter
The unveiling of the new look was precipitated and propped by a strategic three-prong approach to honour its heritage and embrace the future. In 2021, the beginning of the journey culminated in the creation of two signature cocktails, the refreshing Gala and the French Twist, both calling cards for the essence of summer itself. Simply, a celebration of #JoieDeVivre: sunshine, jazz music, good company, seasonal food, and of course, the perfect cocktails.
The lighter and brighter new look harks back to the Belle Époque era, a beautiful age characterised by optimism, peace and economic prosperity at the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. The label has shed its purple identity to usher in a fresher colour palette that includes red, off-white, gold and black but retains elements such as the founder’s signature – the bee which is a symbol of immortality, the silhouette of Napoleon Bonaparte, and its sleek cursive tagline “Le Cognac de Napoleon”.
Striking a balance between a brand’s heritage and new elements is no mean feat because it’s not an exact science, and as John Clark, planning director for global design agency Coley Porter Bell was quoted as saying, “it’s getting an idea of where the brand is, where it wants to go, and if you have to reinvent everything to get there.”
A rich palette of citrus, along with precise distillation and signature oak selection blend together in the Maison’s award-winning signature floral style. It offers an exquisitely balanced and vibrant range that includes VS, which retains its iconic shape, as does XO in its teardrop-shaped bottle. This pays homage to Daniel Dumon, the Maison’s fourth chief blender, and VSOP in a sleeker, leaner and taller casing.
Joy in a Glass
The brand announced the retirement of its sixth chief blender Patrice Pinet and the transition to his carefully selected seventh successor Thibaut Hontanx. “It is a true privilege to continue to make the dream of Maison Courvoisier a reality,” says Hontanx. “As newly appointed caretaker of our exceptional range of cognacs, I will continue to embrace the Maison’s commitment to community. As each drop of our cognac is a collective effort, from our vine-growers to our distillers, we value our close-knit group of artisans in Jarnac.”
And the Maison’s partnership with creative visionary Yinka Ilori as “Ambassador of Joy” provided the final flourish signalling its new era. As part of the “We Found Joy” campaign, Ilori will be featured alongside global creatives actress, writer, producer and director Rashida Jones, Michelin star chef Vladimir Mukhin, award-winning jazz musician Moses Boyd and fashion and beauty photographer Betina du Toit. Each creative will be showcased in a series of films titled “Welcome to Maison Courvoisier” capturing each individual’s interpretation of joy.
Named by the New York Times as one of the 12 artists shaping the global design industry, the London-based multidisciplinary artist specialises in storytelling by merging his British-Nigerian heritage, culture and traditions to create new conversations in contemporary design that have resonance. “For me, the essence of joy is through the use of colour. It makes people smile, it brings people together and delivers a natural sense of conviviality,” says Ilori. “Like Courvoisier, each piece of my work is inspired by community, a celebration of the fabric of collective energy.”
Based on the joyful, generous, and sophisticated house style and commitment to community and craftsmanship, Courvoisier continues to value its relationships with local artisans and winegrowers to produce its high quality, award-winning cognac portfolio.
And with a bold new visual identity, this unique heritage brand has successfully managed to stay fresh and relevant, capture the zeitgeist and leverage its own history and traditions as a marker for quality, sophistication and luxury.