Musty Bunches - Tales from the Spit Bucket
By Musty Bunches | 25 October 2001
Yes, after a month off in deference to Sept 11, Musty is glad to find that whatever other earth-shattering events may be going on in various corners of the globe, the Cognacais at least can be relied on for regular doses of unchanging stupidity.
Picture the scene: you have an expensive chateau, hundreds of barrels of old spirit and a tweed jacket. Life should be "parfait". But life is not parfait, because nobody likes spending hundreds of Francs/Euros/Dollars on your product any more. Not even the Japanese.
You are a sad and lonely spirit owner. Times are hard. You're down to your fifth BMW. The situation must be reversed. But how?
Then in comes Monsieur le Marketeur with a great idea. "We need a concept that hasn't been used before," he says. "We need to sell to an untapped market."
"Aah," says Downcast Chateau Owner. "But zey 'ave all been done."
"Not quite," replies Monsieur le Marketeur with a knowing grin. "There has never been a spirit aimed at… astronauts."
Now, were this any industry other than Cognac, the response would no doubt have involved a large boot to the nether regions followed by deportation to the Siberian wastelands of the drinks world - perhaps marketing Pastis outside France. Instead, the result is Rémyspace - a limited edition (thank God) Cognac with a frankly ludicrous space theme and a 'spaceship' bottle that looks disconcertingly like a double-ended vibrator.
Intent on doing the whole thing properly, Remy has, believe it or not, developed the drink with help from European space research experts with the new creation "officially viable for space travel".
Not only that, but the Cognac, which uses 40 eaux de vie, with a minimum age of (count 'em) three years, is produced with a similar process used to filter water in space. This, apparently, makes it 'perfectly adapted for ice-cold consumption in space or on earth'. Ha ha ha!
So, to conclude, "this is a cheap, gimmicky drink made out of very young cognac. It doesn't taste very nice even after Remy has filtered the hell out of it, so they recommend that drinkers chill it to below freezing so they don't notice it. And the bottle looks like a sex aid.' Bloody marvellous.
A wise drinks marketeer once told Musty that selling drinks was easy. "You just need a good product at a good price," he said. "It isn't rocket science." If only someone had told Remy…
Sticking with Remy, Musty was pleased to see that the company has cancelled its usual Bacchanalian Remy Bar at Cannes this week in deference to the present uncertain global situation.
Not because it costs them a small fortune every year and they've been trying to find a way of getting rid of it for years without losing face, then…
A few months ago, Musty ran a story on the unusual Chinese health drink of, er… freshly pumped urine. Well, now from Japan comes a rather more palatable, but no less unusual top drinking tip for the serious athlete.
A Japanese competitor at the Berlin marathon became the first woman to beat the 2 hours 20 minutes barrier despite taking no more than a few sips of water.
Her secret? Repeatedly refuelling with a sports drink made from the juice of giant hornets.
Now, how the hell anybody realised that hornet juice is good for you in the first place is one thing, but extracting the stuff must be one of the trickier - and more hazardous occupations in the world. And don't forget that these aren't just your average hornet. Oh no. These are giant hornets with serious attitude.
Whatever next? Termite cola? Funnel-web soda? Waspade?
Well done Coca cola. Congratulations on your brave new campaign to stimulate literacy by linking in with the Harry Potter film. Musty applauds your donation of $18m to the "Reading Is Fundamental" campaign in the US. Three cheers for the way in which Harry Potter's wizardy young face will adorn Coke retail outlets the world over. And praise and salutations due for the way in which you are adamant that your campaign will not commercialise Harry and his chums.
But can it last? Rumour has it that JK Rowling is apparently hard at work on the fifth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Coke, in which our hero takes on the evil scientist Doctor Pepper and his lurid sidekick, the goblin Pepsi. With his battle cry "It's the real thing" the young wizard comes to the rescue, spitting prematurely rotted teeth at his foes and corroding them in a mysterious sugary solution full of chemicals.
And just in case the Cognacais thought they were escaping with just one rant in this missive, Musty would like to draw people's attention to the inaugural Cognac tasting in London recently. Organised by the BNIC, Cognac's ruling body, it was intended to show that the XO-masters were serious about taking their product out into the market.
The tasting began mid morning, and was meant to go on until five pm, after which select members of the public were to be allowed in - presumably to reinforce in their own minds just why they'd stopped buying it all those years ago.
But by the time Musty arrived about three, several of the exhibitors had given up and left, and by six, about a third of them had headed off in search of tweedier surroundings, leaving their stands unmanned and a few sad bottles for the public to try.
As an exercise in self-defeatism it was hard to beat. As an illustration of why Cognac is in the trouble it is, it was perfect.
"This tasting will put Cognac back on the map" screamed the press pack at the door. Greenland presumably…
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