Courvoisier, the Cognac business owned by Beam Global Spirits & Wine, has launched its new luxury Cognac, L'Essence de Courvoisier.

Priced at around GBP1,800 (US$2,900) per bottle, L'Essence de Courvoisier is the "jewel" in the Cognac house's portfolio, the company said at a launch event last night (8 September).

Only 2,000 bottles are to be released this year, with this expected to double next year, according to Claire Richards, global brand manager for Courvoisier.

Luxury London-based retailer Harrods will have exclusivity on the new Cognac for six weeks, after which it will be available from other high-end outlets around the world, including Asia and the US. A duty-free launch is planned for the Tax Free World Association annual expo in Cannes, southern France, this autumn.

In the UK, the launch forms part of distributor Maxxium's GBP12m spend on Courvoisier in 2009.

Courvoisier worked with French crystal house Baccarat to develop a unique decanter. A thin metal frame suspends the bottle inches from the ground in a feat of engineering that involved 45 people and was initially labelled as "impossible", according to Courvoisier master blender and MD Jean Marc Olivier, who is to retire following the launch. 

"This Cognac is the result of years of passionate exploration by our dedicated team, who have worked tirelessly on this complex and ambitious project," said Richards.

The 42% abv Cognac is a combination of rare blends housed in the cellars dating back to the early 20th century with 'eaux-de-vie' from the 1970s and 1980s.