Grand Marnier unveils the first of its limited edition Exceptional Range here in Singapore – the Grand Marnier Quintessence.

Those who visit bars often enough would be familiar with Grand Marnier. An orange liqueur commonly used in the making of cocktails, it is also often sipped as an after-dinner digestif. The rest of us would have tasted it before too, used as it is to flambé their crepes suzette.

But even bar professionals commonly mistake Grand Marnier as a triple sec. It isn’t. While triple sec uses neutral grain spirit as its base, Grand Marnier instead makes a brandy in its distillery at Château de Bourg-Charente with Ugni Blanc grapes sourced from five different Cognac crus using a double distillation process in copper pot stills that’s then aged in French oak before it is blended with a distillate made with bitter citrus bigaradia oranges to create its distinctive flavour profile.

Grand Marnier pot stills

So yes, Grand Marnier is technically a Cognac up to the point it’s turned into an orange liqueur.

To remind those who may have forgotten of its vaunted heritage and their unique recipe, the iconic French maison recently debuted the first of its Exceptional Range here in Singapore – the Grand Marnier Quintessence.

The Grand Marnier Quintessence is no mere Cordon Rouge. Originally created in 2011, the Quintessence is made with some of the rarest cognacs from the private reserves of the Marnier Lapostolle family cellar. But this Exceptional Range release is even more special. This expression showcases exclusively hors d’âge Cognacs from Grand Champagne aged up to 70 years. It is blended from just 11 selected ultra-rare barrels, among which two are from 1947, as well as three demijohns from Paradis believed to be even older.

Grand Marnier cellars

What does it taste like? Official tasting notes from Grand Marnier says the Quintessence offers “fresh orange notes followed by a depth of almond and vanilla with a hint of spice and sandalwood” on the nose, while on the palate is a “prominence of bitter orange citrus and dry fruits like nuts and peaches rounded off with caramel and honey with a lingering finish of marzipan and tropical fruits”.

Also special is the fact that this special release comes in a decanter created by renowned French crystal makers Baccarat. Each teardrop-shaped decanter is unique and mouthblown. The neck of the decanter is particularly exquisite, featuring a circular ribbon-like design that actually helps aerates the liqueur as it is being poured. Then there’s the presentation box, which features crystal handles that open out to reveal the decanter for display. It also comes with a hand-made stopper and four branded Cognac-style snifters – Baccarat, of course – because that’s really the right way to enjoy the drop.

Grand Marnier Quintessence - coffret and bottle

“It’s a rare experience to drink this, even to imagine this kind of cognac is rare. The sensation, the feeling, the perception of what you smell, it is unforgettable,” says Grand Marnier Master Blender Patrick Raguenaud. “When you blend for Quintessence, you blend a heritage.”

It’s certainly a treat for collectors, especially if you’re a Cognac lover but looking for something really different.

There are only 500 bottles of the Grand Marnier Quintessence worldwide. Just 48 are available for purchase in Singapore, at a retail price of S$3,888 exclusively through Campari Group’s RARE Division. Those keen can express their interest with Cathy Sun via

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