Founded in 1715 under the reign of Louis XIV by Jean Martell on the banks of the Charente river, Martell is the oldest of the great cognac Houses.
The Martell Cognac houses owns two distilleries called la La lignères et Galienne, distilling themselves about 85% of their eaux-de-vie, while the remainder 15% is supplied by independant distillers from the region (bouilleurs de Cru).
The Maison also owns four vineyard properties supplying 4% of the grape production for the house, 132 hectares near the Gallienne distillery, about 200 ha at Lignères, and two small estate in Grande Champagne. 1200 growers provide the other 96% of the house’s total grape supply.
There are 3 main singularities of Martell Cognac’s elaboration process, the first one being that the distillery only uses wines that have been removed from their lees, unlike most producers in the area that do include lees through the distillation process. The result is what Martell believes are leaner, purer and fruitier brandies with a clean expression of fruit and flowers.
Martell also only uses fine-grain oak barrels sourced from cooler forests in France where the oak trees grow slower, with tighter and finer grain texture to their wood. These fine grain oak barrel infuse smoother tannins and generally-speaking, a softer integration of oaky notes.
Finally, Martell emphasizes on using a significant proportion of Cognacs originating from the Borderies sub-zone of the Cognac appellation, an area renown for providing eaux-de-vies with a distinctive smooth and floral expression.
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Review & Tasting Notes of Martell Cognacs
Martell has recently entirely revamped, redesigned, and often renamed its whole range of Cognacs. Below are a description and tasting notes for the new products.
Martell VS Single Distillery Cognac
Martell V.S. Very Special Single Distillery blends spirits from a single distillation source in the Cognac region, in France, aiming at expressing the savoir-faire of its distillers in a smooth and approachable young Cognac style.
My Tasting Notes: A clean and pure Cognac, with mid body, featuring delicate notes of honey and blond caramel, with notes of grapes, quince, pear and peach flower, and blond tobacco). A delicate, upfront and clean, easy expression of Cognac for a pleasing uncomplicated enjoyment. Dominance of Cognacs from Fin Bois and Fine Champagne in the blend.
Martell V.S.O.P. Aged in Red Barrels
Dominance of Cognacs from Fine Champagne et Fin Bois, aged in ‘red barrels’ or barriques rousses as it’s said in French, which are used barrels, not too young but not too old either, so, between 3 and 10 years of age. The concept here is to emphasize on the savoir-faire and of Martell’s coopers (tonneliers) and cellar staff in a Cognac delicately infused with subtle notes of oak.
My Tasting Notes: A fruity golden Cognac, featuring intense notes of tropical fruit, dried pineappl and ripe mango, some jammy apricot, coconu, caramel and subtle smoky aromas.
Smooth and light palate, powerful in the flavor profile, yet silky and lightly-hearted to taste. A Cognac for those in search of a brandy marked by oaky vanilla and caramel notes, yet one that feels light and fruity to taste.
Martell Blue Swift Spirit Drink
Essentially, Blue Swift a spirit made by Martell in the same fashion as its other eaux-de-vie, but finished in Bourbon barrels (American oak Whiskey casks).
My Tasting Notes: A very soft and mild spirit to smell at, filled with sweet-fruit smelling aromas, dried banana and caramelized fruit notes, pear, peach and apple. Touches of coconut and wood smoke.
Opulent and mild on the palate, yet it features powerful flavors of caramel and coconut mixed with jammy stonefruit notes. A clear link to Bourbon, very smoky and slightly bitter, with hints of charcoal and delicate bitterness to the finish.
A perfect spirit for blending thanks to its pungency and mildness of flavors, or for sipping on its own if you’re an amateur of both Cognac and Bourbon Whiskey.
Martell Cordon Bleu Extra Old Cognac
An XO made predominantly from Borderies Cognacs ( although it contains the 4 greats crus too). The youngest eau-de-vie in the blend has about 10 years of age.
Powerful and deep aromatic expression to the nose, raison and dried figs, vanilla and coffee, it smells sweet, fruity and deep.
My Tasting Notes: A super-soft silky palate with and oily texture and an abundance of dried fruit and sweet spices exploding in your mouth. The finish brings in the smokiness, ashy notes, fine silky dry and salivating tannins.
A very mild, powerful and extremely long Cognac featuring outstanding toasted notes, roasted hazelnut and coffee, and a delicate ripe fruitiness.
Martell X.O. Cognac
While Martell Cordon Bleu is the house’s signature blend with a dominance of Borderie brandies, the XO included a greater proportion of eaux-de-vie from the Fine Champagne area providing leaner distillates.
My Tasting Notes: A very delicate nose of floral honey, turpentine, beeswax, waxy oak, grapes and elderflower. A learn and delicate tasting experience, with great tension on the palate, a long finish on subtle notes of oak and toasted nuts.
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