Martell is the oldest of the Big Four Cognac houses. Similar to Rémy Martin, but a few years older still, not long ago did Martell celebrate its 300-year anniversary. The history of Martell & Co dates back to 1715 when Jean Martell founded the company with the wish to produce only the highest quality in Cognac. With the legendary bottles Martell Cordon Bleu, the cuvée Martell Extra L’Or de Jean Martell and the recent Création Grand Extra from 2007, the company strongly implanted itself in the luxury goods market, and are famous for using large amounts of eaux-de-vie from the Borderies terroir. It belongs to Pernod Ricard and has sales of around 15 million liters every year. The most precious eaux-de-vie, some of which date back to 1830, are stored in a secret location in the cellars of Jean Martell - approximately 1.6 million 9-liter cases!
11 Interesting facts you probably didn't know about Cognac Martell
1. Jean Martell came from the Channel Island of Jersey to devote himself to studying the art of Cognac and creating ties with local wine-growers.
2. The Treaty of Paris recognizes the independence of the United States of America, and with it, 87 units of Martell were shipped to the USA.
3. Martell Cognac has quite a royal history: it was served at the coronation of King George V of England, and at the gala dinner for the marriage between Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco.
4. Cordon Bleu was served on the world’s most luxurious transatlantic liner’s maiden voyage - the Queen Mary.
5. Eight cases of Martell Cognac was taken by Paul-Emile Victor, an explorer, and Cognac connoisseur, on a polar expedition.
6. Their Cognac was served during the signing of the Armistice for World War I in Compiègne, France.
7. Cordon Bleu liquor can be seen in Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Apocalypse Now - see if you can spot it!
8. If you were a passenger flying from Paris to New York on a super-speedy Concorde flight, you would have savored a Martell Cordon Bleu.
9. Martell published a book called “L’Or & l’Art”, which writes the history of the exquisite bottle L’Or de Jean Martell, drawing a link to the arts and crafts surrounding gold.
10. It belongs to Pernod Ricard and has sales of around 15 million liters every year.
11. Martell achieves almost 100% of its sales through export. Only a small fraction gets consumed in France.
History of Martell
When Jean Martell, the founder or the cognac house, died in 1753, Gatebourse, the first site of Martell production had already become the center of aspiring business and a prosperous future. Jean’s two sons Jean and Frédéric would continue what their father had begun. In the later half of the century, they would be exporting 200.000 liters of cognac to Britain. In the following century, around 1842, Martell started targeting the Chinese market and opened up export activities to the Far East from then on. The introduction of Martell Cordon Bleu in 1912 had a huge impact on the company’s success. It has since become one of the most loved cognacs worldwide.
Martell still owns its family estate, which is situated in Cherves Richemont in the heart of the Borderies and has been turned into a guesthouse. The origins of the Chateau date back to the 16th century. In the 1930s, out of a rather strange wish to please his wife from Normandy, Maurice Firino-Martell changed the architecture of the Chateau to what it is today: with a typical Normandy-style façade.
In 2001, Martell & Co joined Pernod Ricard, who had just taken over a large part of the spirits company Seagram.
The company concentrates on its top-of-the-line products such as Martell XO or Martell Création Grand Extra 2007. These products were introduced to the market with large campaigns, resulting in a boom of the premium products.
Its most important markets are China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, USA, Britain, Russia and Mexico. The annual volume in terms of sales has been estimated to lie around 15 million liters, with a growing tendency.
Martell’s Cellar Master Benoit Fil continues to treasure the company’s secret of blending in the tradition of handing down the expertise from generation to generation. The most precious eaux-de-vie, some dating back to 1830, are stored in a cellar called “Paradis”, which has a secret location in the cellars of Jean Martell.
Martell Bottles and Old Labels
Famous fashion photographers Paolo Roversi and Miles Aldrige have shot Martell’s Cordon Bleu campaigns. Like many companies nowadays, Martell is engaging in supporting the arts by handing our generous prizes to living artists. The essence of the prize lies in the origins of Jean Martell’s spirit: to be independent and inspired. Martell Création Grand Extra was launched in 2007, its beautiful bottle was designed by the sculptor Serge Mansau.
On a visit to Martell, one can experience the historical Cognac production from distillation to the bottling of the final spirit. Then one can visit the private home of Jean Martell, which lies on the boards of the Charente river in the Borderies cru.
Opening hours from June to September: Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4.30pm
Opening hours from October to May: Monday to Thursday from 9.30am to 11am and 2.30pm to 5pm, and Friday from 9.30am to 11am (except on public holidays)
Visit Martell: 7, place Edouard Martell ,16100 Cognac ,+33 5 45 36 33 33 ,Visit Martell all year around for an exquisite tour of the house of Jean Martell and cognac production. www.martell.com/en-ww/
Visit the website of Martell Cognac