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New limited edition Martell
Published:  28 October, 2014

Martell, which claims to be the oldest of the great cognac houses, is celebrating its 300th anniversary with the release of a new limited edition expression, Martell Premier Voyage.

Unveiled at the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) exhibition in Cannes, Martell Premier Voyage will be released to global travel retail during the upcoming Master of Wines & Spirits, organised by DFS, in Singapore. From there, Martell Premier Voyage will be available in the major travel retailers around the world all through 2015, in locations including Hong Kong, Sydney, Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, Amsterdam and Paris. Thirty of the 300 pieces will be available in travel retail.

Pernod Ricard says the blend has been developed in recognition of the brand’s 300th anniversary next year. Cellar master, Benoît Fil is said to have “returned to Martell’s roots” to create the new blend which contains 18 eaux de vie. Using Jean Martell’s original correspondence, Fil pieced together a map of Jean Martell’s key suppliers from 1735-1742, and began to retrace his footsteps 300 years on. Visiting winegrowers just as Jean Martell did generations before him, Fil sampled eaux-de-vie and met with the winegrowing families whose ancestors had originally supplied the brand’s founder. After crafting the blend and then ageing it in barrels made from the oak of a 300-year-old tree, Martell Premier Voyage was created.

Fil, said: “We had access in our archives to the exact geographical locations that he went to. Therefore, we were able to visit the descendants of these winegrowers who today create the best quality eaux-de-vie. Martell Premier Voyage takes the best things from the past of cognac and Jean Martell’s vision, and makes them something that we can enjoy today. This new blend truly captures three centuries of Martell turning cognac into art.”

French conceptual artist Bernar Venet was invited to lend his distinctive, minimalist style by creating the artwork in which to house the cognac. Venet’s timeless design comprises metal arcs which are divided into three clusters, evoking the 300 year anniversary, which shelter a simple and elegant teardrop-shaped Sèvres crystal decanter. The striking juxtaposition between the serenely flowing shape of the bottle and the powerful energy and aged appearance emanating from the Cor-Ten steel arcs demonstrates the union between tradition and modern visionary spirit. The blend can only be drawn from the sculpture with a fusil; a special pipette used by the Cellar Master to extract and taste eaux-de-vie from the barrels.

Venet said: “I was inspired by the date 1715, as the year that Louis XIV died and this great cognac house was born. I have in the past created a sculpture around a statue of Louis XIV, and I wanted a sense of continuity with my work. The arches in the work represent this continuity, and a sense of time. The three arc clusters represent the three centuries that we are celebrating. There are so many parallels between Versailles, the birthplace of Art De Vivre, and Martell and with what I do.”

Each bottle of Martel Premier Voyage will be individually signed, numbered and produced to order.