Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health, consume it with moderation.
Warmth. Elegance. Timelessness.
It appears on the hottest catwalks. It characterizes numerous gentlemen’s libraries. It lends its glittering reflections to diamonds. The amber color of cognac is proved to never run out of style.
However, cognac cannot be reduced to a single nuance. Through the joint expertise of the cooper and the cellar master, the cognac gradually acquires its characteristic color. And it comes in an endless number of hues.
Through double heating and the manual process called the “cut”, the liquid is now crystal-clear and can be called an eau de vie. The ageing process starts as soon as the eau de vie is in contact with the wood, and aim to release a rich and balanced range of flavors.
Inside Tronçais-style oak casks - which contain a little tannin and releases delicious vanilla flavors- Martell eau de vie also receives its amber color. When the cellar-master decides that the most exceptional eau de vie are mature (after ageing for 50-70 years), the ageing process is interrupted.
At this stage, eau de vie is very complex, but not yet cognac – for that they need to be mixed together and then rest for a while. And it’s under this final phase Martell cognac comes into being. After a final filtering session giving the amber cognac its clarity, the bottling takes place.
Even though a product called “cognac” did not yet exist in 1715, Martell was already a known label. But the colors of cognac can’t have been regular. There were probably as many nuances as there were ageing periods and oak varieties to make barrels from. That’s when the idea of blending - meant to regularize the quality of eau de vie – came to mind, and cognac in its modern sense had arrived.
Soon, blending was no longer a simple correction to the eau de vie that had lost quality, but was also used in the creation of new products. And by mixing young and old eau de vie, it gave the cognac a more distinctive taste.
The First Product Range
Now things started to move fast. The wide number of names reflected the variety of demands, and marked the birth of a Martell product range: Pale Brandy, White Brandy, Fine brandy, Fine Old Brandy.
Between 1834-1835 the language became even richer: colored, deeply colored, brown brandy, very fine flavor brandy, perfectly pale - the most famous Charente specialties came in various shades of amber and copper.
Cognac was improving - and so were the palates. The blended product was clearly superior over vintage eau de vie.