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Travelling the world

Commercial Expansion

    In the 18th century, the first shipments of Martell cognac went to England and Northern Europe. However, thanks to the strong commercial network established by the Martell family and the excellent reputation of the House, exports reached India in 1781 and America in 1783. The French Revolution and the Continental Blockade resulted in a slowdown in trade, but from 1814 onwards Mai-son Martell began to move into new markets by reinforcing the network of agents representing it across the world. This strategy resulted in shipments to South America from 1817, Africa from 1848 and Asia from 1858.

    The Names of Cognac

    The terms used to describe the eaux‐de‐vie shipped during the 18th century demonstrate the diver-sity of demand and the sophisticated taste of connoisseurs, as well as anticipating the later emergence of product ranges. Pale brandy was different from white brandy, which in its turn was not the same as fine brandy. In the 1830s, descriptions were further extended to terms such as coloured, deeply coloured, brown brandy, very fine flavour brandy, rich and soft, finest old brandy vintage 1825, perfectly pale, very old superior and pale 15 years old… Thus, cognac gradually became more refined along with the taste of those who drank it. It was at this time, too, that the first blends appeared, with blended cognac being set apart from pure eaux‐de‐vie. At the turn of the 20th century, the Martell range was established, comprising VS (or three stars), VSOP, Cordon Bleu and Extra.

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