2015 marks the 300th anniversary of Martell, the oldest of the great Cognac Houses. Martell’s heritage dates back to the 18th Century, when Jean Martell, a native of Jersey founded the company in 1715. Since then, Martell has produced, exported and marketed cognacs whose quality is recognized worldwide. The hallmark of the house of Martell can be summarized in three key terms: Elegance, Complexity and Balance. Martell Cognac was founded at the height of the French Art de Vivre movement; a period of time in which gastronomy, tasting and craftsmanship were all celebrated and enjoyed with style. As such, these became the three pillars of the Martell House and are the three core areas which still remain intrinsic to its vision today.
For the exclusive guests, the party at Versailles started in the glasses to finish on the walls.
Martell Cognac is celebrating its 300th anniversary with an agenda of exceptional events, from a spectacular party at the Château de Versailles (held this past May) to local celebrations. This anniversary was also a perfect opportunity to pay tribute to Martell’s employees and winegrower partners, gathering more than 3 200 guests at the Château de Chanteloup, the birthplace of the House, which has been refurbished in time for the event.
Martell – Tricentenaire Chanteloup 300: The Château de Chanteloup, the birthplace of the House, which has been refurbished in time for the event
Martell Cognac Tricentenaire at the Château de Chanteloup: César Giron and Alexandre Ricard
French parachutists – carrying some flags marked with Martell colours, joined the guests and presented César Giron & Alexandre Ricard with bottles of the limited edition cognac given to guests as a gift
The entertainment the the Château de Chanteloup local celebration of Martell’s 300th Anniversary
Over 2,500 winegrowers, distillers and other partners from the Cognac region received their invitations from Martell employees, who delivered them personally to mark their special relationship. For a month ahead of the event, they criss-crossed the Charente countryside in Martell branded trucks to hand-deliver the invitations to partners.
his anniversary was also a perfect opportunity to pay tribute to Martell’s employees and winegrower partners, gathering more than 3 200 guests at the Château de Chanteloup
“This is a very special year for Martell, which is celebrating three centuries of cognac-making and close bonds with the people of Cognac. We wanted to invite all the local partners with whom we have nurtured a truly remarkable partnership for nearly ten generations, and I sincerely hope that this special relationship will continue for many generations to come,” said César Giron, Chairman and CEO of Martell House.
Martell Cognac Tricentenaire at the Château de Chanteloup: Pierre Joncourt, Alexandre Ricard and César Giron, Chairman and CEO of Martell House
Guests were treated to a spectacular surprise at the start of the evening when two fighter jets roared across the Cognac sky, followed by three planes from the “Cartouche Doré”, a squadron of seasoned flight instructors from the French air force flight academy in Cognac.
In 1936, Paul Firino-Martell, the mayor of Cognac, donated a château to the French Air Force to be used as the seat of a charitable foundation. Shortly thereafter he initiated the construction of an air base in Cognac, donating land near the village of Châteaubernard, establishing the foundations of two pioneers of French expertise and excellence, the Martell House and what became a showpiece of French Air Force’s prowess.
VERSAILLES, FRANCE – MAY 20: A general view of the aerial display and fly past by the Patrouille de France in the gardens of the historic Chateau de Versailles on May 20, 2015 in Versailles, France. (Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images for Martell Cognac)
French Air Force Training Base 709 in Cognac is home to the Air Force Pilot Academy (EPPA), and is where future fighter and transport pilots learn to fly. The pilots of the Cartouche Doré Aerobatics Team are all instructors at this French Air Force academy. They fly in trios at the controls of the TB30 Epsilon aircraft, demonstrating the skills of fighter pilots with panache, brilliantly combining exacting professionalism and technical performance.
The squadron is considered the “little brother” of the famed Patrouille De France Aerobatics Team, which put on a demonstration for guests during the 20 May event in Versailles. Two Cap Ten aerobatic planes then wrote out the number “300” in white smoke before dropping three parachutists – carrying some flags marked with Martell colours – who joined the guests and presented César Giron & Alexandre Ricard with bottles of the limited edition cognac given to guests as a gift.
This exceptional 40-minute airshow –a tribute to a shared history anchored in savoir-faire, excellence and passion – was crowned by a stunning fireworks display to set the stage for a grandiose evening in an amazing setting.
In an enchanting decor reminiscent of the Versailles Tricentenaire celebration, guests had the chance to enjoy three cocktails created specifically for their Tricentenaire to pay tribute to the key founders of Martell by Thierry Hernandez (head barman at the famous Plaza Athenée). They are: The Adventurer (A tribute to Jean Martell), which combines Martell Noblige with peach cream, black grape juice and champagne*; The Audacious (A tribute to Rachel Lallemand Martell), which includes Martell VS, blackberry liqueur, lime juice, and champagne*; The Independent (A tribute to Frederic Martell, their son), combining Martell Cognac VSOP with Lillet white wine, red fruit juice, cedar extract and champagne*.
*Perrier Jouët Grand Brut or Mumm Cordon Rouge
The 3,200 guests also shared a custom-crafted culinary experience developed in collaboration with the Château de Chanteloup’s chefs Eric Danger and Pascal Nebout. The menu featured delectable gastronomical specialties from the region with an emphasis on local seasonal products, as well as contemporary takes on recipes dating from 1715.
French singer-songwriter Louis Bertignac (a founding member of the group Telephone) and friend of the House
Martell Cognac Tricentenaire at Château de Chanteloup, the birthplace of the House.
After being warmly thanked for their contribution to Martell, they danced late into the night. The concert was punctuated by the unexpected arrival of French singer-songwriter Louis Bertignac (a founding member of the group Telephone), a friend of the House who couldn’t resist a chance to play several of his hits.
Because the Tricentenaire of Martell is above all an opportunity to celebrate 300 years of craftsmanship and excellence, each guest received an exclusive limited edition cognac, a blend of fifteen eaux-de-vie from the five main crus, spanning the last three centuries.
Martell Cellar Master Benoît Fil
“The blending of these 15 eaux-de-vie, which then completed their ageing in barrels made from 300-year-old oak, spotlights our savoir-faire, our commitment, and our attachment to a House that has let us continue a fabulous story that began in 1715.” notes Martell Cellar Master Benoît Fil.