Learning and Celebrating the 300 years of Martell
Let’s start as many a class did in high school: with a pop quiz! Which of the following statements are true?
- You can add mineral water to cognac to open up the taste.
- Lenny Kravitz once drank Martell in order to cure his cold and sing on stage.
- All is cognac is brandy but not all brandy is cognac.
- Martell is a distinctive brand that spans both time and age groups.
For the record, it was all of the above, above everyone in NYC: On Wednesday September 16, Martell celebrated its 300th anniversary with special cognacs, unique cocktails, and more on the 63rd floor of One World Trade Center. There, looking down at the sparkling city, Martell itself sparkled into its third centennial celebration, complete with Questlove of The Roots.
A history lesson came first, naturally, and was embedded into a semi-private tasting. We sat down to four specialty types of Martell’s best: VS, VSOP, Cordon Bleu and the new 3 millesimes, a blend across three distinct Martell releases in celebration of the 300th anniversary. We were guided through the history and the style of the four tastings by Christophe Pienkowski, Global Brand Ambassador, and Benoit Fil, cellar master. Both shared the shared the story behind each of the four cognacs, the smelling and taste palettes, as well as how they were created. And after the tasting, they sat down at two empty chairs to entertain both some frequently asked questions (“Can you put cognac in a cocktail?” “Can you drink it with ice?) to the not so frequently asked questions (“If you were in a karaoke bar at 4:00am which song would you sing?”). The answers, by the way are: Yes, Martell goes great in cocktails, yes – you can drink it with ice, and “New York, New York,”a fitting song choice given the current event and location.
It was a friendly vibe that carried into the evening. We weren’t just celebrating Martell, we were appreciating and becoming a part of Martell. From the secret room (tiny key required!) to the delicious peach infused cocktails, Martell was a star and made you feel like one too. The visually creative appetizers, which ranged from phylo boats of chicken to duck foie gras lollipops (paired with the special Martell Grand Extra Creation Cognac in said secret room) circled through the space with a smile. You could even win cool gear with the artistic stylings of Queen Andrea by instagramming photos of the potential winnings: a bike, MacBook cover, Yankees cap, and iPhone case.
The evening’s soundtrack was provided first by DJ Incrediboi, spinning 90’s hip-hop mixes, and then a late night set by Questlove (The Roots), potentially solidifying his mark as the hardest working DJ in NYC by working on Jimmy Fallon every day and presenting Bowl Train during his Thursday night residency at Brooklyn Bowl.
Accompanied with all of this sparkle, Martell has stepped away from the traditional view of cognac. There were no leather chairs here (except in the secret room), there were fun activities (including a Phhhoto booth), and technology integration (hashtags galore!). This is not your grandfather’s cognac. On their 300th birthday, Martell in fact shows that they’re not old at all.