Always wanted to try your hand at blending a cognac? You can now do so at L’Atelier Martell, a pop-up boutique created by renowned cognac house Maison Martell. The venue, which opened on Apr 3 at Scotts Square, will run until May 29.
Martell, which is owned by wine and spirits group Pernod Ricard, previously held a pop-up boutique in Shenzhen – it has since become a permanent shop – and Hong Kong. The Singapore edition is the maison’s first of its kind in Southeast Asia.
L’Atelier Martell is what the maison calls “an experiential space”, a 200 sq m retail concept that showcases the brand’s heritage and products while offering interactive experiences.
The pop-up is also an occasion to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Martell Cordon Bleu, the maison’s iconic XO cognac.
Edouard Martell, the great-grandson of founder Jean Martell, first created Martell Cordon Bleu in 1912. The flavour profile has since remained unchanged. A blend of more than 100 eaux-de-vie aged between 10 and 25 years in oak, Martell Cordon Bleu offers rich aromas of candied plum and apple, and notes of almonds, coffee, orange, cinnamon and honey. Its texture is round and mellow.
“At Martell, we pay great attention to all our cognacs, but none more so than Martell Cordon Bleu, for which we still have Edouard Martell’s original, handwritten notes,” said Christophe Valtaud, Martell’s cellar master.
Martell Cordon Bleu has been relaunched with a new bottle design: The punt in the bottle’s base has been redesigned with an accentuated curve to evoke the round taste of the spirit, while the previous silver foil that wraps the neck is now a deep blue – a colour synonymous with the maison – with textured motifs.
The relaunch campaign also features a new commercial starring French actor Vincent Cassel as Edouard Martell, and Hong Kong superstar Tony Leung.
At L’Atelier Martell, visitors will be able to purchase a special edition bottle of Martell Cordon Bleu at S$338 for customised engraving.
You may choose to engrave your name – or a friend’s if you are gifting – or a personal message, along with other exclusive Martell motifs such as the swift, the historic emblem of the maison. Only 600 bottles for engraving are available. Interested customers can book their engraving session here before coming to the pop-up.
The Martell Noblige, a VSOP which was launched here last year, will also be showcased as a Singapore City limited edition bottle that features the city’s skyline in its design. Visitors can view the special edition bottles and make pre-orders at S$208 per bottle.
Other limited edition bottles at the pop-up include the Martell Cordon Bleu 2021 1-litre bottle (S$348) and the Martell VSOP Special Edition by London-based Chinese artist Jacky Tsai (S$130).
BLEND YOUR OWN COGNAC
If you are looking for something personalised, pick the Cognac From The Cask experience: You get to fill your own 700 ml bottle of VSOP blend from an oak barrel shipped from Cognac. Limited to just 300 bottles, each Cognac from the Cask bottle costs S$128 and is labelled with a unique bottle number – guests who want numbers with the auspicious number “8” can do so by paying an additional S$60.
For those who are new to Martell’s cognacs or looking to get a refresher of their favourite Martell sips, they can join a tasting masterclass featuring Martell VSOP, Martell Noblige, and Martell Cordon Bleu at S$50 per person. A brand ambassador will host the session and take you through the different product variants.
The highlight of the hands-on experiences at L’Atelier Martell is the VSOP blending session held in a recreated space inspired by the cellar master’s atelier. Guided by a brand ambassador, you get to create your own blend of cognac.
Unlike the master blenders themselves, you won’t have to rack your brain over hundreds of different eaux-de-vie to formulate your own blend: You simply work from a set of bottles of pre-blends.
The session, which costs S$100 per person, is akin to a chemistry lab class, minus the smoke and bubbles – using measuring cylinders, you will be taught how to carefully blend your spirit in the right proportions.
“The blending masterclass highlights the art of blending and gives you an idea of the detailed process the master blender does behind the scenes,” said Alson Tian, Martell Singapore’s brand ambassador.
Guests can book the tasting and blending sessions here. An XO blending masterclass is also available exclusively to members of Pernod Ricard’s luxury Le Cercle programme.
SIP ON COGNAC-BASED COCKTAILS
Over at the Bar Of Swifts, a cocktail bar at the pop-up, guests can order drinks made with Martell’s cognacs (prices start from S$18). The bar will also work with local bars to bring in guest bartenders on select nights.
Remy Savage, Martell’s master mixologist, has created three cocktails for the Bar Of Swifts: The Cerise, a mix of Cordon Bleu, chamomile syrup, coconut water, and cherry eau-de-vie; the Washi, a blend of Cordon Bleu, lemon juice, orgeat syrup, and rum; and the Noblige & Coffee, a pick-me-up consisting of Noblige, sugar, water, and coffee from Singapore-based roaster PPP Coffee.
Savage said a common misconception about cognac is that “it should not be mixed”. “Interestingly, there has been a [tradition] of cocktails that called for cognac since 1862,” he said.
His advice for those looking to use cognac in cocktails is to “simply try”.
“Cognac is a very versatile spirit and works with just about any cocktail recipe,” he said. “The age (of the spirit) does matter, in the sense that the flavour changes. But I don’t think this should stop you from using older spirits. It may just mean creating recipes to highlight the presence of the wood.
“Basically, whether it is mixed or straight, Martell should be enjoyed your way.”