Much like marketing a single malt whisky is a relatively new phenomenon in the history of Scotch whisky, the idea of a small grower selling its own Cognac is also quite modern. For as long as the industry has existed, the large Cognac houses–Hennessy, Martell, Remy, and Courvoisier–have purchased grapes, must, and even distilled eaux-de-vie from the regions small producers, blending them into a consistent product and giving the farmers stability.
In the new era of spirits, however, a number of small growers are taking the leap into brand ownership, becoming stewards of their own destiny. That's where the story of Martingale Cognac begins. After more than 100 years of selling to the big boys, the fourth generation of the Thomas family has launched its own product and styled it in a completely new way:
Lighter on the Grand Champagne; heavy on the Borderies. No additives. No boisé.
Fourth generation master blender Amaury Thomas has drawn his line in the sand: "I see no reason to be bound by the codes I've inherited. The old thinking was all about the robustness of Grand Champagne. Yes, that has a role to play, but give me the floral characteristics of Borderies any day."
To give a quick insight into that meaning, for more than a century the accepted hierarchy of Cognac quality has been regional. Cognacs from Grand Champagne are considered the finest, followed by Petit Champagne, the Borderies, and finally Fin Bois. Yet, much like a Scotch blender refusing to accept the idea that Highland malts are superior to Lowland or Islay malts, Thomas is shaking things up with Martingale: one of the most delicious new Cognacs we've tasted in years.
Using brandies from all four core regions, Martingale's blend is heavy on the Borderies, meaning the fruity, floral, and heady elements are front and center. With no added sugar or caramel, those pure and unaltered characteristics shine in a way that few other Cognacs do. Notes of Madeline cookies, almonds, Acacia flowers, vanilla, and sandalwood swirl in beautiful harmony, yet with a freshness that is unparalleled to other brands.
As many of us Cognac superfans well know, the Borderies is actually the smallest region in the area, meaning it's also the rarest in terms of quality. For years, we've actually sought out Borderies Cognacs here at Mission, but they are not easy to find.
Hence, we're thrilled that the Thomas family has chosen to showcase the Borderies style with the new Martingale. The proof is in the pudding here; it's time to readjust our thinking of Cognac.