One of the oldest and most revered French cognac brands in the world, Martell is blessed with an enviably rich tradition and an extremely diverse portfolio. And it’s the remarkable story of the maison’s humble beginning to its internationally renowned status that will be revealed at the newly launched ‘Martell the Journey’ — an interactive and immersive visitor experience at the label’s historic Gatebourse site in Cognac.
Ending October 31, this multi-sensory voyage into the legacy of the house has been divided into three themes: Heritage, Savoir-Faire and Part des Anges. Each of these can be enjoyed either individually or all together to get a rare, comprehensive insight into the brand and its range of cognacs.
Reputed exhibition designer Nathalie Crinière has conceived the very innovative scenography. State-of-the-art digital installations, never-before-seen archival material and other interactive elements have been used creatively to ensure that visitors get a perspective that is as unique and impactful as possible.
The Heritage Path
As the name suggests, this section traces the history of the iconic brand founded by Jean Martell in 1715. And it was in 1750 that the ambitious young merchant purchased the land in Gatebourse, where the house now stands. This became the base from where the many generations of the Martell family grew the business and developed some of their finest cognacs. Video animations have been used to spotlight prominent members, such as Edouard Martell, who created the famous Martell Cordon Bleu. Visitors can also see vintage advertisements, as well as mementos of the historic occasions on which Martell cognac was served.
The Savoir-Faire Path
The next stage of the Martel Journey takes visitors deep into the maison’s former cognac cellars. Replete with sturdy beams, concrete floors, oak barrels and lingering aromas, these cold, dark spaces still retain evocative traces of their past life. But to get a true sense of Martell’s essence, one needs to hear directly from their long-standing partners. And with the help of life-size video installations, visitors can listen as a winegrower, distiller and cooper discuss the finer elements of their work.
The Part des Anges Path
The last section is, perhaps, the most multi-sensory revelation of cognac ever. A spectacular circular space sets the stage for a stunning 360° immersive experience. In the centre is the Martell emblem, a swift; by taking this bird in hand and moving it upwards or downwards, visitors can rise above the rooftops of Cognac to view the region’s terroirs and other landmarks.
Further on is an impressive sculptural installation that recalls the twisted form of a vine stock, with many interactive workshops. Here, visitors can create their very own Martell cocktail recipe. The journey ends on a sweet note with a special tasting of any one of three emblematic products: Martell VSOP Aged in Red Barrels, Martell Noblige or Martell Blue Swift.