Cognac Dreams

13 Oct

My life has been filled with more drink tastings of late than a swarthy pirate. Not that I’m complaining…especially when it sees me sit out my afternoon in a most obscure locale.

Recently, I headed down to that rather traditional store called Harrods. Cognac was to be drunk and I was invited.

But the cognac was no ordinary cognac – the bar, no ordinary bar. Instead, I found myself ogled by tourists – wandering by on Brompton Road, equipped with cameras and curiosity – as I sat, trying to look ever-so prim in a window display while I drank some choice cognac from Martell.

Still-full cognac glasses wait to be drunk

The occasion was all a part of a push by Martell to up the profile of its fine-line cognacs in Britain. So, the company decided, what better way to do this, than to have a massive window display, featuring a sleek and beautifully designed trunk with all of its premium cognacs, in the premium store in London!

The trunk, made over 1,000 hours by ten master-craftsmen, and designed by Parisian company Pinel & Pinel is a sight to behold: filled with the 28 eaux-de-vie which represent what goes into the four ‘cru’ used by Martell to create its signature cognacs and featuring those four cognacs as well, the 2.06 metre tall trunk is something special.

The Martell Trunk inside the window display at Harrods (Photo Credit: Campbell-Bell Communications)

But, seeing as its price tag comes in at a rather hefty £200,000, and seeing as I haven’t won the Euro Millions of late (sigh), I opted to simply taste the cognac rather than invest in a whole portfolio.

Thierry Giraud explains the beauty of a good cognac

So, after exploring the trunk in all its glory, we sat with Thierry Giraud, Brand Development Manager, to learn more about cognac and be gawked at by the plebs (ie: doing exactly what I’d normally be doing if I were on the other side of the glass).

We learned how Martell began making cognac in 1715 after emigrating from Jersey to sunnier climes in south-western France. We learned how each cognac contains eaux-de-vie from four terroirs: Borderies, Grande and Petite Champagne, and Fins Bois, which are distilled and aged in 350 litre, fine-grained oak casks to stop it having any woody or aggressive flavours. We learned it is becoming most popular with the emerging upper classes in China, Vietnam and Indonesia, who drink it as a salute to getting the first big job (while we here in Britain, with our unemployment rate skyrocketing, choose White Lightning…maybe I should move to Asia?).

Oh, and we drank – I almost forgot that part.

Delicious, smooth, soft-oaked, sometimes bitter, orangey, almondy cognacs…including some from the L’Or de Jean Martell, a £2,998 bottle of the finest kind. It was my favourite, but then, I do have expensive taste.

And by the time I drank samples of four of those fantastic cognacs, I forgot I was being stared at by strangers ambling past…by then, I simply sank into the large, leather-backed chair, and reveled in the oddity of sitting in a window display, indulging in a rather tasty Gwiltypleasure…

The Martell Trunk will be on display in Harrods until the 22 October and available to purchase for £200k, if you happen to have that laying around in your change drawer.

2 Responses to “Cognac Dreams”

  1. G-LO October 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    I can’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon. You lucky woman!



  1. 2012? When did that happen? « gwiltypleasures - January 3, 2012

    […] (!) to drink it, while also trying some fantastic tipples such as absinthe, tequila and cognac (the latter while sitting in a window at Harrods) through my work with Fluid London. Glasses of […]

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