We know what goes into the making of cognac. Terroir; ageing in casks; the oversight of a cellar master... these and more give you that Martell taste that you're familiar with. But when you go into the nitty-gritty of the expression? That, mon ami, is when you delve into the soul of the bottle. You'll taste the character from which the eaux-de-vie is sourced. A single cru of the Cognac region. This is Martell's Single Cru collection.

The Single Cru collection takes from these regions—Fins Bois, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Grande Champagne—in the Cognac region. So diverse are these lands, that the Ugni Blanc grapes harvested lend the cognac the unique profile of that cru. Keeping a watchful eye over the project is Cellar Master, Christophe Valtaud, who was behind the L'Or de Jean Martell—Réserve du Château. There are three tiers of the Single Cru collection; each line heralds a new chapter in Martell's history by offering a wide net for enthusiasts to traipse through the Cognac region.

The Discovery Edition

These three cognacs are the Fin Bois, Petite Champagne and Borderies. Each cru lends itself to the profile of the cognacs. Fins Bois, characterised by its reddish clay and limestone soils, produces a light and airy eaux-de-vie. In contrast, Petite Champagne's greyish, chalky soils yield structured eaux-de-vie with robustness and linger on the palate. Renowned for its delicate and elegant eaux-de-vie, the Borderies cru exudes floral and fruity aromas.

The Aged Edition

The Grande Champagne and Borderies from this edition are our next stars. As the most esteemed Cognac terroirs handpicked by Jean Martell centuries ago, the Aged Edition comprises, not only the essence of the terroirs but also the ageing process. The XO Grande Champagne that's aged a minimum of 10 years as an XO and the XXO Borderies has been aged for at least a minimum of 14 years. Expect a blend of nutty, fruity and woody notes from the XO Grande Champagne and a complex offering of fruits from the XXO Borderies.

The Vintage Edition

This tier is the pinnacle of Martell's mastery: the Borderies 1999. These are rare bottlings because the encounter between a specific vineyard and a specific year only happens once. Cellar Master Valtaud starts the process by selecting a Borderies eau-de-vie from the Gallienne estate. Produced in 1999, that was a challenging year as the climate resulted in lower volumes at harvest. But lower volumes meant an increased quality and rarity of the grapes. Immediately after distillation, the eau-de-vie was transferred to fine-grained oak barrels and aged for 23 years to attain its apex in expression. Meant for the connoisseur, the eau-de-vie is presented in individually numbered bottles.

The Discovery Edition retails for SGD200 each; the Aged Edition retails from SGD460 and the Vintage Edition retails from SGD3,000. The Discovery and Aged Editions are available at select retail stores and outlets; the Vintage Edition will be available from May 2024 at select retail stores and Le Cercle.

There's a certain responsibility saddled to the superlatives of the world. With Martell—the oldest of the great cognac houses—that onus requires the Maison to maintain its legacy while honouring its past. Since its inception in 1715, Maison Martell decided to set its sights back to where its heart is: home base. More specifically Martell’s historic family estate, the Château de Chanteloup, where creation of the new L'Or begins.

It's a tribute to Martell’s evocation of art de vivre (the art of living). The idea of just "letting things be" and there's no better example than the ageing of Martell's spirits. This time the process is in a partnership with a prestigious French château. With the blends of more than 1,400 eaux-de-vie from the four terroirs in the Cognac region, when it comes to the ageing stage, the liquid is usually aged in 300-year-old oak barrels at a dedicated cellar in Cognac. For this occasion, after the maturation process takes place at a dedicated cellar, it's completed at the aforementioned Château de Chanteloup.

The Cellar Master

Talking with Martell’s Cellar Master, Christophe Valtaud, we were told that a year into maturation, the flavour profile comes to fore. “The next château,” Valtaud adds, “will be completely different, in terms of the cellar’s condition, so the tastes would be unique.”

Only 1,000 individually numbered decanters are available worldwide, with less than 100 available in Singapore. Three more châteaux are planned for the next edition of L’Or de Jean Martell. On the palate, there are notes of iris and wild carnation that blithely coil around aromas of cherry and blackcurrant. A hint of spice lingers.

To contain such a complex cognac, it must be contained by a decanter of fine complexity. That’s where Baccarat, renowned for its crystal craftsmanship, comes in. The crystal decanter is shaped to look like a single drop of cognac. The decanter is topped with a 19-carat gold-painted neck that details the château the cognac is aged in as well as the limited edition number. A crafted wooden box is made for The decante. Housed within are also two stoppers, one is for transportation and one for display.

As the interview comes to an end, we can’t help but ask Valtaud, if Martell’s goal was to reintroduce art de vivre to the world, is there consideration to age the blend outside of France? 

“We want to spend a little bit more time in France for now,” Valtaud says smiling, “because we wanted to create a strong product... but in the future, we might head outside France. Who knows? When it comes to art de vivre, it’s not relegated to the borders of France; it is a mindset.”

The L’Or de Jean Martell – Réserve du Château de Chanteloup retails for SGD9,888

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A post shared by ケリー 〔kelly limerick〕 (@kllylmrck)

Lately, with fibre craft on the rise, knitting and crocheting have been the new trend. The laborious craft requires huge dedication and commitment from craft artists. But the final results are testaments to the artists' passion and creativity.

Prominent local crochet artist, Kelly Limerick, is celebrated for her alternative take on the ancient craft of crochet. She was chosen to collaborate with LOUIS XIII to create an artwork called "100", which took four months to complete. Limerick journeyed to the LOUIS XIII Domaine du Grollet Estate in Cognac, France for inspiration for her art. There, she delved into the heritage of LOUIS XIII Cognac, allowing her to comprehend the values that the House holds. She became enthralled by the House’s timeless heritage.

“The sense of history in the old town was unmistakable, and... I grasped why LOUIS XIII is steadfast about its origin and identity,” Limerick noted. “There's an evident pride in the meticulous approach, a serene and unwavering dedication to savoir-faire passed down from one cellar master to the next. Ageing the eaux-de-vie holds an element of unpredictability... It falls upon the cellar master to trust their palate, sampling the diverse eaux-de-vie to craft the familiar blend of LOUIS XIII that we recognise. These two elements—trust in the unknown and confidence in personal skill—resonate with me and have inspired me greatly.”

"100" was unravelled and reworked 100 times to illustrate the progress in time. With its tedious craft-making process, "100" is meant to emphasise the similarity to the laborious production of LOUIS XIII. Limerick confessed that "it involved four months of daily dedication; more time and effort required than if I did 100 individual pieces."

The Work

The final sculpture resembles a vessel with a double-walled bowl within. Crafted as a single piece without joins or internal structures, like a fountain, the sculpture remains hollow. By holding soil from Cognac, it encapsulates the flavourful layers of LOUIS XIII as it ages. This is a cognac that could only be tasted decades later.

Anne-Laure Pressat, Executive Director of LOUIS XIII Cognac shares that “We are honoured to collaborate with Kelly Limerick, having her join us in exploring intertwined concepts of time and preserving artistic heritage for future generations..."

"100" represents THE DROP, the latest product by LOUIS XIII. An embodiment of a new generation that reinvents luxury codes through ownership, THE DROP fosters a unique 'art-de-vivre' akin to Limerick's approach toward art. Coming in a 1cl bottle, THE DROP retails at Tatler Bar at SG$288 and SG$1,440 for a pack of five 1cl bottles. The add-on lanyard accessory with a leather bottle case is priced at SG$168.