The cognac industry depends greatly on conserving age-old methods to consistently produce the rich earthy-coloured drink beloved by so many for centuries and Martell is a name that needs no introduction. The 300-year-old cognac house is renowned for its craftsmanship and is one of the only Maison to distil exclusively clear wines, producing the finest Eaux-de-vie through the expertise of the house’s Master Distillers with an art perfected over time.
For the ninth generation of the Martell family, Thierry Firino-Martell and Amaury Firino-Martell only need to take inspiration from the pioneering work of their ancestors who have shaped Martell into what it is today. But for the two brothers, it’s not just about preserving the past, it’s also about keeping an eye on the future as a part of their mission in overseeing the family business.
“The most important thing is to learn for the next generation,” says Amaury who is a passionate winegrower and distiller for over 15 years. Both Thierry and Amaury are overseeing the 145-hectare family vineyard with Amaury managing the family’s terroirs and Thierry, a practising lawyer based in Bordeaux, serving as a representative for the family business.
Despite being a favourite tipple of choice among royals and commoners alike for centuries, the way we enjoy cognac has not changed much over the years. However, the industry has certainly seen a shift recently, mainly in terms of producing more sustainable ways of harvesting and distilling. “People are more aware of what is happening around the world. It is one of the main things we have taken into account,” says Thierry.
The Maison prides itself in producing an inimitable blend of cognac crafted with the highest quality of Eaux-de-vie that relies significantly on the climate. In turn, encouraging a healthier ecosystem is just one of the steps in ensuring the quality of the harvest. “We are also looking into the distillation process and looking at different ways to reduce carbon,” says Amaury. “I think the big challenge for the next 10 to 20 years will be to take care of our vineyards as more and more people would want to know what is in the bottle,” he adds.
Martell may have the craft of cognac making down to a tee, but on the other side of the business, the two brothers are also keeping a finger on the pulse of worldwide drinking trends. “We’re always looking at how we should make the cognac in a good way, to take care of the consumer and to also listen to what they like. Because maybe in a few years’ time, people would enjoy cognac in different ways than how they enjoy it now,” says Amaury.
But it’s not just about taking care of the end product, Thierry and Amaury are in Kuala Lumpur today for a very good reason. The brothers are looking to strengthen the bond with Martell’s overseas partners and clients. “We don’t have consumers, we have friends,” says Thierry half-jokingly. “We never talk about Martell as a company because it’s a Maison, it’s always a house welcoming people,” he adds.
As for Amaury, it all connects back to a lesson he learnt from his father. “Our father always said to us, ‘the most important thing in life is to always stay simple, be humble and enjoy what you do.’” If there is a lesson we can learn from a 300-year-old business, it is that the commitment to building meaningful connections always paves the way for long-term success.
Fans of Martell can look forward to celebrating the legacy of the Maison with more dinner events in 2023, paying tribute to over 300 years of exquisite Martell craftsmanship.