Brandy is making a triumphant comeback, and it’s about time. Released at the end of last year, research into festive online searches, from the University of Warwick, suggested brandy is the UK’s favourite Christmas spirit, beating gin, rum, vodka and whisky. Though Christmas is well and truly over, brandy still seems the perfect spirit for supping and enjoying through long, cold winter evenings.
The latest expression from the world’s oldest Cognac house, Martell VS Single Distillery is crafted with passion and knowledge passed through the Martell family since 1715. Founded by Jean Martell at the height of French art de vivre, Martell has continued to produce, export and market Cognacs recognised worldwide for their quality and finesse, obtained through double distillations aged in fine-grained oak casks. Here, grapes from Borderies – the smallest and most sought-after vineyard in the Cognac region – are used to double distil Martell’s exclusively clear wines. Martell VS Single Distillery takes this distillation approach one step further, with each bottle blended from eaux-de-vie derived from a single distillation source in the Cognac region. As a result, the expression is richer and more intense than the trademark Martell style.
Encased within a contemporary bottle, inspired by the famous Martell Cordon Bleu, Martell VS Single Distillery has a vibrant amber glow. On the nose, prominent fruit notes of raspberry, plum and apricot are joined by underlying grassy and herbal notes with some very subtle spice evocative of Christmas and oaky vanilla. When tasted, Martell VS Single Distillery also has a rich, prominent fruit character. Initially oily on the palate, the Cognac has flavours of raspberry, blackberry and tart cherry, before manifesting with a silky, subtle flavour placated by some chocolate and nuts. Finally, the finish is short and surprisingly smooth – considering the spirit’s youthfulness and entry-level price point – with some oak, gentle spice and further cherry notes.
A fair all-round Cognac, Martell VS Single Distillery is versatile enough to be enjoyed neat, or as the base of longer drinks (also particularly enjoyable when paired with a light-medium flavoured cigar such as a Montecristo No. 4 or San Cristobal Mercaderes).
Martell VS Single Distillery is available Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Nisa, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, Amazon, Ocado, Spar and Costcutter, RRP of £27.19, 70cl. Further information can be found here.