Launched in 2013 exclusively in California in Honor of Jean Martell, Caractère distinguishes itself among the Martell core lineup in that it uses grapes from the vines of the Domaine de Jean Martell vineyards. This offering is wholeheartedly Martell. It is rich, bold, with fresh notes of citrus.
Launched in 2013 exclusively in California, Martell Caractère Cognac is a pure house classic, wholeheartedly Martell from start to finish. It is distinguished from the rest of the core Martell range, with grapes sourced from the vineyards of the Domaine Jean Martell, this expression differs greatly from the rest of the Martell cognacs that use grapes from the major cognac regions (primarily the Borderies vineyards) “the eaux-de-vie are distilled twice without leas and aged in fine grain French barrels”, Benoit Fil, the Martell Cellar Master combines two types of eaux-de-vie to create the cognac.
The Martell cognac house is the most longstanding of all the major cognac houses. For over three hundred years, this House has been passed down through generations. They pride themselves on their rich heritage and craftsmanship. Martell was founded in 1715 by Jean Martell, along the river Charente, at the very pinnacle of the French L’Art de Vivre. This French concept of “the art of living,” embodies the notion that one should elegantly embrace the richness of life. House Martell strives to capture this essence in their craft.
Martell, a member of a prominent merchant family from the Jersey Channel, started what would become a rich legacy in the cognac industry. The young Briton began this journey as a broker, purchasing casks of Borderies cognac and wine and selling them in the Channel islands, Normandy, Picardy and Holland. Successive failures due to the economic climate at the time saw a great rise and fall of wine and cognac prices. But with Jean’s entrepreneurial spirit, and through profitable marriages into families of prominent cognac merchants, (particularily to Jeanne-Rachel Lallemand, “a direct descendant of Jacques Roux, a pioneering 17th century cognac merchant”), House Martell saw great success.
In 1721, it is reported that they exported over 200,000 liters of signature blend to Great Britain alone. After Jean Martell’s death in 1753, the operation was taken over by his widow, his two sons, Jean and Frédéric, and his brother-in-law Louis Gabriel (brother of Jeanne-Rachel Lallemand), who further developed the house, transcendently expanding its influence. By the 19th century, Martell had established itself as the most prominent international exporter of cognac in the world, reaching as far as China and Japan.
House Martell has full range of cognacs; a collection of 10 expressions from their VS, to their Premier Voyage. The Martell distillery traditionally uses Ugni Blanc (or Trebbiano) grapes from the Borderies vineyards, and ages its cognac in distinctive Tronçais oak casks. They use a double distillation method, with Charentais alembics (pot stills).
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On the nose it is fresh and lively with notes of pear and citrus – lemon, grapefruit and tangerine peel. It is rounded by rich notes of sweet spices (cinnamon, clove) and vanilla.
The nose also becomes richer when swirled. It also has more prominent notes of prunes and raisins. In the mouth it is sharp, with lemon and tangerine-peel notes that define the mid-palate. The finish is quite long, with notes of pastries and plum jam.