The world of Cognac has just welcomed a newcomer that promises to redefine the boundaries of tradition and innovation. Martingale Cognac, the brainchild of Guillaume Thomas, a fourth-generation founder and former Pernod Ricard executive, and Amaury Thomas, the Co-Founder and Master Blender, is poised to make a lasting impression on the industry. With over a century of experience in crafting eaux-de-vie for prestigious houses, the Thomas family has chosen to step into the spotlight with the launch of Martingale Cognac, their first commercially available product. As of early October, you can find Batch 0001 of Martingale on the shelves in the United States.
This debut marks the beginning of a new era in the world of Cognac. Martingale Cognac is not just another entry into the market; it’s a testament to the relentless entrepreneurial spirit of Raymond Thomas, the Thomas family’s grandfather. Raymond’s determination and vision laid the foundation for one of the most renowned domaines in the Cognac region. Guillaume Thomas, reflecting on his grandfather’s legacy, says, “Our grandfather was an important figure in the history of Cognac, having strengthened the status of the appellation through the post-war era. When faced with obstacles, instead of backing down, he doubled down and found his own martingale, his own recipe for success: hard work, genuine relationships, skills, and craft in Cognac making.” Guillaume continues, “My grandfather always had a vision to one day have our own Cognac brand, and we have been entrusted with this legacy. Through our family’s initial investment and the strength of the business plan, we have garnered the attention of investors from backgrounds as diverse as music and entertainment – with notable names like Derrick ‘DNice’ Jones and Donnie Wahlberg – wine, spirits, finance, and more. For us, Martingale is a fulfillment of a family promise that we feel is original and relevant to the category.”
Amaury, sharing his grandfather’s visionary drive, modernized various aspects of production and expanded the family-owned vineyards. The Thomas family estate now includes one of the largest vineyards, spanning more than 600 acres across the top four crus of the Cognac designated area. Their distillery combines century-old expertise with cutting-edge technology, and state-of-the-art warehouses provide the ideal environment for aging. Amaury emphasizes, “Our process for making Martingale spans grape to glass, making Maison Thomas rare among Cognac producers. Having complete control of the entire process from the vineyards to the final liquid is a unique asset. It means we don’t need to standardize the liquid with additives like boisé.”
The result of this meticulous approach is a Cognac perfectly tailored to the modern palate. Guillaume explains, “My grandfather and my father always liked very old wines. My tastes are different; I like wines that have life and vitality to them. The old way of thinking about Cognac was all about the robustness of Grande Champagne. Yes, that has a role to play, but I see no reason to be bound by codes I have inherited. Give me the floral characteristics of Borderies any day. Palates change, and that’s just a fact.”
Andrew Weir, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer, brings his expertise in brand management and luxury spirits marketing to the table. With years of experience in the Single Malt Scotch category, he is excited about Martingale’s unique flavor style. He comments, “The nuanced flavors of a great whisky meet the fragrant aroma of a fine wine, all coming together in the unique blend of eaux-de-vie from our finest crus. Having worked for many years within the Single Malt Scotch category, I’m excited to debut this Cognac, which offers a different flavor profile. I know it will energize the industry and consumers alike.”
Martingale Cognac’s release combines content from various crus, with notable Borderies content. Each crus plays a distinct role in shaping the final taste. Grande Champagne contributes strength and complexity, Petite Champagne brings balanced fruit, flowers, and spice notes, Fins Bois provides a supple and well-structured balance, and Borderies delivers delicate, fresh floral notes.
The liquid itself boasts a bright, precious amber color with deep golden and honeyed reflections. On the nose, you’ll discover elegant and refined notes of spring flowers and acacia, light vanilla, almonds, and French madeleine. A single sip reveals a well-rounded spirit with an abundance of freshness, hints of oak and tannins balanced perfectly with subtle floral and fruity notes. The finish is soft, long, and lingering, leaving you with notes of elegant sandalwood, a sign of maturity and elegance.
A Cognac of this caliber deserves to be showcased in a bottle that reflects its rich history and heritage. The inspiration for the bottle design comes from the Chateau d’Ars, a 17th-century property located southwest of Cognac, just a few miles away. This enchanting Chateau has been the Thomas family’s home for three generations and serves as the spiritual home of Martingale Cognac. The bottle design draws from the Chateau’s architecture and aesthetics, with a taller shape and shorter neck, echoing the facade’s structure. The beveled etching on the glass mirrors the large stone walls surrounding the Chateau, and the Martingale “M” emblem and green color are inspired by the stained-glass window high above the entrance.
Guillaume sums up the family’s vision for Martingale Cognac, saying, “Our goal is to give this generation the opportunity to share our same passion for this amazing spirit, which historically has underserved a segment that falls generally between VSOP and XO. Premium spirits in the US – in particular whisky and tequila categories – have been incredibly innovative in a way that Cognac has not kept up with, so we believe that in the US spirits market and within our price point, there is a large opportunity to have extremely high-quality products to meet the needs of curious consumers. For some consumers, Martingale Cognac’s heritage, legacy, fresh taste, and sophisticated style will open a whole new category that was likely not considered previously. For others, those same characteristics will bring them back to a spirit that they outgrew because this type of Cognac didn’t exist. With the liquid, the bottle, and the heritage, I believe Martingale will uphold the long-standing reputation for the quality, consistency, and legacy that my grandfather, Raymond, attentively built.”
As Martingale Cognac debuts in the United States, it brings with it not only a remarkable new spirit but also a legacy that spans generations
The Thomas family’s heritage and the new release of Martingale Cognac are a beautiful paradox of luxury spirits, intertwining tradition and modernity. Martingale Cognac is available in select US markets at fine spirits retailers, high-end restaurants, and bars. For more information on their heritage and the liquid, you can visit their website at www.martingalecognac.com.